Wildlife and Natural Vegetation

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Vegetation or natural vegetation supports critical functions in the biosphere, at all possible spatial scales. First, vegetation regulates the flow of numerous biogeochemical cycles, most critically those of water, carbon, and nitrogen; it is also of great importance in local and global energy balances. Such cycles are important not only for global patterns of vegetation but also for those of climate.

Second, vegetation strongly affects soil characteristics, including soil volume, chemistry and texture, which feed back to affect various vegetational characteristics, including productivity and structure.

Third, vegetation serves as wildlife habitat and the energy source for the vast array of animal species on the planet and, ultimately, to those that feed on these. Vegetation is also critically important to the world economy, particularly in the use of fossil fuels as an energy source, but also in the global production of food, wood, fuel and other materials.

Perhaps most importantly, and often overlooked, global vegetation including algal communities has been the primary source of oxygen in the atmosphere, enabling the aerobic metabolism systems to evolve and persist.

Lastly, vegetation is psychologically important to humans, who evolved in direct contact with, and dependence on, vegetation, for food, shelter, and medicine.

Wildlife includes all non-domesticated plants, animals, and other organisms. Domesticating wild plant and animal species for human benefit has occurred many times all over the planet, and has a major impact on the environment, both positive and negative.

Wildlife can be found in all ecosystems, Deserts, rain forests, plains, and other areas—including the most developed urban sites—all have distinct forms of wildlife. While the term in popular culture usually refers to animals that are untouched by human factors, most scientists agree that wildlife around the world is impacted by human activities.

Anthropologists believe...
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