The various features of the biosphere can be associated with all aspects of geography, from the climate system, oceanography, geology, hydrology, social issues and even global tectonics. These interactions result in distinctive regions of plants and animals (biomes) that differ depending upon the controlling variables, and often phase into one another along a gradient of change. It is not enough, however, simply to describe their features, but it is necessary to explain their nature and form. It is therefore concerned with studying the processes behind the spatial distribution of plants and animals and their change over time.
Any study in biogeography is inextricably linked to ecosystem processes which consider not only transfers of energy and matter but also individual species characteristics. It delves deeper into the characteristic features that underpin any understanding of modern ecology, such as the nature and role of ecosystems, habitats, communities, life strategies and the environmental niche at all scales down to an individual tree.
By studying ecosystem processes, we become aware of the very dynamic nature of ecosystems and the checks and balances operating as drivers of ecological change. The planet’s biomes are not static. Closer observation shows that important links between plants, animals and soils are related to processes involving the movement of energy and organic and inorganic materials through the system so that ecosystems are in a constant state of change.