Tropical Rain Forests

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorCollege, Undergraduate July 2001

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Tropical rain forests are considered to possess more plants and animals than any other forests on earth. There is a seemingly endless array of unique species of both plants and animals. Unless you've been to a tropical rain forest, it's difficult to grasp the idea of what a rich treasure they actually are. They are only found within 25 degrees of the equator, which enhances their appeal.(Caufield) In order to grasp this concept, you will need a quick overview of where these forests are located and what exactly is in a tropical rain forest.

The term "rain forest" was first fabricated in 1898 by a German botanist named Schimper, to describe forests that grow in constantly wet conditions. Rain forests can typically grow wherever the annual rainfall is more than 80 inches and evenly spread throughout the year. Rain forests are found in temperate climates as well as tropical climates, but tropical rain forests only grow in a narrow band around the equator.

(Caufield) In order to better understand tropical rain forests, you should know that there are many different types of tropical rain forests. They can be divided into two broad categories according to elevation. There are the lowland rain forests as well as the montane rain forests. Mixed in with these dominant forests are unique forests such as mangrove forests and flooded forests.

Lowland forests are by far the biggest, but because they are so easily accessible, they have suffered the most damage due to clearance. (Usually farmers clearing out the trees for farmland) The lowland forests are generally found under 3,000 feet, but only up to 1,800 feet in western Amazonia. These forests also have the largest of all plant communities in the world.(Gallant) The canopy can reach a height of more the 150 feet and consist...