We explain what a jungle is, what its biodiversity and temperature are like. Also, what are its characteristics, classification and more.
Jungle or tropical rain forest are terms that basically refer to the same thing: a bioclimatic landscape with abundant rainfall , warm weather and exuberant vegetation , organized at various height levels. In them resides the main biomass of the planet , counting plants and animals, with the highest range in the variety of species.
However, there is no clear and stable definition that reconciles these terms, used more or less arbitrarily to name the large humid agglomerations of tall plants and trees , often with additions such as tropical forest or equatorial forest, to allude to their latitudinal location.
The jungles are currently under siege from the wood and paper industries , as well as from the constant expansion of the global urban sprawl.
Although they are located in various latitudes of the planet, the jungles cover 6% of its total surface and abound mainly in the intertropical zone .
The main and most lush forests in the world are the Amazon (or Amazon Forest) in the heart of South America , or the Congo Forest in Africa . It is estimated that they have about 5,500,000 and 700,000 square kilometers respectively.
Rain is an abundant factor in most jungle areas , necessary to sustain the enormous mass of vegetation that it contains . Jungle moisture is essential for the decomposition processes of organic matter in the soil , which in turn reintroduces nutrients to the soil and serves as sustenance for animal and fungal species that subsist from its use.
On average, the range of rainfall in jungle areas ranges between 1,500 and 2,000 mm , reaching figures of 3,000 mm or more in equatorial areas. This means an abundant nearby hydrography, such as rivers or lakes, especially since there are usually continuous rains throughout the year.
Even the zones that tend to the lower limit have a high stationary frequency, which guarantees the forest its uniform irrigation throughout the year.
Two-thirds of the planet's total biodiversity is contained in the different jungles , so it is estimated that there are millions of plant and animal species still to be discovered in them.
They are also the largest centers of oxygen generation in the world (around 40%) and constitute important ecological refuges at a global level, even housing human communities that still sustain themselves based on a pre-modern, tribal way of life, such as the Yanomami Indians in the Amazon.
The average temperature in the jungle areas is high, at least in the tropical strip, ranging between 27 and 29 centigrade ; from 400 meters high or from subtropical latitudes the average drops to 22.
In the case of mountain forests or high altitude forests , it can decrease even more, down to about 17 or 18 centigrade . The range of humidity must also be considered, as a determining factor of the variation in the temperature of the forest.
Many of the world's jungle tracts are under siege from the logging and paper industries , as well as from ever-expanding urbanization.
Activities such as illegal mining (the Brazilian garimpeiros , for example, in the Amazon) generate a much more drastic and accelerated environmental impact, since they use highly polluting substances such as mercury and extraction methods that deteriorate the soil semi-permanently.
It is estimated that in the 1990s there was an increase in the rate of deforestation that reduced the forest patch from 14% of the land to only 6% today, an average annual reduction of 58,000 square kilometers. It has been warned that if this rate of forest destruction continues , by the year 2050 they will practically have disappeared from the planet.
Rainforests can be classified in many ways. The first is according to its latitudinal location and its temperature averages, namely:
Another possible classification of jungle territories is based on their humidity margins, necessary for the proliferation of plants and the biomass associated with these regions. There are, according to this, three types of jungle:
Finally, forests can be classified according to the elevation of the land on which they are found. Namely:
As has been seen, there is no terminological clarity regarding the distinctions between jungle, forest and jungle . However, they are traditionally given different considerations in terms of plant density and other cultural implications.
Although the terms come from different etymologies (jungle from the Latin silva , "land with trees"; forest from the Germanic busch , "bush" or "group of bushes"; and jungle from the Sanskrit jangala , "uncultivated land"), they coincide in its image of a virgin territory, densely populated by tall trees.
Even so, the term jungle is traditionally used to refer to the most impenetrable and hostile jungles. While forest favors the allusion to semi-dense tree groups, of a diverse nature, which may be sparse forests and even xerophytic forests in desert climates and conifers in cold climates.
Around a quarter of medicines for common human consumption are made from jungle plants , which makes their continuous biological and pharmacological exploration a highly relevant mission.
It is hoped that within the dense unexplored ecosystems inside the jungles new species of plants will be found, with effective medicinal properties in the treatment of current diseases of man.
The above content published at Collaborative Research Group is for informational and educational purposes only and has been developed by referring reliable sources and recommendations from experts. We do not have any contact with official entities nor do we intend to replace the information that they emit.