Tropical Rain Forests: An Ecological and Biogeographical Comparison

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Forest frugivores. Fruit size and body size. Flower visitors. Birds of prey. Night birds.

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Comparison of bird communities across continents. Fruit- and nectar-feeding bats. Flying behavior. Foraging behavior. Bats as pollinators and seed dispersal agents. Gliding vertebrates. Pacific islands.

Tropical Rain Forests. An Ecological And Biogeographical Comparison

Evolution on islands. Indian Ocean islands. Atlantic islands. Caribbean islands. Natural disasters. Human impacts. Different forests, different threats.

Tropical Rain Forest Ecosystems, Volume 14B

The major threats. The forces behind the threats. Global climate change. Saving the many rain forests. I enjoyed it, I learned from it and I recommend it.


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Stem heights varied as in mature tropical forest ecosystems; with the middle stratum recording the highest proportion of trees Its basal area, biomass and relative density were similar with other tropical ecosystems and equally had its highest species contribution from Leguminosae as in some other ecosystems as well. The ecosystem was seen to have features and characteristics that were common and similar with other tropical forest ecosystems, apart from its low diversity.

Temperate and Tropical Rainforests

Ensuring that effective and appropriate forest-tree species conservation measures are enhanced across the landscape are vital steps to securing the already existing few species and preventing species extinction across the ecosystem. Related Articles:. Date: January 28, Date: March 17, Date: February 25, Tropical rainforest , also spelled tropical rain forest , luxuriant forest found in wet tropical uplands and lowlands around the Equator.

This article covers only the richest of rainforests—the tropical rainforests of the ever-wet tropics.

Tropical rainforests represent the oldest major vegetation type still present on the terrestrial Earth. Like all vegetation, however, that of the rainforest continues to evolve and change, so modern tropical rainforests are not identical with rainforests of the geologic past. Tropical rainforests grow mainly in three regions: the Malesian botanical subkingdom, which extends from Myanmar Burma to Fiji and includes the whole of Thailand , Malaysia , Indonesia , the Philippines , Papua New Guinea , the Solomon Islands , and Vanuatu and parts of Indochina and tropical Australia ; tropical South and Central America , especially the Amazon basin ; and West and Central Africa see biogeographic region.

Smaller areas of tropical rainforest occur elsewhere in the tropics wherever climate is suitable. The principal areas of tropical deciduous forest or monsoon forests are in India, the Myanmar— Vietnam —southern coastal China region, and eastern Brazil , with smaller areas in South and Central America north of the Equator , the West Indies , southeastern Africa, and northern Australia.

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The flowering plants angiosperms first evolved and diversified during the Cretaceous Period about million years ago, during which time global climatic conditions were warmer and wetter than those of the present. Only later—during the middle of the Paleogene Period , about 40 million years ago—did cooler, drier climates develop, leading to the development across large areas of other vegetation types.

Biogeographical and Ecological Studies

It is no surprise, therefore, to find the greatest diversity of flowering plants today in the tropical rainforests where they first evolved. Of particular interest is the fact that the majority of flowering plants displaying the most primitive characteristics are found in rainforests especially tropical rainforests in parts of the Southern Hemisphere, particularly South America , northern Australia and adjacent regions of Southeast Asia , and some larger South Pacific islands.

Of the 13 angiosperm families generally recognized as the most primitive, all but two— Magnoliaceae and Winteraceae —are overwhelmingly tropical in their present distribution. Three families—Illiciaceae, Magnoliaceae, and Schisandraceae—are found predominantly in Northern Hemisphere rainforests. Five families—Amborellaceae, Austrobaileyaceae, Degeneriaceae, Eupomatiaceae, and Himantandraceae—are restricted to rainforests in the tropical Australasian region. This has led some authorities to suggest that the original cradle of angiosperm evolution might lie in Gondwanaland , a supercontinent of the Southern Hemisphere thought to have existed in the Mesozoic Era to 66 million years ago and consisted of Africa, South America, Australia, peninsular India, and Antarctica.


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An alternative explanation for this geographic pattern is that in the Southern Hemisphere, especially on islands, there are more refugia—i. The first angiosperms are thought to have been massive, woody plants appropriate for a rainforest habitat. Most of the smaller, more delicate plants that are so widespread in the world today evolved later, ultimately from tropical rainforest ancestors.

While it is possible that even earlier forms existed that await discovery, the oldest angiosperm fossils — leaves , wood, fruits , and flowers derived from trees—support the view that the earliest angiosperms were rainforest trees. Further evidence comes from the growth forms of the most primitive surviving angiosperms: all 13 of the most primitive angiosperm families consist of woody plants, most of which are large trees.