Biomes

Rain Forests of the World

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Temperature


Tropical Moist Climate Tropical Moist Climates (Af)

In an average year in a tropical rain forest, the climate is very humid because of all the rainfall, which amounts to about 250 cm per year. The rain forest has lots of rain because it is very hot and wet. This climate is found near the equator. That means that there is more direct sunlight hitting the land and sea there than anywhere else. The sun warms the land and sea and the water evaporates into the air. The warm air can hold a lot of water vapor. As the air rises, it cools. That means it can hold less water vapor. Then as warm meets cold, condensation takes place and the vapor forms droplets, and clouds form. The clouds then produce rain. It rains more than ninety days a year and the strong sun usually shines between the storms. The water cycle repeats often along the equator. The main plants in this biome are trees. A lot of the rain that falls on the rain forest never reaches the ground. It stays on the trees because the leaves act as a shield, and some rain never gets past the trees to the smaller plants and grounds below. Trees in this climate reach a height of more than 164 feet. They form a canopy. The forest floor is called understory. The canopy also keeps sunlight from reaching the plants in the understory. Between the canopy and understory is a lower canopy made up of smaller trees. These plants do receive some filtered sunlight.

Geography


The tropical rain forest can be found in three major geographical areas around the world.

  • Central America in the Amazon river basin.
  • Africa - Zaire basin, with a small area in West Africa; also eastern Madagascar.
  • Indo-Malaysia - west coast of India, Assam, Southeast Asia, New Guinea and Queensland, Australia.

Climate


Tropical Moist Climate Tropical Moist Climates (Af)

In an average year in a tropical rain forest, the climate is very humid because of all the rainfall, which amounts to about 250 cm per year. The rain forest has lots of rain because it is very hot and wet. This climate is found near the equator. That means that there is more direct sunlight hitting the land and sea there than anywhere else. The sun warms the land and sea and the water evaporates into the air. The warm air can hold a lot of water vapor. As the air rises, it cools. That means it can hold less water vapor. Then as warm meets cold, condensation takes place and the vapor forms droplets, and clouds form. The clouds then produce rain. It rains more than ninety days a year and the strong sun usually shines between the storms. The water cycle repeats often along the equator. The main plants in this biome are trees. A lot of the rain that falls on the rain forest never reaches the ground. It stays on the trees because the leaves act as a shield, and some rain never gets past the trees to the smaller plants and grounds below. Trees in this climate reach a height of more than 164 feet. They form a canopy. The forest floor is called understory. The canopy also keeps sunlight from reaching the plants in the understory. Between the canopy and understory is a lower canopy made up of smaller trees. These plants do receive some filtered sunlight.

Animals

Some of the animals of the tropical rainforest are the anteater, jaguar, brocket deer, lemur, orangutan, marmoset, macaw, parrot, sloth, and toucan. Among the many plant species are bamboo, banana trees, rubber trees, and cassava.
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Ecological Concerns


Rainforests are an endangered biome. People have cut the trees and sold the wood for firewood, building materials, and paper. Parts of the rainforest have been burned to make space for grazing and farming. Every minute, approximately 30 acres of rainforest are destroyed. The large amounts of carbon dioxide that are released due to the cutting and burning of rainforests contribute to the greenhouse effect.


Canopy

A rainforest grows in three levels. The canopy, or tallest level, has trees between 100 and 200 feet tall. They block most of the sunlight from the levels below. The second level, or understory, contains a mix of small trees, vines, and palms as well as shrubs and ferns. The third and lowest level is the forest floor, where herbs, mosses, and fungi grow.