ENVIRONMENT

Hong Kong is a monsoon-influenced humid subtropical climate.

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The ecology of Hong Kong is mostly affected by the results of climatic changes. Hong Kong's climate is seasonal due to alternating wind direction between winter and summer.

Hong Kong has been geologically stable for millions of years. Flora and fauna in Hong Kong are altered by climatic change, sea level alternation and human impact.

Climate
Hong Kong's climate is subtropical but half the year is temperate. The territory is situated South of the tropic of Cancer which is equal to Hawaii in latitude. In winter, strong and cold wind generates from the North to Hong Kong; in summer, the wind reverses in direction and brings the warm and humid air from the South. This climate would support a tropical rainforest.

Land
The total land area of Hong Kong is 1,076 square kilometers, but about 75% of it is open countryside], which contains more than 2600 species of vascular plants, about 450 species of birds, about 200 species of butterflies, about 100 species of dragonflies, 40 species of mammals, 80 species of reptiles and more than 20 species of amphibians, including some species endemic to the territory.

Species richness in Hong Kong
Hong Kong is considered rich in number of species. The number of species of birds in Hong Kong is one third of that in China while the number of butterflies species is also one sixth of the total butterfly species in China according to surveys reported.

Ecosystems in Hong Kong
Mangroves
Mangroves are habitats of enclosed intertidal mud flats with wave action greatly reduced, located near sources of fresh water. Popular mangrove habitats in Hong Kong are located along Deep Bay, such as Pak Nai and Tsim Bei Tsui, where salinity is very low under the influence of fresh water from the Pearl River, and along some mud flats where salinity is lowered by surrounding streams, such as Three Fathoms Cove and Ting Kok. Trees living in this habitat are called mangrove trees.

Rocky Shores
The tidal range of Hong Kong is about 2.5 meters and the distribution of species is situated into this area must be tolerant of both conditions that the shores are covered with sea water during high tide and the shores are exposed to the air directly during low tide, for hours or days. Species which have adapted to these different conditions are described as specialized to successfully exploit narrow vertical zones on the rocky shore.

The species inhabiting Hong Kong rocky shores varies in accordance with the exposure to the wave action from the sea. The sessile filter feeding organisms inhabit the wave exposed shores. They are able to attach on the rock surface and remove food particles in the turbulent water while the mobile herbivores and carnivores inhabit in the sheltered shores. The varieties of the organisms also different from seasons, especially in Hong Kong where oceanic currents change with season: very few erect foliose macro-algae are found in summer because they may suffer from the burning heat; a lot of foliose algae are found on the shores in winter.

Streams
There are two kinds of freshwater habitats: lentic water, such as lakes, ponds, ditches, and lotic water, such as rivers, streams. Streams are an example of a lotic habitat Hong Kong.

There are three main factors to differentiate the habitats in Hong Kong: variability of current, amount of detritus and variable oxygen content. These factors contribute to make the animals adapted in different ways. They have to attach themselves to the surfaces, become predominantly detritus feeders and have a mechanism for obtaining maximum oxygen supply.