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Terrestrial ecosystems account for approximately 30% of the planet’s surface, harboring more than 75% of the world’s terrestrial biodiversity.
Terrestrial ecosystems are those ecosystems that are located on land and are in close contact with the air and gases of the atmosphere. They differ from aquatic ecosystems in that they lack the presence of large bodies of water, depending mainly on the rainfall and climatic characteristics of the territory. According to the factors mentioned above, we can distinguish four terrestrial ecosystems: Arid, with low levels of rainfall and a large temperature difference between day and night; grasslands, plains dominated by grasses and with very marked climatic differences between seasons; jungle and/or forest, dominated by trees and biodiversity with mainly humid climatic cycles; and mountainous, generally mixed ecosystems that tend to decrease in vegetation as altitude increases.
Terrestrial ecosystems account for approximately 30% of the planet’s surface, harboring more than 75% of the world’s terrestrial biodiversity. Chile has exceptional characteristics, such as the driest desert in the world to the north, the Andes Mountains to the east, the Pacific Ocean to the west, and Antarctica to the south. In addition, its great length -approximately 4,300 kms- gives it dramatic latitudinal climate variations, which make it into a biogeographic island with a high level of endemism, where amphibians stand out with 78% of endemism, followed by reptiles with 59% and vascular plants with 40%.
These ecosystems include forests, which fulfill essential functions that benefit the planet’s biodiversity and our well-being (ecosystem services). Their most relevant functions are related to mitigating climate change, such as the capture of carbon dioxide (greenhouse gas) stored in their biomass (leaves, wood, and roots). They also regulate the climate by cooling the environment, purify the air by capturing fine particles of air pollution, influence the water cycle by redistributing water above and below ground, and mitigate the impact of flooding and soil erosion. In addition, forests contribute to people’s well-being and health by reducing stress levels and the incidence of chronic diseases.
Terrestrial ecosystems are greatly affected by human activities, such as indiscriminate and unsustainable logging, urban sprawl, accumulation of solid waste, and climate change.
The conservation and balance of forests will maintain the stability of soils, watersheds, wildlife, air quality, landscape appeal, and our health./p>