French biomes

A biome is a region of the earth as defined by its climate and natural environment. A biome is a very broad classification anabling the entire land surface of the earth to be classified according to one of just seven categories (arctic tundra, deciduous forest, coniferous forest, rainforest, desert, grasslands and mountains).

Within these broad categories individual regions specify more precise or local biomes according to regional conditions.

Biomes in France

The biomes in France are determined by its climate. France has a predominantly temperate climate, changing to a Mediterranean climate in the south-east of France. see climate in France for details.

The country contains a wide diversity of landscapes - predominantly forests, mountainous regions, open countryside, and coastal regions.

It is defined to have four biomes according to official designations:

- Much of France (also the UK, Germany, and a broad band heading east across northern Europe) is 'temperate broadleaf forest'

- The coastal biome of south-east France is 'Mediterranean'

- There are regions of 'Alpine Tundra' e.g. in the Pyrenees.

- In the mountains we also find 'Mountain Forests'

Of course, each region contains numerous subdivisions, and non-representative environments - such as the marshes of the Marais Poitevin (Pays-de-la-Loire) or the large 'man-planted' forests of the Landes region of south-west France.

As in many countries the activities of man have also played a large part in shaping the environment that we see today and the traditional biomes are not always recognisable, especially in areas where large amounts of deforestation have taken place to make room for agriculture and building.