Tropical and subtropical moist broadleaf forests

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Distribution of tropical and subtropical moist broadleaf forests Biome map 01.svg
Distribution of tropical and subtropical moist broadleaf forests

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



Moist broadleaf forest in Mudumalai National Park Hidden Beauty of Nilgiris 03.jpg
Moist broadleaf forest in Mudumalai National Park
Congolian rainforest dominated by Gilbertiodendron dewevrei, near Isiro Forest dominated by Gilbertiodendron dewevrei 02.jpg
Congolian rainforest dominated by Gilbertiodendron dewevrei , near Isiro

TSMF is generally found in large, discontinuous patches centered on the equatorial belt and between the Tropic of Cancer and Tropic of Capricorn, TSMF are characterized by low variability in annual temperature and high levels of rainfall of more than 2,000 mm (79 in) annually. Forest composition is dominated by evergreen and semi-deciduous tree species. [1]

These forests are home to more species than any other terrestrial ecosystem on Earth: 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]

The 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 m (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]

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] [3] [4]

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 cm (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]


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

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Biome</span> Biogeographical unit with a particular biological community

A biome is a distinct geographical region with specific climate, vegetation, and animal life. It consists of a biological community that has formed in response to its physical environment and regional climate. Biomes may span more than one continent. A biome encompasses multiple ecosystems within its boundaries. It can also comprise a variety of habitats.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Rainforest</span> Type of forest with high rainfall

Rainforests are forests characterized by a closed and continuous tree canopy, moisture-dependent vegetation, the presence of epiphytes and lianas and the absence of wildfire. Rainforests can be generally classified as tropical rainforests or temperate rainforests, but other types have been described.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Tropical and subtropical dry broadleaf forests</span> 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 millimeters of rain per year, they have long dry seasons that last several months and vary with geographic location. These seasonal droughts have great impact on all living things in the forest.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Queensland tropical rain forests</span>

The Queensland tropical rain forests ecoregion covers a portion of the coast of Queensland in northeastern Australia and belongs to the Australasian realm. The forest contains the world's best living record of the major stages in the evolutionary history of the world's land plants, including most of the world's relict species of plants from the ancient supercontinent of Gondwana. The history of the evolution of marsupials and songbirds is also well represented.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Temperate rainforest</span> Forests in the temperate zone

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

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Tropical rainforest</span> Forest in areas with heavy rainfall in the tropics

Tropical rainforests are dense and warm rainforests that occur in tropical rainforest climate where there is no dry season – all months have an average precipitation of at least 60 mm. True rainforests are typically found between 10 degrees north and south of the equator ; they are a subset of the tropical forest biome that occurs roughly within the 28-degree latitudes. Tropical rainforests are a type of tropical moist broadleaf forest, that includes the more extensive seasonal tropical forests.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Laurel forest</span> 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.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Hawaiian tropical rainforests</span>

The Hawaiian tropical rainforests are a tropical moist broadleaf forest ecoregion in the Hawaiian Islands. They cover an area of 6,700 km2 (2,600 sq mi) in the windward lowlands and montane regions of the islands. Coastal mesic forests are found at elevations from sea level to 300 m (980 ft). Mixed mesic forests occur at elevations of 750 to 1,250 m, while wet forests are found from 1,250 to 1,700 m. Moist bogs and shrublands exist on montane plateaus and depressions. For the 28 million years of existence of the Hawaiian Islands, they have been isolated from the rest of the world by vast stretches of the Pacific Ocean, and this isolation has resulted in the evolution of an incredible diversity of endemic species, including fungi, mosses, snails, birds, and other wildlife. In the lush, moist forests high in the mountains, trees are draped with vines, orchids, ferns, and mosses. This ecoregion includes one of the world's wettest places, the slopes of Mount Waiʻaleʻale, which average 373 in (9,500 mm) of rainfall per year.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Lower Gangetic Plains moist deciduous forests</span> Ecoregion of India and Bangladesh

The Lower Gangetic Plains moist deciduous forests is a tropical and subtropical moist broadleaf forests ecoregion of Bangladesh and India. The ecoregion covers an area of 254,100 square kilometres (98,100 sq mi), comprising most of Bangladesh and the Indian states of West Bengal, Bihar and Tripura, and extending into adjacent states of Odisha, Uttar Pradesh and a tiny part of Assam, as well as adjacent western Myanmar.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Mizoram–Manipur–Kachin rain forests</span> Ecoregion in Indochina

The Mizoram–Manipur–Kachin rain forests is a subtropical moist broadleaf forest ecoregion which occupies the lower hillsides of the mountainous border region joining Bangladesh, China's Yunnan Province, India, and Myanmar. The ecoregion covers an area of 135,600 square kilometres (52,400 sq mi). Located where the biotas of the Indian Subcontinent and the Indochinese Peninsula 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.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Southern Zanzibar–Inhambane coastal forest mosaic</span> Tropical moist broadleaf forest ecoregion of eastern Africa

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.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Eastern Australian temperate forests</span> Ecoregion in Australia

The Eastern Australian temperate forests is a broad ecoregion of open forest on uplands starting from the east coast of New South Wales in the South Coast to southern Queensland, Australia. Although dry sclerophyll and wet sclerophyll eucalyptus forests predominate within this ecoregion, a number of distinguishable rainforest communities are present as well.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Arnhem Land tropical savanna</span> Ecoregion in Northern Territory, Australia

The Arnhem Land tropical savanna is a tropical and subtropical grasslands, savannas, and shrublands ecoregion in Australia's Northern Territory.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Tropical vegetation</span> Vegetation in tropical latitude

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.

Vegetation classification is the process of classifying and mapping the vegetation over an area of the Earth's surface. Vegetation classification is often performed by state based agencies as part of land use, resource and environmental management. Many different methods of vegetation classification have been used. In general, there has been a shift from structural classification used by forestry for the mapping of timber resources, to floristic community mapping for biodiversity management. Whereas older forestry-based schemes considered factors such as height, species and density of the woody canopy, floristic community mapping shifts the emphasis onto ecological factors such as climate, soil type and floristic associations. Classification mapping is usually now done using geographic information systems (GIS) software.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Seasonal tropical forest</span> Type of tropical forest

Seasonal tropical forest, also known as moist deciduous, semi-evergreen seasonal, tropical mixed or monsoon forest, typically contains a range of tree species: only some of which drop some or all of their leaves during the dry season. This tropical forest is classified under the Walter system as (i) tropical climate with high overall rainfall and (ii) having a very distinct wet season with dry season. These forests represent a range of habitats influenced by monsoon (Am) or tropical wet savannah (Aw/As) climates. Drier forests in the Aw climate zone are typically deciduous and placed in the Tropical dry forest biome: with further transitional zones (ecotones) of savannah woodland then tropical and subtropical grasslands, savannas, and shrublands.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Geoff Tracey</span> Australian rainforest ecologist

John Geoffrey Tracey was an Australian ecologist and botanist whose pioneering research work in partnership with Dr. Leonard Webb within the Rainforest Ecology Unit of the CSIRO in the 1950s led to the publication of the first systematic classification of Australian rainforest vegetation in the Journal of Ecology in 1959. By the early 80's, after decades of ongoing research, Tracey and Webb had accumulated a significant corpus of scientific evidence in support of the theory that Australian tropical rainforests had evolved in Gondwana over 100 million years ago and were not, as previously believed, relatively recent arrivals from South East Asia. This evidence, in combination with Tracey and Webb's 1975 publication of a collection of 15 vegetation maps entitled "Vegetation of the Humid Tropical Region of North Queensland", and Tracey's 1982 paper "The Vegetation of the Humid Tropical Region of North Queensland", helped to establish the scientific basis for a number of major conservation campaigns across Queensland and paved the way for the subsequent successful World Heritage nomination of the Wet Tropics of Queensland by Aila Keto in 1988.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Leonard Webb (academic)</span> Australian ecologist and ethnobotanist

Leonard James Webb was a widely awarded Australian ecologist and ethnobotanist who was the author or joint-author of over 112 scientific papers throughout the course of his professional career. His pioneering work as Senior Principal Research Scientist alongside Geoff Tracey in the CSIRO Rainforest Ecology Research Unit in the 1950s led to the publication of the first systematic classification of Australian rainforest vegetation in the Journal of Ecology in 1959.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Tropical Wet Forests (US and Mexico)</span>

The Tropical Wet Forests are a Level I ecoregion of North America designated by the Commission for Environmental Cooperation (CEC) in its North American Environmental Atlas. As the CEC consists only of Mexico, the United States, and Canada, the defined ecoregion does not extend outside these countries to Central America nor the Caribbean.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Rainforests and vine thickets</span>

Rainforests and vine thickets are a major vegetation group in Australia. It consists of temperate to tropical rainforests, monsoon forests, and vine thickets. Rainforests and vine thickets are generally found in small pockets across the eastern and northern portions of the continent, including western Tasmania, eastern New South Wales, eastern Queensland, the northern portion of the Northern Territory, and the Kimberley Region of northeastern Western Australia.


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