Tropical forests are all forests that grow in tropical and subtropical regions.
This form of vegetation is characteristic of environments where the temperature (about 23°C) and the photoperiod (nearly 12 hours) are relatively stable. In these regions, however, precipitation is more variable,both in space and time. Precipitation is therefore the principal factor of variation in plant formations.
Different types of tropical forest
Depending on precipitation and temperature, different types of tropical forests may develop.
- When precipitation is rare, dry tropical forests develop. These dry forests are essentially composed of prickly plants and succulent plants.
- When a dry season alternates with a wet season, a deciduous tropical forest covers the land. Trees then generally lose their leaves during the dry season.
- When this dry season is very short, such as along the Equator, trees are evergreen. They then form a tropical moist forest, which is also called a jungle.
- Locally, in the coolest environments where mist is likely to form, ombrophile tropical forests, also called rainforests, occur.
- In other places, with more humidity and at lower altitudes, flooded forests have their feet in the water: these include mangroves, riparian forests and gallery-forests (riparian forests in which branches conceal the watercourse).
These environments are very rich in plant as well as animal biodiversity.
A dry tropical forest in Honduras. © Lon&Queta CC by-nc-sa 2.0
Tropical forest - 1 Photo