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Flashcards in Tropical rainforest Deck (11)
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The emergent

These are the tallest trees up to 60m to 80m tall
the emergent reach sunlight by growing taller than all the other trees


The canopy

The thickest layer where most of the animals live

This is the primary layer of the forest and forms a roof over the two remaining layers.
Most canopy trees have smooth, oval leaves that come to a point.
It's a maze of leaves and branches.
Many animals live in this area since food is abundant. Those animals include: snakes, toucans and treefrogs.


The under-canopy

It has the younger trees, shorter trees and bushes

Little sunshine reaches this area so the plants have to grow larger leaves to reach the sunlight.
The plants in this area seldom grow to 12 feet.
Many animals live here including jaguars, red-eyed tree frogs and leopards. There is a large concentration of insects here.


Forest floor

Here you find ferns and other plants that grow close to the ground
It's very dark
Almost no plants grow in this area, as a result.
Since hardly any sun reaches the forest floor things begin to decay quickly.
A leaf that might take one year to decompose in a regular climate will disappear in 6 weeks.
In some places, Giant anteaters live in this layer.


Buttress roots

Buttress roots are large roots on all sides of a shallowly rooted tree.
Typically, they are found in nutrient-poor rainforest soils and do not penetrate to deeper layers.


Drip-tip leaves

The leaves of forest trees have adapted to cope with exceptionally high rainfall. Many tropical rainforest leaves have a drip tip. It is thought that these drip tips enable rain drops to run off quickly. Plants need to shed water to avoid growth of fungus and bacteria in the warm, wet tropical rainforest.


Rainforest Soil's Name




Development can be measured in Sustainability.
Sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations (or other species) to meet their own needs.



Logging is the cutting, skidding, on-site processing, and loading of trees or logs onto trucks or skeleton cars.

Illegal logging is the harvesting, transporting, processing, buying or selling of timber in violation of national laws. This definition also applies to harvesting wood from protected areas, exporting threatened plant/tree species, and falsifying official documents.

Often, logging happens for beef. Millions of acres of rainforest are cut down and burned. The land is set on fire in order to get rid of the trees. The cleared land is then turned into grass pastures for cows.


Threats to the rainforest and their soloutions

•Logging interests cut down rain forest trees for timber used in flooring, furniture, and other items.
•Power plants and other industries cut and burn trees to generate electricity.
•The paper industry turns huge tracts of rain forest trees into pulp.
•The cattle industry uses slash-and-burn techniques to clear ranch land.
•Agricultural interests, particularly the soy industry, clear forests for cropland.
•Subsistence farmers slash-and-burn rain forest for firewood and to make room for crops and grazing lands.
•Mining operations clear forest to build roads and dig mines.
•Governments and industry clear-cut forests to make way for service and transit roads.
•Hydroelectric projects flood acres of rain forest.

•Sustainable-logging regimes that selectively cull trees rather than clear-cut them would save millions of acres of rain forest every year.
•Campaigns that educate people about the destruction caused by rain forest timber and encourage purchasing of sustainable rain forest products could drive demand down enough to slow deforestation.
•Encouraging people who live near rain forests to harvest its bounty (nuts, fruits, medicines) rather than clear-cutting it for farmland would save million of acres.
•Government moratoriums on road building and large infrastructure projects in the rain forest would save many acres.



•Tropical rainforest soils are shallow and acidic - iron oxides stain the top layers red.

•The soil is infertile and one of the poorest in the world

•Heavy rainfall quickley washes away any nutrients that are not taken up by the trees

Despite the infertile soil the rainforest survives because

•Plant and animal remains soon decay in the warm, humid climate

•Shallow rooted trees quickly absorb the nutrients released by decomposition

•Few nutrients are lost from the nutrient cycle as the forest literally feeds on itself

•Most nutrients are stored in vegetation, when they die they decay and are then absorbed by the trees. (click on diagram for animation)