A cloud forest, also called a water forest and primas forest, is a generally tropical or subtropical, evergreen, montane, moist forest characterized by a persistent, frequent or seasonal low-level cloud cover, usually at the canopy level, formally described in the International Cloud Atlas (2017) as silvagenitus.Cloud forests often exhibit an abundance of mosses covering the ground and vegetation, in which case they are also referred to as mossy forests. Mossy forests usually develop on the saddles of mountains, where moisture introduced by settling clouds is more effectively retained.
Tropical and subtropical moist broadleaf forests (TSMF), also known as tropical moist forests, are a tropical and subtropical forest habitat type defined by the World Wide Fund for Nature. The habitat type is sometimes known as jungle.
In meteorology, a cloud is an aerosol consisting of a visible mass of minute liquid droplets, frozen crystals, or other particles suspended in the atmosphere of a planetary body or similar space. Water or various other chemicals may compose the droplets and crystals. On Earth, clouds are formed as a result of saturation of the air when it is cooled to its dew point, or when it gains sufficient moisture from an adjacent source to raise the dew point to the ambient temperature. They are seen in the Earth's homosphere. Nephology is the science of clouds, which is undertaken in the cloud physics branch of meteorology.
International Cloud Atlas is a cloud atlas that was first published in 1896 and has remained in print since then. Its initial purposes included aiding the training of meteorologists and promoting more consistent use of vocabulary describing clouds, which were both important for early weather forecasting. The first edition featured color plates of color photographs, then still a very new technology, but noted for being expensive. Numerous later editions have been published.
Dependent on local climate, which is affected by the distance to the sea, the exposition and the latitude (from 23°N to 25°S), the altitude varies from 500 m to 4000 m above sea level. Typically, there is a relatively small band of altitude in which the atmospheric environment is suitable for cloud forest development. This is characterized by persistent fog at the vegetation level, resulting in the reduction of direct sunlight and thus of evapotranspiration.Within cloud forests, much of the moisture available to plants arrives in the form of fog drip, where fog condenses on tree leaves and then drips onto the ground below.
Evapotranspiration (ET) is the sum of evaporation and plant transpiration from the Earth's land and ocean surface to the atmosphere. Evaporation accounts for the movement of water to the air from sources such as the soil, canopy interception, and waterbodies. Transpiration accounts for the movement of water within a plant and the subsequent loss of water as vapor through stomata in its leaves. Evapotranspiration is an important part of the water cycle. An element that contributes to evapotranspiration can be called an evapotranspirator.
Fog drip is water dripping to the ground during fog. It occurs when water droplets from the fog adhere to the needles or leaves of trees or other objects, coalesce into larger drops and then drop to the ground.
Condensation is the change of the physical state of matter from the gas phase into the liquid phase, and is the reverse of vaporisation. The word most often refers to the water cycle. It can also be defined as the change in the state of water vapour to liquid water when in contact with a liquid or solid surface or cloud condensation nuclei within the atmosphere. When the transition happens from the gaseous phase into the solid phase directly, the change is called deposition.
Annual rainfall can range from 500 to 10,000 mm/year and mean temperature between 8 and 20 °C.
While cloud forest today is the most widely used term, in some regions, these ecosystems or special types of cloud forests are called mossy forest, elfin forest, montane thicket, and dwarf cloud forest.
The definition of cloud forest can be ambiguous, with many countries not using the term (preferring such terms as Afromontane forest and upper montane rain forest, montane laurel forest, or more localised terms such as the Bolivian yungas , and the laurisilva of the Atlantic Islands),and occasionally subtropical and even temperate forests in which similar meteorological conditions occur are considered to be cloud forests.
The Afromontane regions are subregions of the Afrotropical realm, one of the Earth's eight biogeographic realms, covering the plant and animal species found in the mountains of Africa and the southern Arabian Peninsula. The Afromontane regions of Africa are discontinuous, separated from each other by lower-lying areas, and are sometimes referred to as the Afromontane archipelago, as their distribution is analogous to a series of sky islands.
Laurel forest, also called laurisilva or laurissilva, is a type of subtropical forest found in areas with high humidity and relatively stable, mild temperatures. The forest is characterized by broadleaf tree species with evergreen, glossy and elongated leaves, known as "laurophyll" or "lauroid". Plants from the laurel family (Lauraceae) may or may not be present, depending on the location.
The Yungas is a narrow band of forest along the eastern slope of the Andes Mountains from Peru, Bolivia, and northern Argentina. It is a transitional zone between the Andean highlands and the eastern forests. Like the surrounding areas, the Yungas belong to the Neotropic ecozone; the climate is rainy, humid, and warm.
Only 1% of the global woodland consists of cloud forests.
Important areas of cloud forest are in Central and South America, East and Central Africa, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Papua-New Guinea, and in the Caribbean.
In comparison with lower tropical moist forests, cloud forests show a reduced tree stature combined with increased stem density and generally the lower diversity of woody plants.Trees in these regions are generally shorter and more heavily stemmed than in lower-altitude forests in the same regions, often with gnarled trunks and branches, forming dense, compact crowns. Their leaves become smaller, thicker and harder with increasing altitude. The high moisture promotes the development of a high biomass and biodiversity of epiphyte, particularly bryophytes, lichens, ferns (including filmy ferns), bromeliads and orchids. The number of endemic plants can be very high.
An important feature of cloud forests is the tree crowns can intercept the wind-driven cloud moisture, part of which drips to the ground. This fog drip occurs when water droplets from the fog adhere to the needles or leaves of trees or other objects, coalesce into larger drops and then drop to the ground.It can be an important contribution to the hydrologic cycle.
Due to the high water content of the soil, the reduced solar radiation and the low rates of decomposition and mineralization, the soil acidity is very high,with more humus and peat often forming the upper soil layer.
Stadtmüller (1987) distinguishes two general types of tropical montane cloud forests:
Although far from being universally accepted as true cloud forests, several forests in temperate regions have strong similarities with tropical cloud forests. The term is further confused by occasional reference to cloud forests in tropical countries as "temperate" due to the cooler climate associated with these misty forests.
This section does not cite any sources . (July 2013) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)
In 1970, the original extent of cloud forests on the Earth was around 50 million hectares. Population growth, poverty and uncontrolled land use have contributed to the loss of cloud forests. The 1990 Global Forest Survey found that 1.1% of tropical mountain and highland forests were lost each year, which was higher than in any other tropical forests.In Colombia, one of the countries with the largest area of cloud forests, only 10–20% of the initial cloud forest cover remains. Significant areas have been converted to plantations, or for use in agriculture and pasture. Significant crops in montane forest zones include tea and coffee, and the logging of unique species causes changes to the forest structure.
In 2004, an estimated one-third of all cloud forests on the planet were protected at that time.
Because of their delicate dependency on local climates, cloud forests will be strongly affected by global climate change. Results show that the extent of environmentally suitable areas for cloud forest in Mexico will sharply decline in the next 70 years.A number of climate models suggest low-altitude cloudiness will be reduced, which means the optimum climate for many cloud forest habitats will increase in altitude. Linked to the reduction of cloud moisture immersion and increasing temperature, the hydrological cycle will change, so the system will dry out. This would lead to the wilting and the death of epiphytes, which rely on high humidity. Frogs and lizards are expected to suffer from increased drought. Calculations suggest the loss of cloud forest in Mexico would lead to extinction of up to 37 vertebrates specific to that region. In addition, climate changes can result in a higher number of hurricanes, which may increase damage to tropical montane cloud forests. All in all, the results of climate change will be a loss in biodiversity, altitude shifts in species ranges and community reshuffling, and, in some areas, complete loss of cloud forests.
Cloud-forest conditions are hard and expensive to replicate in a glasshouse because it is necessary to maintain a very high humidity. This is usually expensive as a high temperature must usually be maintained as well, and a high temperature combined with high humidity calls for good air circulation or else fungi and algae will develop. Such displays usually are quite small, but there are some notable exceptions. For many years, the Singapore Botanic Gardens have a so-called coolhouse, whereas the Gardens by the Bay features a 0.8 hectares (2.0 acres) coolhouse that is simply named "Cloud Forest". The latter features a 35-metre (115 ft)-high artificial mountain clad in epiphytes such as orchids, ferns, clubmosses, bromeliads and others.
Cape Verde is a group of arid Atlantic islands which are home to a number of birds and reptiles and constitute a unique ecoregion in the World Wildlife Fund classification.
El Cerro del Aripo, at 940 metres (3,084 ft), is the highest point in the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago. It is part of the Aripo Massif and is located in the Northern Range on the island of Trinidad, northeast of the town of Arima.
A tropical marine climate is a tropical climate that is primarily influenced by the ocean. It is usually experienced by islands and coastal areas 10° to 20° north and south of the equator. There are two main seasons in a tropical marine climate: the wet season and the dry season. The annual rainfall is 1000 to over 1500 mm. The temperature ranges from 20 °C to 35 °C. The trade winds blow all year round and are moist, as they pass over warm seas. These climatic conditions are found, for example, across the Caribbean; the eastern coasts of Brazil, Madagascar and Queensland; and many islands in tropical waters.
Dwarf forest, elfin forest, or pygmy forest is a rare ecosystem featuring miniature trees, inhabited by small species of fauna such as rodents and lizards. They are usually located at high elevations, under conditions of sufficient air humidity but poor soil. There are two main dwarf forest ecosystem types, involving different species and environmental characteristics: coastal temperate and montane tropical regions. Temperate coastal dwarf forest is common for parts of Southern California. Montane tropical forests are found across tropical highlands of Central America, northern South America and Southeast Asia. There are also other isolated examples of dwarf forests scattered across the world.
Heliocarpus americanus is a tropical tree native to Central America, and native throughout Mexico. It is sometimes called majaguillo or majagua. It is found in montane forest in Costa Rica and Panama at altitudes of 1,300–1,500 metres (4,300–4,900 ft). It bears pinkish-brown flowers in December and January.
African rosewood is a common name for several plants and may refer to:
The Borneo montane rain forests are an ecoregion, of cloud forest, within the tropical and subtropical moist broadleaf forests biome, of the island of Borneo in Southeast Asia.
The Sierra Juárez is a range of mountains in Oaxaca state, Mexico between latitudes 17°20'-17°50'N and longitudes 96°15'-97°00'W, with an area of about 1,700 km². It is part of the Sierra Madre de Oaxaca. The range is separated from the Sierra de Zongólica to the north by the Santo Domingo River, flowing through the Tecomavaca Canyon. It stretches south-eastward to the Cajones River and the Sierra de Villa Alta. The mountains are in the district of Ixtlán de Juárez in the Sierra Norte de Oaxaca region. The range is named after Mexico's only indigenous president, Benito Juárez, who was born here in 1806 in the small village of San Pablo Guelatao. The heavily wooded area is about 62 km (39 mi) from the city of Oaxaca on Federal highway 175, heading towards Tuxtepec.
The Bolivian Yungas is a tropical and subtropical moist broadleaf forest ecoregion in the Yungas of central Bolivia and eastern Peru.
The Jama-Coaque Ecological Reserve is a 1,203-acre protected area of Pacific Equatorial Forest in coastal Ecuador. It is one of the last significant remnants of tropical moist evergreen forest and premontane cloud forest in the region between the Andes mountains and the Pacific Ocean in Ecuador. It is estimated that only 2% of the native forest still remains in coastal Ecuador. The Jama-Coaque Ecological Reserve is owned and managed by Third Millennium Alliance and partner Grupo Ecologico Jama-Coaque, both non-profit conservation foundations in their respective countries. It is part of the Tumbes-Chocó-Magdalena biodiversity hotspot as designated by Conservation International.
Cinnadenia is a flowering plant genus belonging to the family Lauraceae. They are present in low and mountain cloud forest in Southeast Asia.
The Itombwe Mountains are a range of mountains in the South Kivu province of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). They run along the west shore of the northern part of Lake Tanganyika. They contain a vast area of contiguous montane forest and are home to a rich diversity of wildlife.
Montane ecosystems refers to any ecosystem found in mountains. These ecosystems are strongly affected by climate, which gets colder as elevation increases. They are stratified according to elevation. Dense forests are common at moderate elevations. However, as the elevation increases, the climate becomes harsher, and the plant community transitions to grasslands or tundra.
Desarrollo Forestal Montreal S.A. is a nature reserve and cloud forest adjacent to Braulio Carrillo National Park in the central area of Costa Rica, about 30 miles (48 km) north of San José. The area is located between 1600–1800 meters (5,249–5,905 ft.) above sea level and extends throughout the mountain range.
Sambucus palmensis is a species of shrub or small tree in the family Adoxaceae. It is endemic to the Canary Islands and is present in the laurel forest. It can reach 6 m tall and yields blackish berries.
The Santa Marta montane forests (NT0159) is an ecoregion in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, a massif on the Caribbean coast of northern Colombia. The ecoregion covers altitudes from near sea level up to around 3,300 metres (10,800 ft), where it gives way to Santa Marta páramo. The isolation of the massif and the range of elevations and climates has resulted in a wide variety of species including many endemics. The lower levels contained tropical rainforest, which has largely been cleared. Higher up, this gives way to cloud forest. Much of this has also been cleared for coffee plantations, pasture for sheep and cattle, and farming.
The Mount St. Catherine Forest Reserve is the second largest declared terrestrial protected area in Grenada after the Grand Etang and Annandale Forest Reserves. Covering 934 ha within a 31.7 km (19.7 mi) boundary perimeter, its headwaters drain across seven of the largest watersheds on the island and supply important catchment basins for water distribution to Grenadians and agrarian landscapes downstream. The forest reserve encompasses the principal peak of the Mount Saint Catherine massif—the highest point on the island 840 m (2,760 ft), as well as other lushly forested ridges and lesser peaks, the highest waterfall in the country, the majority of the island's known hot springs, including the hottest geothermal spring and its most accessible geothermal bathing pool .
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Cloud forests .|