Tropical Rain Forests

By Kelvin Nguyen

Vitals of Biome

Tropical Rain Forests are mainly found in South America, West of Africa, and parts of South Asia. Almost all rainforests are located near the equator. In a rain forest, the temperature ranges from 68 fahrenheit to 98 fahrenheit. They recieve 50 to 260 inches of rainfall each year.

Climate of a Tropical Rain Forest

On earth, there are 3 different types of tropical rain forests. The name of these rain forests are monsoon, equatorial, and subtropical. Rain forests are named after the area they're located in and the weather they have during the year.

Monsoon Rain Forests

These rainforests are found at elevations below 1000 meters and where there are cycles of wet and dry seasons. The forests have rich, well-drained soils and are flammable after seasonal droughts.

Equatorial Rain Forest

Equatorial, or tropical, rain forests are mainly found about 10 degrees from the equator on either side. Even though they only cover a small percentage of the earth's land, they contain at least 50% of all species and two-thirds of the world's plants. There are more species of plants and animals here than all of the rest of the earth's ecosystems combined! They also experience high average temperature and significant amount of rainfall.

Subtropical Rain Forests

These rain forests are found near the edge of the equator and have more noticeable seasonal changes. They receive only a slight temperature change over the year, but the rainfall they have are distributed unevenly throughout the area. Thus, some parts of the year they may experience wet or dry seasons here and there.

Plant Life

In the tropical rain forests, there are hundreds of different types of plant species. Most plants receive tons of rain water yearly, and tend to over grow to human sizes. They help feed the animal life of the rain forest and they help keep the environment clean. Some include the passion fruit, the Victorian water lily, the Bengal bamboo, the strangler fig, and Lianas. Plants in the rain forests have different ways they adapt to the climate.


The Passion Fruit

The passion fruit can be found near areas that receive about 35 inches of rainfall annually. They can adapt and grow in any soil conditions, but medium texture are most suitable for the plant.


Victorian Water Lily

The Victorian water lily's are mainly found on basin of water in rain forests. They can grow up to more than 2 feet long in diameter. They are pollinated around mainly by the use of insects that land on it or around it.


Bengal Bamboo

This type of grass are native to some of the rain forests of South East Asia. They have short roots to absorb water quicker than some plants and they grow fast in order to receive enough sunlight.


The Strangler Fig

The Strangler Fig begins as a small shrub on the rain forest floor, competing for water with other plants and receiving little sunlight. However, over time they begin sprouting on the canopy of tall trees. Once the plant sprouts roots, it uses them to strangle the tree, or host, and it competes with its nutrients. Later, it will become big enough to block the trees' leaves from sunlight with its own.


Lianas

Lianas are a type of vines that live on rain forest trees. They adapted to the competition in the rain forest by having their roots in the ground, and climbing high into the canopy of its host ( for example a tree) to reach available sunlight. Many Lianas also start life at the canopy and grow downwards to the ground.




Animals

Animal life in the rain forest is difficult. Since the rain forest houses dozens of species of animals, it is harder to find the required resources that it needs. When two animals fight each other for the same limited resource, it is called competition. Many animals that live in the rain forest include the Toco Toucan, the Two-Toed Sloth, the Harpy Eagle, the Kinkajou, and the Wagler's Pit Viper. Each one have different adaptations to the rain forest's climate and animals.


Toco Toucan

The Toco Toucan is the largest of toucans and can be 24 to 26 inches in length. They adapted to to rain forest by having their beaks change over time. It got harder and harder to find food, so the toucans developed a beak that can reach far berries and nuts and to crack them open.


Two-Toed Sloth

The two-toed sloth is a slow moving, gentle animal. They spend most of their time on branches of high trees, hanging upside down. They tend to do this because it helps them stay away from predators. They sometimes have greenish algae growing on the fur on their backs, which helps with camouflage.


The Harpy Eagle

The harpy eagle is one of the world's most largest and powerful out of the 50 species of eagles. Over time, when more and more trees began to grow, they developed wings that made turning and twisting through trees easier. They also developed long 5 inch talons that help them kill and catch their prey.


The Kinkajou

The Kinkajou is a small, cute animal that are believed to be related to lemurs. They are nocturnal, meaning they are only active during the night. This helps them avoid the competition and heat of the rain forest during the day. They also have long tails that help them climb the forests tall trees, avoiding predators and finding many insects to feed on.


The Wagler's Pit Viper

The Wagler's pit viper is one of the most unique type of viper in the rain forest. The pit vipers are viviparous, which means their babies are born live. The eggs are hatched inside the mother, and the babies are ready to live on their own right when they come out. One of the advantages to this is that the eggs are better protected inside their mother, than outside in a nest. They're longer than 40 inches, thus letting it to be easier to slither up and down the trees of the rain forest.









Competition

Competition is when two organism of the same or different species fight each other for the same limited resource. When one organism dominates the other, the losing organism has to look for another niche group to join or it dies (extinction).



For example, a monkey and another monkey of the same species fight over the same banana tree. This is called a intraspecific competition. One of the monkeys loses and has to go out to find another place for food without much competition or it dies.


Another example would be a cougar and a leopard fighting over a baby monkey. This will be an interspecific competition, because it contains two organisms from two different species fighting over the same limited resource. If the leopard wins, the cougar must then leave and find another resource or it will die.


Here,(http://cougarbiology.pbworks.com/f/1242751521/Abigail%20Clifford%20P3%20Food%20Web.jpg) you can see a basic food web of the tropical rain forest. In the rain forest, there are many predator/prey relationships. Some include, ants and grass hoppers, frogs and insects, vipers and mice, and birds and rodents.

FUN FACTS!!!!!

1. It takes about 10 minutes for rainfall to reach the ground because the trees are so closely packed together.



2. More than 2,000 species f butterflies are found in the rain forests of South America.


3. One-Fourth of the ingredients used in our everyday medicine is from the tropical rain forest.

Ecological Concerns

Today, the rain forests in the world are taken for granted. Every second, an estimated amount of land close to the size of a football field is being chopped down for lumber and its natural resources. Since most of the rain forests are found in countries where some people struggle for survival, they are exceedingly forced to overuse the rain forests resources. There are also many poachers and people that hunt and kill the animals either for their fur, or to capture them and to sell them to people on the market. This is causing some species to come close to extinction. Some of these animals include the Bengal Tigers, which only 4,000 are alive today, and the Orangutans, whose population has been decreased by 50% in the past 10 years.



Without the tropical rain forests, earth would be in bad shape. They provide shelter to hundreds of the world's species. They help with the earth's water cycle and they are one of the main sources of medicine for human use. That is why we should start helping to protect the rain forest and its inhabitants. If we start soon, then in the future there is a better chance of survival for the endangered species and the rain forest itself.

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