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Geography - Tropical Rainforest Biome

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Introduction

TROPICAL RAINFOREST (EQUITORIAL) The tropical rain forest is the wettest and most humid biome in the world, averaging from 125-660 cm of rain and temperature ranging from 20 -34� C. The rain forest is home to a plethora of unique and exotic wildlife that are one of its kind within the world. However, the biome is slowly becoming threatened, and spans less than 6% of the Earth's land surface. Tropical rain forests are typically found near the equator between the Tropic of Cancer and Tropic of Capricorn, and can be found in areas of South America, Australia, West Africa, southern India, and Southeast Asia. A wide array of exotic fauna inhabits the tropical rain forests, notably the orangutan, three-toed sloth, and the harpy eagle.. The constant warmth, unlimited sources of water, as well as shade from the heat, provides ideal conditions for animal habitation. Although an omnivore, the orangutan (simia pygmaeus) mainly feed upon bark, leaves, numerous fruits, and insects, all in abundance in the tropical rainforest. In times of little rain, orangtutans may chew leaves to make a sponge to soak up water in tree cavities.This mammal has long strong arms specialized for travelling along the high layers of the rainforest, as well as curved feet for added balance on tree branches. ...read more.

Middle

The leaves have "drip spouts" that allows rain to run off. This keeps them dry and prevents mold and mildew from forming in the humid environment. * The understory, or lower canopy, consists of trees of up to 60 feet. This layer comprises the trunks of canopy trees, shrubs, plants and small trees. There is sparse air movement, and as a result, the humidity is constantly high. This level remains under shade. * The forest floor is usually completely shaded, except where an opening is created by the fall of a canopy tree. Most areas of the forest floor receive so little light that few bushes or herbs can grow there. Less than 1 % of the light that strikes the top of the forest penetrates to the forest floor. The top soil is very thin and of poor quality. A lot of litter falls to the ground where it is quickly broken down by decomposers such as termites, earthworms and fungi. The heat and humidity further help to break down the litter, which is subsequently absorbed by the trees' shallow roots. A vast range of flora can be found in the tropical rain forest, namely bromeliads, buttresses, epiphytes, saprophytes, lianas (vines) and orchids. There exists billions of collective species of these plants, and all have adapted to the tropical and humid climate of the tropical rainforest biome. ...read more.

Conclusion

It can tolerate semi-shaded areas and it can also tolerate full sun, but when vine-like it tends to climb upward towards the sun. Bougainvilleas are generally not found in swampy areas because of the lack of soil drainage. The plant can reach over thirty feet, taking the form of either vines, trees, or shrubs with sharp thorns. The leaves of the bougainvillea are reminiscent of little hearts with drip tips at the ends, mainly to alleviate rushing water (i.e. heavy rain) fast and not get weighed down by the water. They are dark rich green and look almost like ivy leaves. On the underside of the leaves there are little hairs. The flowers of the bougainvillea can be several different colors, from pink, to red, to orange, to white and yellow. They are small tubes with three papery bracts around them. The flowers grow all over the canes and vines. The root system of the bougainvillea is very fragile and doesn't form a good firm root ball. Bougainvillea has many adaptations to its climate and environment. It has many hooks so it can cling and hold onto other plants for support. Also, it can grow in full sunlight to semi-shade. The tropical rainforest biome is home to tropical red soil (laterite). The soil is characterizes by its distinct reddish colour as well as a very thin layer of humus. There is heavy capillary action due to the heavy rain. ...read more.

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