8 junio, 2024

Humid forest: what it is, characteristics, climate, flora, fauna, location

We explain what are the humid forests, their characteristics, where they are, their flora, fauna and climate.

What is the humid jungle?

The wet jungle It is the vegetation of the intertropical zone in which high rainfall promotes the dominance of trees with abundant plants climbing or living on them. The form that the vegetation adopts in these jungles is complex, with 4 to 5 tree heights, including some very tall ones that protrude from the jungle roof.

In these ecosystems the nutrients are concentrated in the vegetation and in the layer of fallen leaves, being scarce in the soils that are relatively shallow. While the relief in which the humid forests develop ranges from plains, valleys and mountainous areas.

The humid forests are located in the intertropical zone of the planet, which determines its high availability of water and its relatively high temperatures, moderated only by altitude.

The humid forest is one of the ecosystems with the greatest biological diversity in the world, given its climatic conditions. It is enough to point out that an example of a humid forest is the Amazon jungle, with a great diversity of life.

Characteristics of humid forests

This type of jungle has a number of characteristics:

Terrestrial and aquatic environment

In the largest humid forests, such as the Amazon and the Congo, the terrestrial environment is closely combined with the aquatic environment. They are jungles crossed by large rivers with highly diversified basins that are periodically flooded, forming a complex system of dry land areas and swamps.

Biodiversity and food webs

Rainforests are the habitat of most of the world’s terrestrial and freshwater species. These make up complex food webs, with a high efficiency in the use of matter and energy.

plant structure

Humid forests are characterized by a complex arrangement of plant components. There are usually several layers of trees, plus a lower part with young trees, grasses and shrubs.

There can be up to 4 or 5 tree heights, from the relatively short ones with 4 to 12 meters, to the emergent trees with more than 60 meters. Emergent trees are giants that protrude sporadically from the canopy or roof of continuous treetops in the jungle.

Soil and nutrient cycle

The soils of the humid forests are not very fertile, since almost all the nutrients are found in living beings, especially in the mass of trees and their fallen leaves. Decomposers such as fungi and bacteria process them and the roots absorb them again, forming a cycle.

mycorrhizae

In humid jungles, as in most of the jungles and forests on the planet, an underground system of fungi is formed that form extensive filaments or threads. These fungi connect with the roots of the trees, creating a gigantic system through which nutrients circulate between the trees of the jungle.

Climate of humid forests

The humid jungle has a hot and humid tropical climate, with rainfall ranging from 1,500 mm to more than 9,000 mm per year. While temperatures are between 23 and 29 ° C average, depending on the altitude above sea level.

Therefore, in the humid plain forests, such as the Amazon jungle, the highest temperatures occur. While in the humid mountain forests the temperatures tend to be more moderate.

An element typical of the humid jungle is the high humidity in the air, which can reach more than 80%. This is due to both the high rainfall (rain) and the abundant vegetation that is generated, which forms its own climate inside the jungle.

The lower part of the humid forest is shady and warm, normally provided with water courses, very frequently with large rivers.

Location in the world of humid jungles

The humid forests develop in the intertropical strip, that is, between the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn, especially near the equator. They are located in Central and South America, sub-Saharan Africa, Asia and Oceania.

In America they range from southern Mexico to northern Argentina and Paraguay. While in Africa they occupy especially the Congo River basin, areas of eastern Africa and the island of Madagascar.

In Asia they are found in southern Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, and Southeast Asia, including Indonesia and the Philippines. While in Oceania there are humid jungles in New Guinea, New Zealand and northeastern Australia.

Flora

Most of the species of flowering plants inhabit the humid forests of the planet. Among the most common families of plants in the humid forests are Moraceae, legumes, Lecithydaceae, palms, as well as ferns.

Within the Moraceae family, the fig trees of the genus Ficus they are very frequent. just like him ficus benghalensis in Africa, the Ficus watkinsiana in Australia and the ficus amazonica In America.

Among the lecithydaceae, the taparón (couroupita guianensis) and the monkey coconut (Lecythis ollaria) of the American humid forests. While there are numerous species of palms, such as the Palma Bangalow or Palma Rey (Archontophoenix cunningamiana) in Australian rainforests.

Like the wax palm of Quindío in America (Ceroxylon quindiuense) and African oil palm (Elaeis guineensis). Among the plants that climb the trees or live on them are various herbs, vines and lianas of the araceae, orchids, legumes and ferns.

Fauna

A high proportion of the world’s fauna inhabits these ecosystems, especially regarding insects, arachnids, amphibians, birds and freshwater fish. Likewise, mammals and reptiles are abundant.

Among the insects are large ants such as the bullet ant or 24 (paraponera clavata). While among the arachnids there are huge spiders such as the Goliath tarantula or aviary tarantula (Theraphosa blondi).

America

The humid forests of America are the habitat of animals such as the jaguar (panthera onca) and the tapir or tapir (Tapirus spp.). In addition to various species of peccaries or mountain pigs (family Tayassuidae).

Similarly, large birds of prey such as the harpy eagle (harpy harpyja) and colorful frugivorous macaws (now spp.) and toucans (family Ramphastidae).

While among reptiles there are various species of lizards, turtles, snakes and alligators. Among the latter, the yacaré caiman (yacare caiman) and the alligator (melanosuchus niger). Poison dart frogs (family Dendrobatidae) abound among amphibians.

Africa

In the humid African forests the jungle elephant (Loxodonta cyclotis), as well as the great primate relatives of humans, chimpanzees (Bread spp.) and gorillas (Gorilla spp.). Like large predators such as the leopard (Panthera pardus) and large ungulates such as the okapi (okapia johnstoni).

While among the birds are the white-bellied kingfisher (Alcedo leucogaster), the spotted ibis (rare Bostrychia) and the gray-faced hornbill (Bycanistes subcylindricus).

Asia

In the humid forests of Asia is found the tiger (panthera tigris), the Indochinese leopard (Panthera pardus delacouri) and the orangutan (Put spp.). As well as a great diversity of birds, among them the Indochina barbet or Annam barbet (Psilopogon annamensis) and the winged babbler (Trochalopteron ngoclinhense).

Oceania

In the humid forests of this part of the world, birds such as cassowaries (casuarius spp.) and birds of paradise (family Paradisaeidae). Like bush turkeys (lathami reading) and rainbow parrots (Trichoglossus haematodus).

As well as marsupials such as the tree kangaroo (Dendrolagus goodfellowi), flying squirrels (Petaurus breviceps) and crustaceans such as the red and blue lobster (Euastacus sulcatus).

References

Calow, P. (Ed.) (1998). The encyclopedia of ecology and environmental management.
Estes, RD (2012). The Behavior Guide to African Mammals, including Hoofed Mammals, Carnivores, Primates, 20th Anniversary Edition. University of California Press.
Purves, WK, Sadava, D., Orians, GH and Heller, HC (2001). Life. The science of biology.
World Wild Life (Viewed on February 11, 2021). Tropical and subtropical moist broadleaf forests. Taken from: worldwildlife.org/biomes

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