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Tropical Rainforest + Temperate RainforestForests existed once all over Earth
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Rain-forests are extremely important in the ecology of the Earth:
Rain-forests stabilize Earth climate!
Rain-forests store water and generate much of the Earth's oxygen.
Rain forest plants are very important to people in providing ingredients for new drugs that fight disease and illness.
The map shows locations of rainforests
The future of Earth's rain forest is a puzzle awaiting completion, but it's clear that conservation is the keystone to any sustainable solution.
The forest supports a complex network of human interests – fishermen and Native groups, loggers and conservationists.
These groups all depend on a healthy forest for survival and have shelved old conflicts to try to piece this puzzle together. Because, as tract-by-tract the old-growth disappeared, we all found ourselves asking:
"What will be my future when there is no forest left?"
We all play a part in the conservation of tropical forests.
The more you know the better you understand the problems of declining tropical forests. Share your knowledge with others and encourage them to become involved.
This map shows the location of the
biggest rainforest on Earth:
The Amazon rainforest in Brazil
Citizen diplomacy plays an important role
in persuading governments to limit environmental degradation.
Various groups worldwide have joined hands
to influence global policies.
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1) Ask where the meat of your hamburgers comes from.
If the stock came from the rainforests of Central or South America don't buy it.
2) Avoid purchasing hardwoods that come from the rain-forest such as mahogany or rosewood.
3) Lobby legislatures to restrain government agencies and lending institutions that invest in harmful development of the tropics.
It will take a great deal of planting trees, time to watch them grow and replace what we have already lost, but every seedling helps.
Probably the most important tool for saving the rainforest is helping developing countries achieve sustainable growth.
We don't need to control these nations, but we do need to communicate to the native peoples of the rainforest how important their lands are.
Infra-red photo from space 1992 - rainforest is red
Infra-red photo from space 2006 - rain-forest is red
Can you see how big deforestation is?
RAINFOREST - people hear this word
they think of a lush jungle,
green plants, colorful birds,
high humidity, and heavy rainfall
they think of tropical rain-forests.
These forests are found in
Southeast Asia, Africa, South America,
and Central America
On the map you can see that
there is a different kind of rainforest,
named the "temperate rain-forest"
Temperate rain-forests are formed because the coastal mountain ranges
trap the air masses full of moisture that rise from the oceans.
As this moisture condenses into rain it creates lush rainforests with trees like the Coastal Redwood in California that grow to enormous sizes and a biomass that exceeds that of the tropical rain-forests.
What is a temperate rainforest?
Temperate rain-forests receive from 1,500 to 5,000 millimeters = 60 to 200 inches of rain a year.
In California, the rainfall is closer to the lower end of the range.
The climate is mild (temperate)because the same mountains that block the ocean moisture help protect the rainforest from extreme weather.
There are two seasons in the temperate rainforest: one long, wet season where the temperatures rarely drop to freezing and one short dry season when the temperatures rarely exceed 80.
Even in the dry season the climate is cool and cloud-covered with fog providing the necessary moisture to nourish the rainforest.
Fog provides about 175-3,000 millimeters = 7-12 inches of rain each summer.
Temperate rainforests cover only 75 million acres of Earth.
Two-thirds of all temperate rainforests are in the Pacific Northwest. The trees grow to enormous sizes since, the winters are mild and the rain is abundant.
Different epiphytes are seen in the temperate rainforests.
Epiphytes are plants that grow on other plants.
Other trees have ferns, lichen, and mosses hanging from their branches.
There is a fine mist in the air. The forest is always damp with water dripping from the tree branches and sunlight filtering through the canopy onto the forest floor.
What is the structure of the
Like the tropical rain-forest, the
temperate rain forest is divided into layers.
The topmost layer is called the canopy,
which is dominated by tall evergreen
conifers = trees that produce cones with seeds.
Because of the heavy rain and mild temperatures,
these conifers enjoy maximum year-round growth
and reach record heights and girth.
Coastal redwood giants in California have
reached heights of over 300 feet = the height of a 30 story building!
Four additional conifers grow in the rainforest.
Second tallest is the Douglas Fir up to 280 feet,
followed by Sitka Spruce 230 feet,
Western Red Cedar 200 feet, and Western Hemlock 130 feet.
Some of these trees may be up to 500 to 1000 years old.
The trunks are often more than 100 feet around!
Beneath the canopy is the under-story.
In this layer are found small shade-loving trees, such as dogwood (beautiful pink /white flowers, and vine maples.
Ferns, salal, and berry shrubs grow in the filtered sunlight beneath the small trees.
On the forest floor, the lowest layer, there is a thick covering of low growing lichens, mosses, small plants, oxalis, native flowers and grasses.
The ground is covered with conifer needles, leaves, branches, twigs, and fallen trees. Mosses and algae cover the rocks, tree trunks, and branches. Everything feels rich and moist and the forest floor show all shades of green.
In this shady, rich environment many varieties of mushrooms, toadstools, and other fungi grow very well.
A lot of dead organic material provides the soil with full nutrients broken down by de-composers such as bacteria and insects.
The temperatures are cool, so organic material is broken down much more slowly than in the tropical rain forest.
When we measure the biomass = living things we find in each square yard of this forest, more than anywhere else on Earth.
A big Sitka Spruce) dies and falls onto the forest floor.
Small seedlings take root on the horizontal trunk and it becomes a "nurse log".
We call them nurse logs, because young trees grow on the top mossy surface of the fallen trees.
Fallen logs make a moist, soggy, wet habitat for mosses, ferns, lichens, new plants and tree seedlings.
Colonnades (trees standing in a row) may form after the nurse log has completely disintegrated.
Trees can also be found standing on “stilts” because they first sprouted on stumps of dead trees and as they grew over time, the stumps decayed, leaving the tree standing only on the roots.
Most of the animals in the temperate rainforest live on or near the forest floor.
Understory and canopy provide protection from the wind and rain. A lot of food is found there.
Berries and cones drop with nutrient rich seeds, which are eaten by birds and small animals such as voles (mouse-like creatures) and chipmunks.
Insects live in the mossy floor and tree bark. Birds and amphibians feed on the insects.
Many amphibians live in the streams and ponds and salmon are important consumers.|
Other big animals in the temperate rainforest are deer, black bears and cougars.
How does a temperate rainforest compare to a tropical rainforest?
The differences in temperature and rainfall, make the temperate and the tropical rain-forests very different.
The trees, the plants, the structure of the forest, the animals that live there, and even the type of soil are so different that you recognize immediately, in which forest you were.
In a lush tropical rainforest you see very different types of trees and plants, more colors, more animal sounds.
Over 1,100 species of plants are found in some tropical rainforests!
Big leafy trees and plants, mainly palms, bamboo and tree ferns. Branches touch and leaves seem to fill every space in the canopy.
Vines, such as the Strangler Fig, hang down from the trees.
Insects are everywhere and there are colorful fruits, and many different birds (parrots).
Most of the animals live in the canopy far above the forest floor. Monkeys, jaguars, bats, birds and all colors and shades and large poisonous snakes.
The forest would be teeming with the movement and sounds of life.
Temperature is always be warm, never cool.
A temperate rainforest is never hot, temperatures can be warm in the summer, but most of the time it is cool and wet.
Giant redwood trees mixed with only 3 or 4 other species of tall conifer trees.
The understory shows leafy, delicate trees and shrubs such as dogwoods and maples. The forest floor is a thick layer of mosses and other low-growing plants with nurse logs nurturing young plants.
Most of the animals of this forest live on the forest floor, because the soil is rich, there is lots of food, and the tall trees provide protection from the sun, wind, and rain above.
Grizzlies, bear or cougar, owls or woodpeckers, raccoons and chipmunks, grazing deer or elk are roaming here, but never a poisonous snake!
Temperate rain forests are quiet and peaceful with sunlight filtering down in beautiful beams from the canopy above.
With billions of overlapping leaves, stretching out,|
collecting sunlight and rain, the canopies of
Earth's rainforests act like giant umbrellas
- catching rain before it has a chance to reach the forest floor.
These arboreal umbrellas intercept almost 2 trillion gallons of rain each year.
The rain stays on the leaves before evaporating
back into the atmosphere.
The numbers are calculate by using
NASA satellite photos of precipitation and forest cover.
Forests made up of needle-leaf trees captured 22 % of the rainfall.
Broad-leaf deciduous forests intercept less, about 19 %.
Evergreen forests caught only 13 %.
Needle-leaf forests capture the most water, their structure can hold the most rain before it is hitting the ground.
In Texas studies about the Texas "cedar" = juniperus came to the same result.
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