Tropical Forests (Biomes of the Earth)
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Introduces the ecosystems of the forests and explains the importance of forest layers, food chains, and more. This book discusses about this ecosystem - from geology to animal life to conservation. It concludes by examining threats to these environments, including clearing the areas for farmland, logging, slash-and-burn farming, and soil erosion.
are often red due to their high concentration of iron oxide—rust. Before long, the iron, together with aluminum, was forming laterite (see the sidebar) and the soil in many places was becoming as hard as concrete. How soils age Tropical soils are the oldest of all soils, and most of their original stock of nutrients has long gone, leaving them greatly depleted. They are ancient, and that is why they are less fertile than temperate soils. The nutrients that sustain plants originate in the mineral
temperature but nevertheless remain liquid. They are supercooled. The cloud also contains ice crystals. The wind carries some of these away from the top of the cloud. They vaporize as they enter drier air but often form a shape like a blacksmith’s anvil. The cloud is now huge. Clouds of this type are called cumulonimbus. Air rises through it in currents rushing upward at up to 100 MPH (160 km/h). Ice crystals and raindrops fall downward, dragging cold air with them and generating Charge
(Ceratotherium simum), also called the square-lipped rhinoceros, stands 5.6–6.1 feet (1.7–1.9 m), tall at the shoulder and weighs up to 1.87 tons (1.7 tonnes). As its name suggests, it has very broad lips that give it the huge bite it needs to take in enough of the short grass on which it feeds for much of the year. The Indian rhinoceros (Rhinoceros unicornis) has one horn and is sometimes called the greater one-horned rhinoceros. It is approximately the same size as the white rhino but heavier,
made from skin stretched across the very long fingers and joined to the shoulders, ankles, and tail. 138 TROPICAL FORESTS Bats (order Chiroptera) are of two general types, or suborders: Megachiroptera and Microchiroptera. The 166 species of fruit bats or flying foxes (Megachiroptera) are found throughout tropical Africa, Asia, and Australia, but not in the Americas. Most fruit bats have doglike faces with huge eyes that give them excellent vision in dim light. They rely on their eyesight to
away, whereupon it curls up into a ball once more. Lorises are very similar to pottos. The slender loris (Loris tardigradus) inhabits the forests of India and Sri Lanka. The slow loris (Nycticebus coucang) lives in Bangladesh and in Southeast Asia from Malaysia to Borneo. Africa, Madagascar, and India were once joined together. Madagascar and India were both on the same tectonic plate (see “Continental drift and plate tectonics” on pages 25–30), but the plate broke apart, leaving Madagascar