Tropical Rainforest

An Introduction to Tropical Rainforest

The temperature of the earth is changing day by day. Have you ever wondered how we are surviving on Earth? The answer to this question is the presence of tropical rainforest on our planet which covers less than 2% of the surface of the Earth but plays a huge role in maintaining the ecological balance and the environment of the whole planet. These forests are the source of oxygen, plants and other species, minerals, etc. Without these equatorial forests survival on the Earth would not be possible. In this article, we will be discussing the tropical rainforest biome. We will cover all the related concepts such as percentage of their features, meaning or definitions, location or distribution, climate or temperature, plants or animals, minerals, agriculture, etc. This article will help you to understand one of the biomes of the earth and will help in understanding the important forests of the world. 

 

Tropical Forest

They come under the " Af " category according to Koeppen's Classification of Climate which refers to Tropical wet climate. The tropical rainforest biome is the area that covers only around 6% of the area of the Earth but it covers around 50% of the species and has tall trees, has a dense canopy and receives maximum rainfall. These forests are also known as,

  • Equatorial Rainforests

  • Equatorial Evergreen Forests

  • Tropical Moist Broadleaf Forests

  • Lowland Equatorial Evergreen Rainforest

 

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Definition

The definitions of tropical rainforest are given below:

According to the Oxford dictionary, " rainforest means ​a thick forest in tropical parts of the world that have a lot of rain."

 

According to the Cambridge dictionary, " tropical rainforest means thick forest that grows in hot parts of the world."

 

Features

  • The biotic and abiotic factors depend on each other. A minor change in one area will affect the other.

  • These areas have huge biodiversity.

  • The temperature is almost the same the whole year and never comes below 20°C and exceeds 35°C rarely.

  • There are no seasons and a hot or humid atmosphere is found here.

  • Rainfall occurs a lot here thus the soil is not so fertile here because most of the nutrients are washed away due to rainfall.

  • The forests have a dense canopy here and sunlight does not reach the ground.

  • They have different layers such as the ground level, the shrubs, the under and main canopy, and the emergents.

 

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Tropical Rainforest Location

 

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These forests are found in between the tropics ie. Tropic of Cancer and Tropic of Capricorn. These are mainly found in South America, Western or Central Africa, India and Southeast Asia, and some other areas. The extent of their distribution can be seen on the map.

 

Information on Rainfall Distribution and Characteristics

There are certain aspects of tropical rainforests that are the same no matter which rainforest it is.

  • Tropics are the home of rainforests.

  • At least 80 inches (200 cm) of rainfall each year falls on rainforests.

  • There is a canopy in a rainforest, which consists of a layer of branches and leaves that form 30 metres (100 feet) off the ground between two trees closely spaced. Forest plants and animals depend heavily on the canopy for survival.

  • Forests have an extraordinary amount of biological diversity, or "biodiversity". The Earth's rainforests are home to roughly half of Earth's terrestrial species.

 

At local, regional, and global scales, rainforests provide ecosystem services, among them the production of oxygen (tropical forests account for 25-30 per cent of the world's oxygen turnover) and the storage of carbon (tropical forests store an estimated 229-247 billion tonnes of carbon). They also significantly affect precipitation patterns and weather patterns; modulate flood and drought cycles, and facilitate nutrient cycling.

 

Tropical Rainforest Climate

These areas are dominated by maritime tropical air masses and usually have the same temperature over the year. The average monthly temperature found here is 27°C which does not vary so much. The temperature is always moderate due to the presence of clouds or precipitation or regular sea and land breezes. Average annual rainfall in these areas is always above 150cm and can be around 250cm to 300cm in some areas. There is no winter and no month without rainfall. 

 

Vegetation and Species

The favourable conditions of these areas such as high temperature along with continuous rainfall lead to tropical rainforests.

 

Tropical Rainforest Plants

The "Selvas" is the densest forest area found in the Amazon forests which has a very dense canopy. Evergreen trees can be found here such as mahogany, ebony, dyewoods, Kapok, rubber, etc. Other Plants in the rainforest such as orchids, ferns, bamboo, banana, cassava, avocado, etc. are also found in these areas. Besides these, Mangrove trees are found in the coastal areas.

 

Tropical Rainforest Animals

Various animal species are found here such as rhinoceros, tapir, gorilla, jaguar, African grey parrot, keel-billed toucan, spider monkey, sloth, hornbill, eagle, flying fox, etc.

 

Minerals

Various precious minerals are found here such as gold, copper, diamonds, and other gemstones. Besides these, they are also a great source of oil reserves as well. Extraction of these minerals or oil reserves here is a difficult task because it affects the natural ecosystem and environment a lot.

 

Life and Economy

These regions are sparsely populated. People like primitive ones and more advanced ones are used to practising shifting cultivation here. There is no problem or shortage of food as well and they do not need to stock food items for the future. Shifting cultivation is common where dense forests are found in the world. Even in India, in North East regions, this type of farming is practised. Besides farming, people do other commercial activities as well. Such as collection of wild rubber by the Indian tribes in the Amazon basin, nuts collection by the pygmies in the Congo basin, etc. The conditions of these areas are also favourable for products of industrial use such as the cultivation of natural rubber which has a great demand. Cocoa is also a very important crop which is grown here. Other important crops are coconuts, coffee, tea, tobacco, sugar, spices, etc. 

 

Tropical Rainforests India

India is an Asian country that also consists of tropical evergreen forests which are found in eastern or western ghats of the country and Northeast regions. For example, in Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Tripura, Meghalaya, West Bengal and Andaman & Nicobar Islands. These areas are rich in biodiversity and rainfall.

 

Did You Know?

  • Rainforests are found in all the continents of the Earth except Antarctica because it does not provide favourable conditions for these forests.

  • These forests are a blessing for our planet. The forests of Amazon are actually the lungs of the planet Earth and ¼ of the medicines are also found in these evergreen tropical forests.

  • There was a time when 6 million sq. miles of these forests were found but not only less than half of it is remaining.

 

Conclusion

Thus, in this article, we have learned about evergreen forests or rainforests. Generally, there are two types of forests are found ie. tropical and temperate in which the tropical ones are the most distributed forests on our planet which support life on earth and maintain balance on the earth. We have learned what rainforests are, what are their other names, temperature or climate, distribution or location, plants or animals found here, agriculture or commercial activities and many other things. This article will help you understand the important biome along with its various features and will help the students of Class 8 and students of upper classes. This topic is important in various subjects such as Geography, Science and Environment.

 

Moist Forest vs. Evergreen Rainforest in Equal Temperatures

Tropical wet forests can be divided into two major categories: equatorial evergreen rainforest and moist rainforest, which includes monsoon rainforests and montane/cloud forests. Equatorial rainforests are characterised by averaging 80 inches (2,000 millimetres) of rain per year that is evenly distributed. There are tiers of vegetation within these forests with the highest levels of biological diversity. Tropical wet forests can be classified into one of three types, with equatorial forests constituting the majority.

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FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

1. What are the Features of Evergreen Tropical Forests?

These evergreen tropical forests are dense forests with tall trees having dense canopy which is found mainly between the tropics. All the biotic and abiotic factors depend on each other. These areas have huge biodiversity. The temperature is almost the same the whole year with an average of 27 C and never comes below 20°C and exceeds 35°C rarely. There are no seasons and a hot or humid atmosphere is found here. Rainfall occurs a lot here thus the soil is not so fertile here because most of the nutrients are washed away due to rainfall. The forests have a dense canopy here and sunlight does not reach the ground. They have different layers from the ground level to shrubs, the under and main canopy, and the emergencies.

2. Explain the distribution and climate of the Tropical Forests?

These forests are found in between the tropics ie. Tropic of Cancer and Tropic of Capricorn. These are found in all the continents except Antarctica but mainly these forests are found in  South America, Western or Central Africa, and Southeast Asia, and some other areas. These areas are dominated by a hot and humid atmosphere and usually have the same temperature over the year. The average monthly temperature found here is 27°C which does not vary so much. The temperature is always moderate due to the presence of clouds or precipitation or regular sea and land breezes. Average annual rainfall in these areas is always above 150cm and can be around 250cm to 300cm in some areas. There is no winter and no month without rainfall.

3. Which region of the world has tropical rainforests?

The Congo Basin (formerly Zaire) is the home of most of the tropical rainforests of Africa, although the forest once covered the entire west coast of Africa from Senegal to the Rift Valley. Only a small percentage of the original cover of forest remains in West Africa because of logging and agriculture. 


The demand for Timber from Central Africa has been steadily growing since the 1990s, especially in Gabon, Cameroon, and the Congos as West African exporters discontinued their operations. Central Africa, therefore, is experiencing a rapid deforestation trend. As well as being a concession for industrial agriculture, large areas of forest are being developed to plant oil palms.


West Africa had 193,000 square miles of land around the turn of the century. This area was home to coastal rainforests covering 500,000 square miles. In West Africa, most of the tropical forests are lowland formations that are easily accessible from the coast, so their exploitation, particularly logging, and conversion to agriculture, have greatly diminished them.


In West Africa, according to the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations, less than 20 percent of moist forests remain, and most of those forests are in a state of degradation. In countries like Nigeria, where human population pressures exert huge pressure on forests, large areas of forests have been lost as a result of commercial logging and agriculture. 


The impacts of forest losses are still unclear, though erosion has increased in Mali and Niger, and drought incidence has also increased. Rainfall that occurs in these interior countries seems to be influenced by these coastal forests.

4. What are the types of tropical forests?

The rain forests occur in the temperate and tropical regions of the world, as well as in areas like Canada, the United States, and the former Soviet Union. In addition to receiving high amounts of rainfall year-round, these forests are characterised by an enclosed canopy and high species diversity, but they do not receive the year-round warmth and sunlight that tropical rainforests experience. However, the focus of this section is on tropical rainforests since only these types of forests are taken into account.


In tropical rainforests, different soil, flooding, and climate conditions influence the fusion into other kinds of forests based on altitude, latitude and other factors. The tropics are characterised by an amazing variety of forest types, which form a mosaic of vegetation types.

5. How do rainforests get destroyed?

Logging, mining, agriculture, and ranching are responsible for deforestation worldwide, which threatens rainforests. Amazonian rainforest losses have been on the rise for the past 50 years. About 17 percent of the rainforest has been destroyed. Approximately six per cent of Earth's land surface is covered with tropical rainforest.


Brazil, which boasts more than half of the Amazon rainforest, and Indonesia account for 46 per cent of the primary (i.e. old growth, undisturbed) rainforest loss: the former is home to the Amazon rainforest, the latter contains palm oil, which makes most of the products you use in your everyday life. Other countries, including Colombia, Côte d'Ivoire, Ghana, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, are experiencing considerable losses. In many cases, such as forested areas, the soil damage impedes the regeneration of rainforests, and the ecological diversity within them is irreplaceable.


You can study all these to understand the concept of Tropical rainforests. You will get different study materials on the Vedantu website and app which will help you to understand this topic better.

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