Average temperature is steady, changing only a few degrees during seasons Near the tropics ALL YEAR LONG Some rainforests have a WET AND DRY Season because they're further from the equator Some have no visible shift, and it RAINS ALL YEAR LONG Sun sets and rises at the same time
Adaptations Buttress Roots Drip Tip Leaves Hog soil and support, creating a mesh with others Guide heavy droplets away during rain Season + thick coating
The emergent layer trees grow high above the other layers. The top of the trees can spread an acre in width. The canopy is very dense. Tops of trees touch each other and vines wrap around their branches. Shields excessive winds and sunlight from the rest of the rainforest. Because the canopy filters out 98 percent of sunlight from the layers below, vegetation is sparse except when breaks in the canopy occur. The next layer is the understory. It is mainly composed of tree trunks and younger trees growing to reach the top. Shrubs do not receive much light and, therefore, do not grow as densely. The final layer is called the herb layer. Little grows here because of the lack of sunlight. Mainly small, soft stemmed plants like herbs grow here. The other layers protect them from the heat, driving winds, and rain. STRATIFICATION 5
Toucans have large beaks creating levers for cracking tough shells Little competition due to specific niches Animals have adapted to eat specific plants and fill a specific role in the food chains Chameleons use camouflage to sneak up on prey which is too fast for other animals Relationships (symbiotic) Bird and mammal species love to eat fruit from trees, and these trees generally need The cooperation of these animals to distribute their seedpods throughout the forest! Some are so dependent, that they will become extinct if the animal in the niche becomes extinct as well… For example, the Dodo, which helped the Calvaria tree in Mauritius to sprout it’s seeds by digesting them. After extinction of Dodos, the seeds couldn’t sprout!
100 MILLION YEARS OLD All that rain washes minerals out of the soil = ACIDIC AND NUTRIENT POOR Heat + condensed sunlight = RED CLAY PLANTS ARE SMART Store nutrients in themselves (rather than getting them from soil); So litter is very small – plants reuse plants LEACHING
HUMANS ARE NOT Insist on farming/ranching land and have to move every year or so, after stripping all nutrients from soil Shifted Cultivators establish small scale farming blamed for 60% of loss Use slash and burn in recovering areas.
Ranching is bad Meat is an important resource for exporting Fertilizers and pesticides, used to temporarily improve grass and crops, Increase acidity of soil Cattle eventually damage land so much that farmers MIGRATE Forest destroyed, land exploited, land stripped of nutrients and left barren Solution? Reduce demand for Southern-produced agribusiness crops and meat
Gold, Copper, Diamonds Mercury is displaced into rivers and lakes Land is cleared for extraction; Water is used to remove soft layer; Exposing hard bottom layer, which must be HUMAN WORKED Exploitation of local populations! Indigenous people are displaced And habitats are destroyed
Homoginization of their customs, traditions, culture and knowledge Invasion of the rainforest creates clashes with native populations! Employment!? Diseases Introduced Shifted Cultivation Forced migration
Timber trade defends itself by saying: “We use selective cutting, allowing plants to regrow in time for harvesting” BS Nature of rainforest is such that regeneration takes a long time and perfect conditions Large areas of rainforest are removed in order to gain a few logs Roads built + machinery paths + felling of trees and nearby life forms + treads on soil expose it to erosion by heavy rain, causing…
Siltation! Disrupting lives and life supports of indigenous people As well as habitats for the wildlife
Slash and Burn Farmers cut down trees and burn the undergrowth However, ash/soil is only fertile for a few years. After that, farmers move on to cut down other areas. They do not allow the vegetation to regrow (takes too much time) Famers also only grow a few types of nutrient heavy cash crops.
Less trees Less transpiration Less rainfall Disruption of rain patterns in all tropic areas Rainforest sends tropical heat to temperate forest areas If warm air flow is stopped, it would change global weather patterns Increases in Carbon Dioxide from dead plants will raise greenhouse gasses And speed up GLOBAL WARMING 28% of Oxygen is turned over in the Rainforests