Characteristics of a Biome: Desert Biome

Characteristics of a Biome:

Desert Biome


What is a Biome?

A biome = a large ecosystem that is characterised by particular animal and plant communities.

Biome Example: 

Desert biome (Named after its dominant vegetation whose presence is related to the climatic environment). e.g Thar Desert, India

  • Tropical Desert
  • Covers 200 kilometres squared
  • 85% of the Thar Desert is in India, 15% in Pakistan
  • The Thar Desert takes up 10% of India’s total geographical area


  • Thar Desert = tropical desert biome
  • April, May and June = hottest months can reach 41•C
  • December, January and February = coldest months can record temperatures as low as 10•C
  • Factors that influence climate in Thar Desert = altitude, latitude and distance from sea
  • Average rainfall = 100mm – 500mm 
  • Strong winds occur over a period of 4/5 months. This results in many dust storms


  • The soils are mostly ‘sandy’ in texture
  • The desert consists largely of sand dunes
  • Sandy loams = heavy. Calcium, clay and gypsum can be found in the sandy loams due to a process called ‘calcification
  • Calcification = nutrients that were once leached are drawn upwards due to capillary action. A hard pan may be established which results in restricted growth of flora
  • Well-water can become poisonous due to the process of ‘salinization
  • Salinization = high levels of salt found in soil which can create salt pans
  • Desert soils = grey in colour (due to lack of organic matter found in soil)
  • Desert soils = alkaline (which results in restricted flora growth)

Fauna & Flora:

  • Natural flora of the Thar desert = trees (forestry) and shrubs
  • Trees and shrubs are mostly prickly and restricted (this is a result of how vegetation has adapted overtime due to the desert conditions)
  • Plants are generally drought resistance (deep-rooted)
  • Fauna found in the Thar Desert include the blackbuck (antelope) and the Chinkara (gazelle)
  • Fauna in the Thar Desert are typically nocturnal and are usually smaller in size in comparison to similar species in other parts of the world (this affords the fauna optimal survival)

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