Tropical rain forests - Ecosystem
Tropical rain forests occur near the equator. Tropical rain forests are among the most diverse communities on the earth. Both temperature and humidity remain high and more or less uniform. The annual rainfall exceeds 200-225 cm and is generally distributed throughout the year.
The flora is highly diversified: a sq km may contain 300 different species of trees - a diversity unparalled in any other biome. The extremely dense vegetation of the tropical rain forests remains vertically stratified with tall trees often covered with vines, creepers, lianas, epiphytic orchids and bromeliads. Under the tall trees there is a continuous evergreen carpet, the canopy layer, some 25 to 35 metres tall. The lowest layer is an understory of trees, shrubs, herbs, like ferns and palms, all of which become dense where there is a break in the canopy. Soils of tropical rainforests are red latosols, and they may be very thick.
The high rate of leaching makes these soils virtually useless for agricultural purposes, but if they are left undisturbed, the extremely rapid cycling of nutrients within the litter layer which is formed due to decomposition can compensate for the natural poverty of the soil. The common vertebrates of tropical rain forests are the arboreal amphibian Rhacophorus malabaricus, aquatic reptiles, -chameleons, agamids, geckos and many species of snakes and birds, social birds being dominant, and a variety of mammals. Nocturnal and arboreal habits are most common in many mammals such as insectivores, leopard, jungle cats, anteaters, giant flying squirrels, monkeys and sloths.