A cloud forest, also called a water forest, primas forest, or tropical montane cloud forest (TMCF), 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.
Other moss forests include Black Spruce/Feathermoss climax forest, with a moderately dense canopy and a forest floor of feathermosses including Hylocomium splendens , Pleurozium schreberi and Ptilium crista-castrensis .These weft-form mosses grow in boreal moss forests, and are shaped to allow the needles to fall into them rather than covering them, so they grow over the needles.
The presence of cloud forests is dependent on local climate (which is affected by the distance to the sea), the exposition and the latitude (from 23°N to 25°S), and the elevation (which varies from 500 m to 4000 m above sea level). Typically, there is a relatively small band of elevation 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.
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.
Only 1% of the global woodland consists of cloud forests.They previously comprised an estimated 11% of all tropical forests in the 1970s. A total of around 736 cloud forest sites have been identified in 59 countries by the World Conservation Monitoring Centre, with 327 of them legally protected areas as of 2002. Important areas of cloud forest are in Central and South America (mainly Venezuela, Honduras, Mexico, Ecuador, and Colombia), East and Central Africa, India, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Hawaii, 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.
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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. Due to a relatively mild climate and summer fog, the San Francisco Botanical Garden has three outdoor cloud forest collections, including a 2-acre Mesoamerican Cloud Forest established in 1985.
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.
Mount Tambuyukon or Tamboyukon is a mountain located at the West Coast Division of Sabah, Malaysia. It is considered as the third highest mountain in the country with height at 2,579 metres (8,461 ft), lying north of the highest Mount Kinabalu.
The Usambara Mountains of northeastern Tanzania in tropical East Africa, comprise the easternmost ranges of the Eastern Arc Mountains. The ranges of approximately 90 kilometres (56 mi) long and about half that wide, are situated in the Lushoto District of the Tanga Region. They were formed nearly two million years ago by faulting and uplifting, and are composed of Precambrian metamorphic rocks. They are split into two sub-ranges; the West Usambaras being higher than the East Usambaras, which are nearer the coast and receive more rainfall.
The Albertine Rift is the western branch of the East African Rift, covering parts of Uganda, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Rwanda, Burundi and Tanzania. It extends from the northern end of Lake Albert to the southern end of Lake Tanganyika. The geographical term includes the valley and the surrounding mountains.
Dwarf forest, elfin forest, or pygmy forest is an uncommon 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, while the largest dwarf forest is found in the Philippines.
The Cameroon line is a 1,600 km (990 mi) chain of volcanoes. It includes islands in the Gulf of Guinea and mountains that extend along the border region of eastern Nigeria and the Ambazonian region of Cameroon, from Mount Cameroon on the Gulf of Guinea north and east towards Lake Chad. The islands, which span the equator, have tropical climates and are home to many unique plant and bird species. The mainland mountain regions are much cooler than the surrounding lowlands, and also contain unique and ecologically important environments.
The eyebrowed jungle flycatcher is a species of bird in the Old World flycatcher family Muscicapidae. It is endemic to the island of Borneo. The natural habitat of the eyebrowed jungle flycatcher is subtropical or tropical moist montane forests. It builds an open, mossy cup nest, generally in epiphytes or spiny palms.
Altitudinal zonation in mountainous regions describes the natural layering of ecosystems that occurs at distinct elevations due to varying environmental conditions. Temperature, humidity, soil composition, and solar radiation are important factors in determining altitudinal zones, which consequently support different vegetation and animal species. Altitudinal zonation was first hypothesized by geographer Alexander von Humboldt who noticed that temperature drops with increasing elevation. Zonation also occurs in intertidal and marine environments, as well as on shorelines and in wetlands. Scientist C. Hart Merriam observed that changes in vegetation and animals in altitudinal zones map onto changes expected with increased latitude in his concept of life zones. Today, altitudinal zonation represents a core concept in mountain research.
The Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve is a Costa Rican reserve located along the Cordillera de Tilarán within the Puntarenas and Alajuela provinces. Named after the nearby town of Monteverde and founded in 1972, the Reserve consists of over 10,500 hectares of cloud forest, the reserve is visited by roughly 70,000 visitors a year. The Reserve consists of 6 ecological zones, 90% of which are virgin forest. A high biodiversity, consisting of over 2,500 plant species, 100 species of mammals, 400 bird species, 120 reptilian and amphibian species, and thousands of insects, has drawn both scientists and tourists alike.
Ndian is a department of Southwest Region in Cameroon. It is located in the humid tropical rainforest zone about 650 km (400 mi) southeast of Yaoundé, the capital.
African rosewood is a common name for several plants and may refer to:
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.
The Rumpi hills are an undulating mountain range with its highest peak, Mount Rata about 1,800 m (5,900 ft) located between the villages of Dikome Balue and Mofako Balue, Ndian division in the Southwest region of Cameroon. The hills are situated at 4°50’N 9°07’E, cutting across four local councils, with the eastern slopes in Dikome Balue, southern slopes in Ekondo Titi, western slopes in Mundemba, and northern slopes in Toko local councils respectively. These hills are located about 80 km (50 mi) north of Mount Cameroon; about 50 km (31 mi) west of the Bakossi Mountains and some 15 km (9.3 mi) southeast of the Korup National Park.
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 are found on the slopes of mountains. The alpine climate in these regions strongly affect the ecosystem because temperatures fall as elevation increases, causing the ecosystem to stratify. Dense montane forests are common at moderate elevations, due to moderate temperatures and high rainfall. At higher elevations, the climate is harsher, with lower temperatures and higher winds, preventing the growth of trees and causing the plant community to transition to montane grasslands, shrublands or alpine 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.
Álvaro José Negret was a Colombian scientist and author specializing in ornithology and conservation. Negret as a boy collected birds for the Natural History Museum of the University of Cauca in Popayán. As an undergraduate Negret co-founded the Natural History Museum at the University of Caldas before completing a Master's degree in Ecology and Management of Natural Resources at the University of Brasília in Brazil. Upon his return to Colombia Negret became a professor at the University of Cauca and Director of its Natural History Museum from 1987–98. He was married to geologist Patricia Torres.
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.
The Sierra de Luquillo is a mountain range located in the northeastern part of Puerto Rico. Also known as the Luquillo Mountains, these are steep-sided, densely-forested mountains rising to elevations of around 1,075 m (3,527 ft), the highest point being the summit of El Toro, closely followed by that of Pico El Yunque.
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Tropical hydrology and cloud forests project