Tropical Rainforest Biome
The earth consists of a myriad of charming places. It’s also home to numerous plant and animal species including humans. This entire species live in completely distinct environments. These distinct environments are known as Biomes. Some of the main biomes of the world include grassland biome, desert biome, deciduous forest biome, taiga biome and rainforest biome and aquatic biomes. Of all the biomes existing on planet earth, rainforest biome is home to the most plant and animals species beating other kinds of biome combined. Rainforest biome is further divided into tropical rainforest biome and temperate rainforest biome.
Tropical rainforest biome is an ecology or ecosystem composed of mainly vegetation community where the trees are closely spaced, and the crowns interact with each other to result in an unbroken canopy of plants. Tropical rainforests are abundant. Statistically, they cover approximately 7% of the surface of the earth. As its name implies, tropical rainforest experiences a lot of rain during specific seasons, but pleasantly good distribution throughout the year each day and night. Tropical rainforests are extremely vital since the water they generate is evaporated and utilized as rain in other parts of the earth.
Tropical rainforest climate is largely humid due to warm summers and cold winters. The average temperature is approximately 77 degrees Fahrenheit, and it’s almost the same throughout the year. Tropical rainforests cannot thrive in temperatures below 32 degrees Fahrenheit since the plant life is not well-suited to frosty conditions.
On average, tropical rainforests receive annual precipitation of more than 150cm. In a single month, the rainforest can receive 4 inches of rain. Tropical rainforest differs from other climates. Evaporation in other climates is transported to fall as rain in other far areas. In tropical rainforests, more than 50% of its precipitation emanates from within the rainforest ecosystem and fall as rain in the same ecosystem.
Tropical rainforests are further subdivided into 4 depending on the amount of precipitation experienced. For example:
- Lowland tropical rainforests: They receive the most rain per year, an average annual precipitation of 80 inches. They are quintessentially situated near the equator.
- Highland tropical rainforests: These kinds of rainforests are situated on the high peaks and tablelands. They harbor terrific range of species, most of which are unique to the elevated environments. These areas are significantly colder, and with substantial increase in altitude, the trees growing here become reduced in stature and their leaves become tougher and smaller.
- Monsoon rainforests: This kind of tropical rainforest occurs in areas that experience strong seasonal wet and dry climate. It primarily consists of small thickets clinging to basin, stream banks, and gorges where the required conditions are available for its survival. Climbers are usually the biggest feature of Monsoon tropical rainforests.
- Subtropical rainforest: It’s a lot similar to tropical rainforests only that it harbors a lesser number of species. Climbers and epiphytes are common here, and most of the trees are buttressed. Strangling palms and figs are predominant, with palms occurring in widespread colonies.
Tropical rainforests naturally lie in proximity to the equator. Areas near the equator are hot and wet. Equatorial climate means there is a lot of sunlight striking the land and sea than any other place. The intense heat of the sun warms the sea and land causing evaporation into the atmosphere. The warm air has the capacity to hold a greater amount of water vapor. As the evaporated air rises to the air, it cools. When it cools, it loses the capacity to hold a lot of water vapor. When warm air meets cold air, condensation occurs.
Condensation transforms the water vapor into droplets leading to the formation of clouds. The clouds fall as rain. Rainfall occurs for more 90 days in a single year, and the sun normally shines amid the storms. This cycle repeats itself, which is why there is constant rainfall in tropical rainforest biomes.
Tropical rainforests occur in every continent except the Antarctica, but the vast majority is situated in South America, with Brazil taking the biggest chunk. They are also located in the Islands off of Southeast Asia and lowland regions in Africa.
Among the world’s largest rainforest biomes include:
- Amazon Rainforest in Brazil: This covers seven million square kilometers
- Daintree Rainforest: Located on the northeast coast of Queensland, Australia along the Daintree River with an area of 2,600 Km Sq
- Sinharaja Forest: Located in Sri Lanka, with an area of 21 km from east to west, and a maximum of 7 km from north to south,
- Monteverade Forest: Located in Costa Rica, and consists of over 10,500 hectares of tropical rainforest
- Southeast Asian: Are not so dense
Tropical rainforest areas do not experience seasons like summer, winter, spring or autumn. Instead, seasons in tropical rainforests are categorized into dry and wet season. Each season lasts approximately 6 months. In the Amazon, particularly, the most extreme season happens between December and May. The Amazon experiences an extraordinary 6 to 12 feet or even more of rainfall. The driest season comes between June and August with an average rainfall of approximately 6 inches.
The huge amount of rainfall experienced in the Amazon in the course of the wet season results in dramatic rise in river water level throughout the forest ecosystem. This leads to extensive flooding. Happily, the plant, animal and tree species here have mastered the art of living with seasonal flooding. During seasons of flooding, aquatic species like fish dolphins, turtles dive to river depths that are extremely difficult to reach.
While the flooding takes place, filling the entire forest, the animals are able to maneuver through the rainforest in search of food. Plants have also adapted characteristics to survive the flooding. Numerous trees have developed barks that cannot rot whatsoever. Some trees feature buttress roots that grow like tent-frame to help them anchor to the ground in order to prevent falling. The buttress roots also help them suck up nutrients during this period.
Tropical rainforests in the world harbor an astonishing range of plant species. This is clearly reflected on the Amazon rainforest, which is home to more than 40,000 plant species. The presence of hot, humid climate enables these plant species to thrive. Some plant species grow pretty quick; others acquire bigger leaves, while others develop excellent defenses against predators. Some of the most interesting rainforest plants include, Epiphytes, Orchids, Carnauba Palm (Copernicia prunifera), Walking Palm (Socratea exorrhiza), Amazon water lily (Victoria amazonica), Rubber Tree (Hevea brasiliensis), Açai Palm (Euterpe precatoria), Bromeliads, Silky Oak (Grevillea robusta) and Corpse Flower (Rafflesia arnoldii).
Tropical rainforests provide home to many animal species due to their constant warm temperatures, considerable moisture level and a bountiful supply of plant life. In fact, the number of animals living in tropical rainforests is more that other habitats collectively. Colorful and unique animal species are found here. Almost all kinds of creatures are well-represented in this forest, ranging from tiny insects to large mammals.
Bacteria make the smallest organisms living in this biome. They are chiefly responsible for decomposing fallen wood, leaves, and other dead organic matter. Despite the fact that a rainforest is vast and contains many tree species and plants, some animal species that live here never reach the ground layer. They stay in the middle layer and on top of canopies through their lifetime. Some of the animal species include Anteaters, Aye-aye, Harpy Eagle, Howler Monkey, Iguana, Jaguar, Leopard, Ocelot, Orangutan, Piranha, Poison Dart Frog, Red Eyed Tree Frog, Sloth, Tiger and so on.
Photo by: skeeze
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