Tropical and subtropical moist broadleaf forests

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General distribution of tropical moist forests 800px-tropical wet forests.png
General distribution of tropical moist forests

Tropical and subtropical moist broadleaf forest (TSMF), also known as tropical moist forest, is a tropical and subtropical forest habitat type defined by the World Wide Fund for Nature. [1] The habitat type is sometimes known as jungle.

Contents

Description

Rainforest lining a river bank, Cameroon Fluss Dja Somalomo.JPG
Rainforest lining a river bank, Cameroon

TSMF is generally found in large, discontinuous patches centered on the equatorial belt and between the Tropics of Cancer and Capricorn, TSMF are characterized by low variability in annual temperature and high levels of rainfall (>200 centimetres (79 in) annually). Forest composition is dominated by evergreen and semi-evergreen deciduous tree species. These trees number in the thousands and contribute to the highest levels of species diversity in any terrestrial major habitat type. In general, biodiversity is highest in the forest canopy. The canopy can be divided into five layers: overstory canopy with emergent crowns, a medium layer of canopy, lower canopy, shrub level, and finally understory. [1]

These forests are home to more species than any other terrestrial ecosystem: Half of the world's species may live in these forests, where a square kilometer may be home to more than 1,000 tree species. These forests are found around the world, particularly in the Indo-Malayan Archipelago, the Amazon Basin, and the African Congo Basin. [1]

A perpetually warm, wet climate makes these environments more productive than any other terrestrial environment on Earth and promotes explosive plant growth. [2] A tree here may grow over 23 metres (75 ft) in height in just 5 years. From above, the forest appears as an unending sea of green, broken only by occasional, taller "emergent" trees. These towering emergents are the realm of hornbills, toucans, and the harpy eagle. [1]

The canopy is home to many of the forest's animals, including apes and monkeys. Below the canopy, a lower understory hosts to snakes and big cats. The forest floor, relatively clear of undergrowth due to the thick canopy above, is prowled by other animals such as gorillas and deer. [1]

All levels of these forests contain an unparalleled diversity of invertebrate species, including New Guinea’s stick insects and butterflies that can grow over 30 centimetres (1 ft) in length. [1]

Many forests are being cleared for farmland, while others are subject to large-scale commercial logging. An area the size of Ireland is destroyed every few years. [1]

Types

Tropical and subtropical moist forests (TSMF) as shown within the Holdridge Life Zones classification scheme, and includes moist forests, wet forests, and rainforests. Lifezones Pengo, TSMF.svg
Tropical and subtropical moist forests (TSMF) as shown within the Holdridge Life Zones classification scheme, and includes moist forests, wet forests, and rainforests.

The biome includes several types of forests:

Notable ecoregions

A number of TSMF ecoregions are notable for their biodiversity and endemism: [1]

See also

Related Research Articles

The Global 200 is the list of ecoregions identified by WWF, the global conservation organization, as priorities for conservation. According to WWF, an ecoregion is defined as a "relatively large unit of land or water containing a characteristic set of natural communities that share a large majority of their species dynamics, and environmental conditions". So, for example, based on their levels of endemism, Madagascar gets multiple listings, ancient Lake Baikal gets one, and the North American Great Lakes get none.

Tropical and subtropical dry broadleaf forests biome

The tropical and subtropical dry broadleaf forest is a habitat type defined by the World Wide Fund for Nature and is located at tropical and subtropical latitudes. Though these forests occur in climates that are warm year-round, and may receive several hundred centimeters of rain per year, they have long dry seasons which last several months and vary with geographic location. These seasonal droughts have great impact on all living things in the forest.

Temperate rainforest Forests in the temperate zone with heavy rainfall

Temperate rainforests are coniferous or broadleaf forests that occur in the temperate zone and receive heavy rainfall.

Tropical rainforest specific ecosystem

Tropical rainforests are rainforests that occur in areas of tropical rainforest climate in which there is no dry season – all months have an average precipitation of at least 60 mm – and may also be referred to as lowland equatorial evergreen rainforest. True rainforests are typically found between 10 degrees north and south of the equator ; they are a sub-set of the tropical forest biome that occurs roughly within the 28-degree latitudes. Within the World Wildlife Fund's biome classification, tropical rainforests are a type of tropical moist broadleaf forest that also includes the more extensive seasonal tropical forests.

Madagascar lowland forests Global 200 ecoregion

The Madagascar lowland forests or Madagascar humid forests are a tropical moist broadleaf forest ecoregion found on the eastern coast of the island of Madagascar, home to a plant and animal mix that is 80 to 90% endemic, with the forests of the eastern plain being a particularly important location of this endemism. They are included in the Global 200 list of outstanding ecoregions.

Laurel forest Type of subtropical forest

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.

An evergreen forest is a forest made up of evergreen trees. They occur across a wide range of climatic zones, and include trees such as coniferous and holly in cold climates, eucalyptus, Live oak, acacias and banksia in more temperate zones, and rainforest trees in tropical zones.

KwaZulu-Cape coastal forest mosaic

The Kwazulu-Cape coastal forest mosaic is a subtropical moist broadleaf forest ecoregion of South Africa. It covers an area of 17,800 square kilometers (6,900 sq mi) in South Africa's Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal provinces.

Cordillera de la Costa montane forests

The Cordillera de la Costa montane forests (NT0117) is a montane ecoregion of the Tropical and subtropical moist broadleaf forest Biome, in the Venezuelan Coastal Range on the Caribbean Sea in northern Venezuela.

Mizoram-Manipur-Kachin rainforest ecoregion Ecoregion (WWF)

The Mizoram-Manipur-Kachin rain forests is a subtropical moist broadleaf forest ecoregion which occupies the lower hillsides of the mountainous border region joining India, Bangladesh, and Burma (Myanmar). The ecoregion covers an area of 135,600 square kilometres (52,400 sq mi). Located where the biotas of the Indian Subcontinent and Indochina meet, and in the transition between subtropical and tropical regions of Asia, the Mizoram-Manipur-Kachin rain forests are home to great biodiversity. The WWF rates the ecoregion as "Globally Outstanding" in biological distinctiveness.

Borneo lowland rain forests ecoregion of Borneo

The Borneo lowland rain forests is an ecoregion, within the tropical and subtropical moist broadleaf forests biome, of the large island of Borneo in Southeast Asia. It supports approximately 15,000 plant species, 380 bird species and several mammal species. The Borneo lowland rain forests is diminishing due to logging, hunting and conversion to commercial land use.

Southern Zanzibar-Inhambane coastal forest mosaic

The Southern Zanzibar-Inhambane coastal forest mosaic, also known as the Southern Swahili coastal forests and woodlands, is a tropical moist broadleaf forest ecoregion of eastern Africa. It is a southern variation of Northern Zanzibar-Inhambane coastal forest mosaic. The ecoregion supports habitats of forest, savanna and swamps. The southern portion of the ecoregion is not as well studied due to the 1977-1992 civil war in Mozambique.

The Isthmian-Atlantic moist forests (NT0129) are a Central American tropical moist broadleaf forest ecoregion located in Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Panama.

Tropical vegetation Vegetation in tropical latitudes

Tropical vegetation is any vegetation in tropical latitudes. Plant life that occurs in climates that are warm year-round is in general more biologically diverse that in other latitudes. Some tropical areas may receive abundant rain the whole year round, but others have long dry seasons which last several months and may vary in length and intensity with geographic location. These seasonal droughts have great impact on the vegetation, such as in the Madagascar spiny forests. Rainforest vegetation is categorized by five layers. The top layer being the upper tree layer. Here you will find the largest and widest trees in all the forest. These trees tend to have very large canopy's so they can be fully exposed to sunlight. A layer below that is the middle tree layer. Here you will find more compact trees and vegetation. These trees tend to be more skinny as they are trying to gain any sunlight they can. The third layer is the lower tree area. These trees tend to be around five to ten meters high and tightly compacted. The trees found in the third layer are young trees trying to grow into the larger canopy trees. The fourth layer is the shrub layer beneath the tree canopy. This layer is mainly populated by sapling trees, shrubs, and seedlings. The fifth and final layer is the herb layer which is the forest floor. The forest floor is mainly bare except for various plants, mosses, and ferns. The forest floor is much more dense than above because of little sunlight and air movement.

Napo moist forests

The Napo moist forests (NT0142) is an ecoregion in the western Amazon rainforest of Colombia, Ecuador and Peru.

Guineo-Congolian region Biogeographical region in Africa

The Guineo-Congolian region is a biogeographical region in Africa straddling the Equator and stretching from the Atlantic Ocean through the Congo Basin to the Congo / Nile divide in Rwanda and Burundi. Formerly, this region was largely covered in rain forest, on both well-drained sites and in swamp forests, but little undisturbed primary forest now remains, having been replaced in many areas by savanna and secondary-growth forest.

The Peninsular Malaysian rain forests is an ecoregion on Malay Peninsula and adjacent islands. It is in the tropical and subtropical moist broadleaf forests biome.

Peninsular Malaysian montane rain forests terrestrial ecoregion in the Malay Peninsula

The Peninsular Malaysian montane rain forests is an ecoregion on Malay Peninsula. It occupies the mountainous spine of the peninsula in Malaysia and southernmost Thailand. It is in the tropical and subtropical moist broadleaf forests biome.

The Irrawaddy moist deciduous forests is a tropical moist broadleaf forest ecoregion in central Myanmar. The ecoregion occupies the central basin of the Irrawaddy River and the lower basin of the Salween River. The ecoregion is characterized by forests of tall trees which drop their leaves in the dry season. Most of the ecoregion's forests have been converted to agriculture.

The Myanmar coastal rain forests is a tropical moist broadleaf forest ecoregion in Myanmar. The ecoregion occupies Myanmar's coastal lowlands along the Bay of Bengal and Andaman Sea.

References

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