The term biome is analogous to its scientific usage: on Earth, a biome is climatically and geographically defined by distinctive communities of plants, animals and soil organisms supported by similar climatic conditions. They are often referred to as ecosystems.
Plains are the most basic of all lands, but the easiest to obtain food due to grass (seeds) and farm animal spawnings which are more abundant than other biomes.
Plains Subtype: Sunflower Fields. Sunflower fields are plains that produce a naturally occurring abundance of sunflowers.
Plains Subtype: Wild-flower Fields. A subtype of either plains or forest biomes, wild-flower biomes are easily identified by the massive amount of flowers growing.
Subtype: Birch Forest This biome only includes Birch Trees, with some Oak Trees possible. It also looks much like a forest biome although none of the birch trees can be large like their oak variants. But if its a hilly version of this biome, the birch trees can be extra tall.
Subtype: Oak Forest This biome consists of oak trees and sometimes large oaks. Ferns, yellow flowers, red flowers, sheep, pigs, cows, and on occasion packs of wolves all naturally spawn here.
Subtype: Pine Forest Pine forests consist of pine trees. Most often pine forests are found as Taiga biomes with snow, though some can spawn warm enough to rain.
Subtype: Flower Forest Flower Forests are forests with oak trees but have many different types of flowers scattered around the area.
Roofed Forest ("Dark Forest")
The roofed forest biome was added as of 1.7.2. It features dark oak trees and huge mushrooms. The roofed forest biome is a very dangerous biome to spawn in as there are many dark places in the forest where hostile mobs are likely to spawn. It's also the more common biome for huge mushrooms instead of searching for a mushroom island, which are very, very rare.
Swamp Biomes feature shallow bodies of water and dull-looking grass, presenting oak trees covered in vines. Slimes and Witch Huts can be found in swamps. Lily pads can generate in water, so swamp biomes are the only natrual source for lily pads. This is the only biome to find naturally spawned Blue Orchids.
In Minecraft: Pocket Edition, Giant Mushrooms spawn in this biome starting in the 0.10.0 update.
Jungle Biomes are very forested biomes. They have the tallest trees of any forest biome. Similar to swamp biomes, the trees are covered in vines. They are the only biome where ocelots spawn. They also have Jungle Temples. Jungles look more like a Tropical Rainforest. Coco bean pods spawn here, and as of 1.7.2, melons can be found "wild" here. Melons have also been made much more common.
Mega Taiga (Redwood Forest)
The Mega Taiga Biome, with a variant called Mega Spruce Taiga contains various blocks including Podzol and a variant of Dirt. Also featured are 2x2 Spruce Trees along with Ferns, Mushrooms, and Dead Bushes. This biome also features boulders made of Moss Stone that serve as a decorative purpose.
TaigaA biome with spruce trees and dull grey-blue grass. Snowfall also occurs in this biome, forming snow and ice. Hills are common, and wolves are found in this biome more frequently than in others. Spruce Trees are this biome's tree. Water will freeze in this biome, into ice. Sugar can can spawn here but it'll break down due to the freezing of the ice. The main difference between Taiga and Tundra is the amount of trees (more in a Taiga) and amount of snow (more in a Tundra).
Tundra biomes, known as Ice Plains in-game, are biomes completely covered in snow and have ice blocks due to water freezing (breaking ice produces water). Spruce trees are found in this biome. Wolves also spawn here. When it rains in other biomes, it will snow in this biome.
Ice Spike Plains
Ice Spike plains are a variation of Tundras and much rarer. Relatively few trees will grow in these plains. Large "spikes" of packed ice can be found throughout. Bodies of water will typically be frozen into packed ice as opposed to the Tundra's regular ice (suggesting the Ice Spike plains are severely colder).
The Mesa Biome features various colours of clay and natural hardened clay that can be mined and dyed for decorated purposes. Also found in this biome, is red sand, which was implemented in 1.7. Other things included in this biome are Dead Bushes and occasional Cacti. Mesa biomes are rare, and usually spawn near Savannah biomes.
Main article: Desert Biome
The desert biome is the most abundant source of cactus. There are hills and small mountains made of sand and sandstone. In the desert you can also find desert wells. Desert temples also spawn in large deserts.
This biome features dull, dry grass, and acacia trees. NPC villages spawn naturally here, along with horses. It never rains in this biome, often connected with deserts or mesas (if you create a new world using the seed "Indev", you will spawn next to a Savanna biome with a Desert biome connecting to it).
Main article: Ocean Biome
Ocean Biomes are extremely large open biomes made of water. Far beneath the water is a landscape made of gravel, dirt, and clay. Ocean biomes often flood into Abandoned Mine Shafts or caves. Occasionally, oceans have small two block wide air patches. Ocean biomes have no maximum size but usually are found between 10,000 and 25,000 blocks wide. Occasionally, in Ocean biomes, you can find small islands with little vegetation. Players can spawn in Ocean biomes on an island with no wood in the middle of nowhere forcing them to cheat, make a new world, or swim to find land.
Deep ocean biomes are a variant of ocean biomes, they are much deeper than regular ocean biomes. The ocean floor consists of gravel. They can be 30 blocks deep, making going under one dangerous. However, you may see some light underwater, that light comes from an Abandoned Mine Shaft. As of 1.8 Deep Ocean biomes generate Ocean Monuments (ocean temples) surrounded by hostile Guardians.
Mushroom islands are a rare biome. Instead of dirt, mushroom islands utilize Mycelium. Mushroom islands are typically found away from other land biomes near or in ocean biomes. Giant mushrooms grow in place of trees and the naturally occurring mobs are Mooshrooms. Dirt placed on a mushroom island will eventually be turned into Mycelium much like grass in other biomes. Farmland is resistant to Mycelium change.
A highly mountainous biome with dull grey-blue grass and a few scattered oak trees. Cliffs, peaks, valleys, waterfalls, overhangs, occasional lavafalls, and many other structures exist, creating outstanding views. More underground cave systems are present here than in any other biome. Falling is a significant risk, as there are many ledges and sudden drops, often not visible, and the drops can be large enough to cuse severe fall damage or even death.
Extreme Hills (and Extreme Hills Edge) are the only biomes where Emerald Ores spawn abundantly. As of 1.7, Spruce Trees spawn here as well. If the mountain gets high enough, snow could cover the mountains.
The Overworld (Player Realm)
The Overworld is the regular game play world containing each of the biomes listed above. This is the world the player will spawn and spend the majority of the game.
The Overworld can be generated when creating a new Seed as Default, Superflat (No biomes), Large Biomes, Amplified (Data heavy - large mountains and hills that dwarf the Default Hilly Biomes), and Customized (allows player to decide what structures generate more or less and to any extent desired).
The Nether (Formerly "Hell")
Main Article: The Nether
This biome is the Nether dimension. It is the first dimension that was released with the game. This biome features more mobs and the Nether Fortress. The only way to get to The Nether biome is to build the portal made out of Obsidian and light it with a flint and steel.
Lava is abundant and the floor is replaced with Netherrack - some with fire burning infinitely, Soul Sand, Glowstone, and occasionally gravel pits. Nether quartz can be mined and turned into decorative blocks. Maps can be made, but are ultimately not useful as areas tend to look identical. Compasses and Clocks do not work and will instead flux erratically. Beds placed in the Nether explode when clicked with the same damage as lit TNT. Water can not be placed on Netherrack.
In this realm mobs that spawn naturally include Ghasts, Zombie Pigmen, Blazes, Magma Cubes, Skeletons, Wither Skeletons, and Withers. Chickens can be spawned by throwing eggs, which in turn can create Zombie Pigmen Jockies if a baby Zombie Pigman mounts a chicken.
The End ("Enderworld" / Formerly "Sky")
Main Article: The End
The End is a floating island in a black, static filled void (per default resource pack). It is the second dimension that was added in update TU9 for consoles and 1.0 for all other releases. In this biome the ground is replaces with End Stone.
The biome features lots of Endermen and the Ender Dragon (Boss). The landscape is dotted with pillars made of obsidian with Ender crystals on top to which heal the Ender Dragon as you battle. Destroying these is key to defeating the dragon.
Once in the End you can not return without either dying or defeating the End, opening the return portal, and finishing the game (Gameplay resumes as normal after the end credits.). Here compasses, clocks, and beds do not work, behaving the same as they do in the Nether.
To get to The End, you will need to collect Ender Pearls from Endermen in the player realm, create 12 Eyes of Ender (using Blaze Powder and an Ender Pearl), and locate a stronghold using the Ender Pearls (Thrown in to the air and following their path. Some disappear so you will need many, especially if the stronghold is far.). Once in the stronghold the player must navigate the expansive ruins and locate the broken End Portal Frame (Be weary of Silverfish which will spawn throughout, but a silverfish spawner is located by the portal), using the Eyes of Ender on the 12 tables, and opening the portal to the End.
Main Article: End City The End City is another part of the end. You can get there by killing the Ender Dragon and Ender Pearling through the one block portal in the sky. The End City has many islands and like the end is over the void. Chorus Plants are the only kind of plant that lives. There are Endermen and a mob called Shulkers. The End City has a dungeon filled with loot. There are Purpur blocks and End stone brick inside.