Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Tropical Rainforest Ecosystems

by Anton Antonio
July 5, 2015

What is a tropical rainforest ecosystem?  To effectively answer this question, two elements have to be described or explained: (a) the tropical rainforest; and, (b) the ecosystem.  Let’s begin by stating that these terms are closely related.

A tropical rainforest is an ecosystem type that occurs more or less within the latitudes of 28 degrees north or south of the equator.  This is the equatorial zone between the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn.  The tropical rainforest ecosystem experiences high average temperatures and a significant amount of rainfall.  Tropical rainforests are warm (24 to 31 degrees centigrade throughout the year) simply because they are near the equator and they receive at least 2,000 to 2,500 millimeters of rain per year.  They have a distinct dry season from the end of December until early April.  During this period, they still receive about 300 millimeters of rain.  Tropical forests are a type of forest found in areas with high regular rainfall and no more than two months of low rainfall; and consisting of a completely closed canopy of trees that prevents the penetration of sunlight to the ground and discourages ground-cover growth.

Rainforests cover less than 7 percent of the Earth’s surface, but they are estimated to contain about half of the plant and animal species on the planet. Since the rainforest is home to so many plant and animal species, the level of biodiversity may be higher in rainforests than in any other place on Earth.  A tropical forest is dominated by hardwood species belonging to Family Dipterocarpaceae, Leguminosae.  Tropical forest can be found in three continents: (a) Southeast Asia including the Philippines; (b) Tropical Africa; and, (c) Central and South America particularly the basis of the Amazon River.

On the other hand, an ecosystem is a community of living organisms in conjunction with the non-living components of their environment.  These biotic and abiotic (meaning: living and non-living) components are regarded as linked together through nutrient cycles and energy flows.  Ecosystems are defined by the network of interactions among organisms, and between organisms and their environment.  This is but one of the many unique life dynamics of tropical rainforest ecosystems.

Just my little thoughts…

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Antonio, A. C., (2015).  “Keywords in the Study of Ecology”.  Retrieved on July 5, 2015 from http://antonantonio.blogspot.com/2015/01/keywords-in-study-of-ecology.html

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