external image temperate+forest+map.jpg

  • Temperature: average 75 degrees F and a high of 86 degrees F
  • Precipitation: 2-5 feet a year
  • Humidity: 60-80%

All Locations:
  • Abundant in the areas outside of the Tropic of Cancer/Capricorn zones
  • Eastern half of North America
  • Central Europe
  • Southwest Russia
  • Japan
  • Eastern China
  • Some in New Zealand/Australia
  • 5 different zones
  • Tree Stratum Zone is made up of oak, beech, maple, chestnut, hickory, and walnut trees. This zone has height ranges between 60 feet and 100 feet.
  • The small tree and sapling zone is the second zone. This zone has young, and short trees.
  • The third zone is called the shrub zone. Some of the shrubs in this zone are rhododendrons, azaleas, mountain laurel, and huckleberries.
  • The Herb zone is the fourth zone. It contains short plants such as herbal plants.
  • The final zone is the Ground zone. It contains club and tree mosses.
Plant adaptations:
  • The plants have adapted to the forests by leaning toward the sun. Soaking up the nutrients in the ground is also a way of adaptation.
    • Guelder Rose
    • Lady Fern
external image lady_fern.jpg
Animal Adaptations:
  • The animals adapt to the climate by hibernating in the winter and living off the land in the other three seasons
    • Black Bears
    • Squirrels
    • Brown Bears
    • The abundant plant life has made many animals plant-eaters or omnivores.
    • Most of the animals are camouflaged to look like the ground
      • Ants
      • Newts
      • Rabbits
  • Animals/Plants and humans endure a lot of competition due to the fertile soil. Many deciduous forests have been destroyed for agricultural purposes.
  • Mice Raccoons and Robins fight for prey
  • Porcupines and skunks must control the resources in their habitat so neither species will starve

Tropical rainforests cover 6% of the Earth’s land surface. They produce 40% of the Earth’s oxygen. Very short nutrient cycle, soil is not fertile. 70 % of the plants in the rainforests are trees.


  • In an average year in a tropical rain forest, the climate is very humid because of all the rainfall
  • About 250 cm per year
  • The rain forest has lots of rain because it is very hot and wet. This climate is found near the equator (more direct sunlight).
  • The sun warms the land and sea and the water evaporates into the air. The warm air can hold a lot of water vapor. As the air rises, it cools, which means condensation occurs more here than in most other areas (more rain).
  • Average temperature: 77 degrees F. never drops below 64 degrees F

All Location:
  • Central America in the Amazon river basin.
  • Africa - Zaire basin, with a small area in West Africa; also eastern Madagascar.
  • Indo-Malaysia - west coast of India, Assam, Southeast Asia, New Guinea and Queensland, Australia.

  • Trees are branchless until they hit about 100 feet because it is useless for branches to grow in areas where there is little light.
  • Bark is smooth and thin; no need for thick bark to prevent water loss or protect from freezing temperatures
  • 4 layers of trees: emergent (100-230 feet in the air, are spread widely apart, have shallow root system, pointed leaves because they are exposed to drying winds) , upper canopy (60-130 feet high, most animals are found here because of the plethora of food, contain drip spouts), understory or lower canopy (60 foot trees, trunks of canopy trees, small trees, and shrubs, little air movement so high humidity), and forest floor (very shaded, so much so that little life can be sustained, top soil is very thin and of poor quality, a lot of decomposers (fungi, worms,etc.))
Plant adaptations:
  • Since the plants get 80 inches of rainfall a year, they must shed water so that the weight doesn’t break off branches
  • Leaves have drip tips and grooved leaves and oil coatings
  • Leaves on the forest floor are very large in order to absorb as much sunlight as possible (forest floor only gets 1% of light)
  • Some trees have leaf stalks to turn as the sun turns to absorb light
Animal adaptations:
  • Monkeys grow prehensile tails-tails that can grasp and hold objects, such as tree trunks/branches
  • Diets are based heavily on fruit (only food source found in the high canopy)
  • Camouflaged insects (stick bugs) are hidden from predators.
  • For light and nutrients
  • Vines and epiphytes (plants that grow on trees but are not parasitic) attach themselves onto trees and compete for light. The vine will gorw over the tree’s leaves, causing the host tree to die and decompose.
  • The heavy rains dissolve the little amount of nutrients found in the soil, so plants, especially trees, need to find and utilize the scarce amount of nutrients efficiently.
  • In the heat of the tropics leaves decompose quickly and the rain threatens to carry away the nutrients. To stop this, a thick root mat develops in tropical forests. Root maps are right on the surface and can quickly decompose any matter directly into the trees’ systems. Because of these mats, nutrients never really enter the mineral soil.

  • A sloth’s fur is greenish-brown due to the algae that grows on it. The algae helps hide the sloth in the rainforest from predators, and the sloth provides a safe, warm climate for the algae to live. It is not always safe for the algae, however, because the sloth can also lick its fur and eat the algae.

external image two-toed-sloth.jpg

Human Impacts:
  • Permanent Habitat Loss
Most of human impacts on the rainforest biomes have been negative effects. Each year about 2 billion tons of timber are cut from the world's forests. This deforestation rate is usually used for fuels or clearing the area for farming. Many forests are also cut down for commercial uses. Because of clear cutting (a form of deforestation), there has been an estimated amount of over 100 species of plants and animals (mostly insects) that become extinct every week. Species are losing their habitats permanently when humans overuse the land so much after it was cut down that it can no longer support any crops. For example when the land is used for farming, the owners reuse the land year after year which quickly exhausts the nutrients in the soil. The soil becomes infertile, and nothing will grow. If a rainforest is clear cut the soil will dry up in the sun, and the rains will wash the soil away. As a result the forest will never fully recover causing the wildlife to reduce.

  • Affecting the Quality of the Environment
Water quality is also affected by deforestation. Since the trees are gone, less rainwater can seep into the ground to refill the underground water reserves. More water now runs off causing topsoil to erode away. This topsoil will sometimes end up in streams and rivers, and if there is enough soil in the water ways, fish may die. Air is also reduced from the destruction of forests. Rainforests produce over 20% of the world's oxygen. Trees absorb the carbon dioxide in the air and release oxygen, so less tress means less oxygen and an increase in carbon dioxide in the air. An increase in carbon dioxide helps keep earth warm helping the cause of global warming; this temperature change could later cause some species to become extinct. In addition to producing oxygen the leaves collect the dust and soot put into the air from pollution. The dust and soot is then washed down to the ground when it rains. Cutting down trees keeps soot and dust in the air as air pollution which helps destroy forest areas.

  • Global and Regional Climate Change
(Link to pictures and info) http://www.marietta.edu/~biol/biomes/troprain.htm
Deforestation can shift rainfall patterns around the world or in specific regions. As forests are cleared there is much less water that can evaporate through transpiration. Less evaporation means less precipitation which will cause drier rainforests. A drier region increases the chances of forest fires destroying even more trees. Because of logging and clear-cutting, large areas in the Middle-East and Europe that used to be forests are now deserts. The impact of Global Warming is another impact of climate change which is mentioned in the second bullet point. Changes is weather patterns, temperature, and rainfall quantities and distribution can transform the role of forests. This means that rainforests could convert into drier forests and the other forests may convert to tropical rainforests. Time for wildlife to do a lot of migration if those transformations happen.
(pictures link) http://biology.clc.uc.edu/courses/bio303/human%20interactions.htm

  • Harming Our Own Species
As humans cut down rainforests we are not only destroying wildlife species we are also wiping out the indigenous people. These people lived and developed on the land and have been able to hunt, farm, and gather in a harmonious, sustainable relationship with the rainforest. As the rainforests die so do the indigenous people. The rainforests they live with are their only source of resources. They may trade with other tribes, but those other tribes also only rely on the land to survive. During the 1500's there were 6-9 million indigenous people living in the rainforests of Brazil. By 1900 there were 1 million and today there are fewer than 250,000. These indigenous populations of the rainforests are more important than one might think. Because they are part of the rainforests, they have their own, mostly positive, impacts on the ecosystems and environment of rainforests.
Endanger Species:
The Bengal Tiger (Consumer)
The Bengal tiger lives in regions of India, Bangladesh and Indonesia. It's recognizable by its reddish orange fur and long black stripes. The Tiger prefers to live alone, and often hunts small animals that live on the forest floor. Unlike other cats, they like water and will swim across rivers. The Bengal tiger is an endangered species because of over-killing. Their body parts are used in traditional Chinese and Korean medicines. They're also hunted for sport. The loss of rainforest habitat has also meant less prey for them. The Bengal tiger has been classified as endangered by ICUN as the population is estimated at fewer than 2,500 individuals with a decreasing trend. The __Wildlife__ Protection Society of India (WPSI) works with law enforcement agencies in India to apprehend tiger poachers and wildlife traders. WPSI investigates and verifies any seizure of tiger parts and unnatural tiger deaths that are brought to their notice. Between 1994 and 2009, WPSI has documented 893 cases of tigers killed in India, which is just a fraction of the actual poaching and trade in tiger parts during those years. In 2007, police in Allahabad raided a meeting of suspected poachers, traders and couriers. One of the arrested persons was the biggest buyer of tiger parts in India who used to sell them off to the Chinese traditional medicinal market, using women from a nomadic tribe as couriers.


Orchids (Producer)
Orchids are among the most endangered Amazon rain forest plants. There are more than 25,000 species of orchids and all of them are either endangered or threatened. Many species already are extinct. These are the largest flowering plants in the world and come in a wide variety of colors and forms. An orchid bloom can be larger than a human hand and can grow to several feet tall. These flowers are dying due to several factors. The greatest threat to the orchid is habitat loss. Competition with introduced alien plants, filling of wetlands, intensive hay mowing, fire suppression, and overgrazing also threatens these species. Orchids have been collected, and therefore removed for their natural habitats, because of their rarity and beauty. In addition, the orchids depend on hawkmoths for pollination. Any threat to these insects, such as the use of insecticides, is a threat to the prairie fringed orchids. To prevent further degradation of the orchid, steps have been taken to protect the beautiful plant. The orchids were added to the U.S. List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants on September 28, 1989. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is developing recovery plans that describes actions needed to help this plant survive. The Service approved the recovery plan for orchids in 1996. Researchers are studying the orchids to find the best ways to manage for them and their habitat. Where possible, the orchids' habitat is being protected and habitat is improved with a variety of management techniques. Private landowners, government agencies, and conservation organizations are helping conserve these species. In addition, public education programs have been developed to raise awareness of the orchids' plight.


Invasive Species:
Temperate Rainforest (2 invasive species)


Possums have over eaten many species in lowland forests. They are responsible for destroying the population of kamahi, a medium sized flowering plant found in the temperate rainforests of New Zealand. These once abundant plants are now decreasing and size and are hurting the other predators that also ate the kamahi.


Deer prevent plant species from regenerating, causing the eco system to be disrupted. The Red and Sika Deer are two species that have altered plant life in North American temperate rainforests. Decreasing the populations of producers will not only decrease the size of the predators that rely on those plants as food but will also cause the nutrients in soil to increase tremendously because the nutrients are no longer being used.

Tropical Rainforest Invasive Species

Tropical Ash Tree:
The tropical ash tree is an invasive species in the Hawaiian rainforests. This tropical tree is much taller than the native trees such as the ohia tree; therefore, the ohia trees get less sunlight because the ash tree is taking up all the sunlight. Because of the dominating ash tree the ohia trees are beginning to die out. Those dying trees are causing the structure of rainforests in Hawaii to change. This invasive specie was introduced by humans when they planted them for wood products. These changing circumstances of the rainforests would alter the sources and the other original herbivores and consumers usual way of living because they will have to adapt to new plants that can grow in the new forest or else the animals will die.

Strawberry Guava:
This is a smaller invasive tree specie forms a dense mid-level thicket. This thicket blocks the sunlight from reaching the ground level native plant species. This will slow or stop any young or ground level producers from growing. The strawberry guava is spreading quickly because the Moluccan albizia concentrates atmospheric nitrogen into the soil which increases the growth rate of the strawberry guava tree. This invasive specie will affect the ground level species the most by taking in most of the sunlight. The change of ground level plants will alter the way many base level -living herbivores will be able to feed. They must adapt, migrate, or die. Because the primary consumers will have to adapt so will the secondary consumers since their pray is evolving.

Works Cited:

"Human Life." Gale Cengage Learning. N.p., n.d. Web. 25 Oct. 2011.


"Rainforest Facts." Raintree. Raintree Nutrition, Inc., 20 March 2010. Web. 1 Nov. 2011 http://www.rain-tree.com/facts.htm.

"Tropical Rainforest." Internetgeography. N.p., n.p. Web.