Natural regions of the World

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Regions: Regions - Climatic Elements, Regions - Dry Continental, Regions - Cool temperate, Regions - Desert, Regions - Converse to other equatorial regions, Regions - Example 1, Regions - Example 2, Regions - Forestry and fishing, Regions - Grassland, Regions - Industries, Regions - Lowlands, Regions - Mediterranean, Regions - Middle latitude mountainous regions, Regions - Monsoon, Regions - Plateau, Regions - Savanna, Regions - Subtropics, Regions - Taiga Lumbering, Regions - Taiga, Regions - Temperate, Regions - The Tropical Lands, Regions - Tundra, Regions - Warm Eastern, Regions - Western Forestry, Regions - Western Margins

Natural regions of the World


We may divide the world into a number of major natural regions whose physical features, rock structure, soils, climate and resultant products and human activities are similar over large areas. Of all the factors affecting the natural vegetation in such regions, climate is the chief, and of the climatic factors, temperature arid rainfall is the most important. The vegetation depends not only on the total annual rainfall, but also on its relation to temperature, and on its distribution. In short, evaporation and the seasonal distribution of the rainfall is the real test. In high latitudes evaporation is less than in low latitudes, and hence less rainfall is needed to) keep the subsoil moist than in tropical regions.

As a rule no sharp contrast can be drawn between adjacent natural regions the transition from one to other is gradual. Plant and animal life is adapted to its surroundings. Man too, has adjusted himself to his environment, though in many cases the appearance and habits of people living in similar natural regions differ greatly. In some, Man counts for little more than the animals in others such as Europe and China, he has profoundly altered the surface features. Natural regions would, of course, exist whether man were there or not, but no study of them can be considered complete without some knowledge of the activities of their human inhabitants.

An examination of the effect of climate on human life shows that very high and very low temperatures both prevent the fullest attainment of mental and physical powers, and even in less extreme regions uniformity of temperature exercises an adverse effect on development. High humidity, combined with high temperature, produces an enervating climate. Man's progress has been greatest in cool temperate lands where the climate is cool enough to invigorate, but not cold enough at any season to retard economic life.

The basic factor for dividing the world into major natural region is climate. The climate influences soil, flora and fauna and the vegetation of the region is an indirect indicator of climate. The climate regions are named after the vegetation type prevalent there. Human response also shows broad relationship with climate conditions. The relation between climate and human activities is especially striking in regions where the primary activities like agriculture, animal husbandry and forestry are dominant. These activities are governed by the climatic conditions more directly. For example, each climatic type is suitable for the cultivation of certain crops, as such crop can tolerate a certain range of temperature and needs a certain minimum water supply. Thus the major natural regions are named after the climatic or vegetation type.

The relationship between man and his environment in a region depends as much on the nature of the environment as on the types of people who inhabit the region. The needs and aspirations of the people, their level of technological development is an important factor. The tribal population looks for the basic necessities of life like food, clothing and shelter from the local environment. With higher level of cultural development, the needs get diversified and if the local environment is not suited either people migrate or they import their needs from other regions.

Next: Regions - Climatic Elements

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