Biodiversity and change

What is the impact on tropical rainforests?

CASE STUDY: Tropical rainforest

Why do we care about biodiversity?

Characteristics of tropical rainforest

Borneo rainforest - gallery

Watch this video on a rainforest environment in Queensland Australia? Why do you think the tropical rainforest is important and special?

Tropical Rainforest climate
Due to the direct rays of the sun, the equatorial regions receive most solar energy. Because the air is warm it is lighter and therefore rises. The air movement is mostly vertical. As the warm air rises it cools down and the process of condensation occurs. This leads to the formation of clouds and eventually lots of rainfall. As such the temperatures in the rainforest are always high with constant humidity and possibility of heavy downpours.


The Tropical Rainforest biome is the richest and most varied ecosystem. Trees are the dominant plants and grow taller than other plants. They live for a long time and maintain stable conditions. The tropical rainforest has a lot of energy and a large biomass. The food webs are complex and it also has a large detrital food chain. In addition, there are many types of nutrient cycles.


The tropical rainforests consist of broad-leaved evergreens with very dense growth. Its fauna and flora are very diverse. The climate is conducive to plant growth and it has a constant growing season. The rates of primary productivity are huge which leads to a lot of vegetation and a large animal biomass. Since the trees are tall, sunlight often gets blocked by the tropical canopy. So other green plants find ways to reach the sunlight or live off other plants. These are called epiphytes.epiphytes.jpgThe trees are also varied in other ways. Many trees, however, are so tall they need extra support which come in the form of buttress roots.
Tropical trees usually have dark leaves and thin bark so that they can protect themselves against the sunlight and can shed water droplets quickly.It is really the most diverse and productive ecosystem and it can easily be upset by man. Due to the climatic conditions, soils can quickly become infertile.


What are the causes and the consequences of reduced biodiversity in the tropical rain forests?
BBC - Nature Loss 'to damage economies'

GUARDIAN - Humans driving extinction faster than species can evolve, say experts
Watch these two videos on the effects of deforestation on the tropical rainforest environment.