The Tropical Forest
The tropical rainforest is the home of about over half of the world’s different types of species. These Tropical forests are the “central nervous system of our planet” (“What is a Tropical Forest?”). 7.7 million square miles of the Earth is covered by tropical forests. Despite making up only 13% of the Earth, 50% of the world’s species live there. The largest continuous rainforest is in the Amazon region of South America, ⅔ of which is in Brazil.
The rainforest is currently undergoing severe destruction as a result of many different types of industry and the building of dams. One acre of tropical forest is destroyed per second. One species per year goes extinct, and that rate is expected to increase over the next several years.
Weather in Tropical Forests
Tropical forests are also commonly known as rainforests. This is because they receive an average of 155 inches of rain per year, but some get up to 260 inches! Temperature in tropical forests can reach 93℉ and rarely drop below 68℉. This warm air is a result of tropical forests’ proximity to the equator. These forests are also very humid, ranging from 77-88% humidity. There are dry seasons in tropical forests, but they are very brief.
High levels of humidity are common in the rainforest.
Tropical forest after a rainstorm
Receiving hundreds of inches of rain per year, rainforest is a fitting name.
The tropical plants have made many adaptations to their environment. In tropical forests, there are about 80 inches of rain per year. Because of this, branches have adapted so they don’t get weighed down and break. These adaptations also help them shed water off their leaves. Some tropical trees have leaves that turn with the movement of the sun so they can absorb as much sunlight as possible. Over 2,500 species of vines grow in rainforests. Trees of the same species are mostly always found growing close together.
Tropical forests are home to more species than any other biome. The animals that have advantageous adaptations survive longer and pass their genes on to new generations. Some examples of adaptations are camouflage, if the animal can see in the dark and daytime, and if the animal has poison in them to help protect themselves from predators. In tropical forests, camouflage is used by several species of lizards, such as the Giant Leaf-tailed Gecko and Pygmy Led Chameleon. Poison is used most notably by Poison Dart Frogs, whose bright colors are a signal to predators that they are toxic.
The dominant vegetation in this biome has a high diversity, with broad leafed trees and abundant epiphytes and vines. For example, Strangler Figs, Kapok, and Rattan Palm are all common plants. These trees and plants provide shelter and food for rainforest animals. They also take part in the gas exchanges which provides much of the world’s oxygen supply.
Other Types of Forests
Mangroves are trees that grow in low oxygen soil. Mangrove forests cannot survive freezing temperatures, and therefore are only found near the equator. The tangled roots protect shorelines and coasts from erosions. Because they live in the water, these forests become flooded at an average of twice per day.
Deciduous forests are also known as temperate forests because they experience four seasons. They adapt to the varying weather patterns by having leaves that fall off when it gets cold and grow back when it gets warm. The average temperature of a deciduous forest is 50℉. A variety of shrubs, herbs, mosses, and broadleaf trees grow in these forests.
Boreal forests, also known as taiga forests, make up about 29% of the Earth’s surface. Boreal forests are characterized by their cold weather. The northernmost regions of these forests can get as cold as -65℉. There is little precipitation in boreal forests except for snow and fog.
Leslie is 16 years old and goes to Morristown High School. She has two older brothers and one younger sister. Leslie enjoys running and singing. When it comes to sports she likes to play mostly all of them, like soccer, basketball, and softball. She also likes learning new interesting and exciting things about the world.
Cara is 16 years old and in Ms. Colfax and Mr. Weller's biology class. She has a younger brother and sister, who are twins, and a cat named Oreo. Cara participates in colorguard, winterguard, Heritage Club, Kids Helping Kids, and NHS. Her favorite subject is history, but her favorite science class so far is bio.
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Commonly Asked Questions and Facts. (n.d.). Retrieved May 12, 2016, from http://www.rainforestfoundation.org/commonly-asked-questions-and-facts/
Heimbuch, J. (2011, August 16). 30 fascinating facts about the boreal forest. Retrieved May 15, 2016, from http://www.treehugger.com/natural-sciences/30-fascinating-facts-about-the-boreal-forest.html
Michael, G. (2001). Rainforest Biomes. Retrieved May 12, 2016, from http://www.blueplanetbiomes.org/rainforest.htm
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What is a "mangrove" forest? (n.d.). Retrieved May 16, 2016, from http://oceanservice.noaa.gov/facts/mangroves.htmlWhat is a Tropical Forest? (n.d.). Retrieved May 12, 2016, from http://www.rainforest-alliance.org/kids/facts/tropical-forest