We explain what tropical forests are, their characteristics and what types exist. In addition, its flora, fauna and the threat of deforestation.
What is a tropical forest?
The tropical forest is a wooded biome that extends in areas near the equator where the climate is humid or tropical . The conditions are conducive to the growth of very varied vegetation due to the fact that the temperature is similar throughout the year, around 30 ºC, and the rains are abundant.
Tropical forests are less than 1,200 meters above sea level, contain great biodiversity and represent one of the largest biomes on Earth . They are found in Asia , Australia, Africa , parts of South America , Central America , and on many of the islands in the Pacific Ocean .
Characteristics of the tropical forest
The tropical forest is characterized by:
- High and constant temperatures throughout the year , ranging between 20ºC and 35ºC.
- A very humid climate due to the abundant rains.
- Present very tall trees , with strong trunks and with large vines that cling around the trunk.
- Spread in the regions located between the Tropic of Capricorn , in the southern hemisphere, and the Tropic of Cancer in the northern hemisphere.
- Have an enormous biodiversity .
Types of tropical forests
Tropical forests are classified as:
- Dry tropical forest. The temperatures oscillate between 15º and 25º and the thermal amplitudes between day and night are quite noticeable. Vegetation and fauna change considerably in relation to humid forests as a result of thermal amplitude. The climate is characterized by rainy seasons and periods of drought , with rainfall ranging between 1,000 and 2,000 millimeters.
- Monsoon tropical forest. Also called monsoon forest , it is a type of forest that has a rainy and a dry season that, on average, has annual rainfall of 2,000 millimeters.
- Tropical rain forest. Also known as tropical jungle, it is a type of forest that does not have a dry season, but rather rains are abundant throughout the year. There is a very varied vegetation due to humidity and the intensity of the light sun. The climate is characterized by temperatures that oscillate between 23ºC and 26ºC throughout the year.
Tropical forest climate
The tropical forest climate is characterized by abundant rainfall that is between 750 millimeters and 2,000 millimeters per year, depending on the type of tropical forest.
In the tropical forest there is not a great thermal amplitude between its two seasons of the year, dry and humid, although this amplitude is notable in the monsoon forest and in the dry tropical forest. However, temperatures during winter never drop to freezing , while summer is very hot.
Tropical forest flora
The flora of tropical forests is characterized by being made up of well differentiated layers:
- Layer 1. It is the deepest layer and is made up mostly of mosses that are on the ground and partly on the trunks of the trees.
- Layer 2. It is made up of various plants with broad leaves that seek to receive the greatest amount of sunlight that is monopolized by large trees.
- Layer 3. It is made up of small trees and shrubs.
- Layer 4. It is made up of most of the trees that are characterized by their large leaves, huge trunks and heights that can reach between 20 and 30 meters in height.
Among the most common varieties of vegetation in the tropical forest are: orchids, rubber trees, bananas, bromeliads, ferns, mosses, lianas and lichens.
Tropical forest fauna
The fauna of the tropical forest stands out because most of the animals have a plant-based (herbivorous) diet .
Among the most common animals of the tropical forest are: saraguato monkey, spider monkey, anteater, squirrel, porcupine, eagle , tapir, iguana , crocodile , snake , a wide variety of spiders and insects , mammals of various sizes such as hares, rats or larger ones such as coyotes, deer, pumas, voles, quail pigeons, wild chickens and jaguars.
Illegal deforestation in the tropical forest
The illegal deforestation is one of the biggest problems faced by forests around the world, which causes an irreparable loss and exterminates thousands of plant and animal species . Around 20 million hectares are cut down each year.
There are still some indigenous peoples in regions such as South America that also suffer the violence of the advance of indiscriminate logging and defend the territories, such as the Siona, Cofan, Huaorani, Quichua, Achuar, Shuar, Záparo and Secoya San Pablo. These indigenous peoples live in balance with the environment of the tropical forests and take care of the flora and fauna.
Forests are essential for life on Earth, since they generate enormous amounts of oxygen for all living beings , they are the main absorbers of heat, which contribute to maintaining the correct terrestrial temperature and are capable of absorbing 50% of carbon dioxide. carbon . They are considered protectors of the planet and the biodiversity that inhabits it.
- “Tropical rainforest” on Britannica
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