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Global Environments. Stage 4 Geography. Types Of Global Environments And Their Location. C oasts C oral reefs D eserts G rasslands Mountains P olar lands R ainforests R ivers T undra W etlands. Coasts . Definition:

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Global environments

Global Environments

Stage 4 Geography

Types of global environments and their location
Types Of Global Environments And Their Location

  • Coasts

  • Coral reefs

  • Deserts

  • Grasslands

  • Mountains

  • Polarlands

  • Rainforests

  • Rivers

  • Tundra

  • Wetlands



  • A coast or coastal area is the areas of land and sea bordering the shoreline and extending seaward through the breaker zone. Coastal areas throughout the world are under enormous environmental stress, which is caused by a wide range of factors, including pollution and the destruction and deterioration of marine habitats.


  • Due to coasts bordering countries, they are located on the edge of the majority of the world's continents. Australia's most utilised coast is the East coast of Australia where fishing, recreation and tourism are some of the main activities that occur here.

Coral reefs
Coral Reefs


  • A coral reef is a wave-resistant structure resulting from cementation processes and the skeletal construction of hermatypic corals, calcareous algae, and other calcium carbonate-secreting organisms.

  • Coral reefs are warm, clear, shallow ocean habitats that are rich in life.

  • The reef's massive structure is formed from coral polyps, tiny animals that live in colonies; when coral polyps die, they leave behind a hard, stony, branching structure made of limestone.


  • Coral reefs develop in shallow, warm water, usually near land, and mostly in the tropics; coral prefer temperatures between 21 - 30 °C.

  • There are coral reefs off the eastern coast of Africa, off the southern coast of India, in the Red Sea, and off the coasts of northeast and northwest Australia and on to Polynesia.

  • There are also coral reefs off the coast of Florida, USA, to the Caribbean, and down to Brazil.

  • Australia's largest and most well known Coral Reef is the Great Barrier Reef, it is also the largest in the world.



  • Deserts cover about one fifth of the Earth’s surface and occur where rainfall is less than 50 cm/year.

  • Most deserts have a lot of specialized vegetation, as well as specialized vertebrate and invertebrate animals.

  • There are relatively few large mammals in deserts because most are not capable of storing sufficient water and withstanding the heat.

  • Deserts often provide little shelter from the sun for large animals.

  • The dominant animals of warm deserts are non mammalian vertebrates, such as reptiles.

  • Mammals are usually small, like the kangaroo mice of North American deserts.

  • There are four major types of deserts:

    • Hot and Dry, Semiarid, Coastal, Cold.



  • North America

  • West Coast of South America

  • Central Australia

  • North Africa

  • Middle East


  • Antarctic

  • Central Asia

  • Greenland

G rasslands


  • Grasslands are characterized as lands dominated by grasses rather than large shrubs or trees.

  • In the Miocene and Pliocene Epochs, which spanned a period of about 25 million years, mountains rose in western North America and created a continental climate favorable to grasslands.

  • Ancient forests declined and grasslands became widespread.

  • There are two main divisions of grasslands: tropical grasslands (called savannas), and temperate grasslands.


  • Almost one-fourth of the Earth's land area is grassland.

  • Grasslands are located in:

    • North America's interior,

    • Southeastern South America,

    • Eurasia,

    • Africa,

    • Australia and New Zealand.



  • Mountains cover about a fifth of the earth's surface,

  • Mountains are formed by slow but gigantic movements of the earth's crust.

  • Sometimes the crust has folded and buckled, sometimes it breaks into huge blocks.

  • In both cases, great areas of land are lifted upwards to form mountains.

  • Other mountains are formed by the earth's crust rising into a dome, or by volcanic activity when the crust cracks open.


  • Mount Everest is the largest mountain in the world and Mount Kosciusko is the largest in Australia.

  • Are found on all continents and there are even mountains under the surface of the sea.

P olar lands


  • Polar Environments are very cold lands with small or absolutely no vegetation.

  • The harsh environment makes polar lands very hard to settle in and they are hardly populated.

  • Polar sea ice is currently diminishing as a result of global warming


  • Earth's polar regions are the areas of the globe surrounding the poles also known as frigid zones.

  • The North Pole and South Pole being the centres, these regions are dominated by the polar ice caps, resting respectively on the Arctic Ocean and the continent of Antarctica.



  • Rainforests are very dense, warm, wet forests.

  • They are havens for millions of plants and animals.

  • Rainforests are extremely important in the ecology of the Earth.

  • The plants of the rainforest generate much of the Earth's oxygen.

  • These plants are also very important to people in other ways; many are used in new drugs that fight disease and illness.


  • Tropical rainforests are located in a band around the equator, mostly in the area between the Tropic of Cancer (23.5° N latitude) and the Tropic of Capricorn (23.5° S latitude).

  • This 4800 km wide band is called the "tropics." Tropical rainforests are found in South America, West Africa, Australia, southern India, and Southeast Asia.


Some main rivers locations:

  • Amazon -South America

  • Zambezi -Africa

  • Volga -Russia

  • Yangtze -China

  • Severn -Great Britain

  • Thames -England

  • Mississippi -United States


  • A river is fresh water flowing across the surface of the land, usually to the sea.

  • It flows in a channel.

  • The bottom of the channel is called the bed and the sides of the channel are called the banks.

  • Rivers begin in mountains or hills, where rain water or melting snow collects and forms tiny streams called gullies.

  • Gullies either grow larger when they collect more water and become streams themselves or meet streams and add to the water already in the stream.


  • There are two types of tundra in the world, Arctic and Alpine.

  • The arctic tundra is at the top of the world around the North Pole.

  • The tops of tall cold mountains are alpine tundra.

  • The most distinctive characteristic of the tundra soil is its permafrost, a permanently frozen layer of ground often 2000 feet thick.

  • Shallow rooted tundra plants and microorganisms grow in the permafrost.

  • Animals are adapted to handle cold winters and to breed and raise young quickly in the short summers.

  • Average yearly temperatures range from -70 degrees F to 20 degrees F.

  • Tundra can be found in the high northern latitudes of the world. The most common animals found in the tundra are the caribou, reindeer, and the lemming.


  • Wetlands are areas of standing water that support aquatic plants.

  • Marshes, swamps, and bogs are all considered wetlands.

  • Plant species adapted to the very moist and humid conditions are called hydrophytes.

  • These include pond lilies, cattails, sedges, tamarack, and black spruce.

  • Wetlands have the highest species diversity of all ecosystems.

  • Many species of amphibians, reptiles, birds (such as ducks and waders), and furbearers can be found in the wetlands.

  • Wetlands are not considered freshwater ecosystems as there are some, such as salt marshes, that have high salt concentrations—these support different species of animals, such as shrimp, shellfish, and various grasses.