Tropical Ecology PBA
Mr. Mahrer (B-Band)
THE BORNEO RAINFOREST
The tropical rainforest is earth's most complex biome in terms of both structure and species diversity. Tropical Rainforests can be found in South and Central America, Africa, Oceania (the islands around Australia), and Asia (15).Tropical rainforests cover only about 7% of the Earth's surface (13, )All Tropical Rainforests have similar characteristics including climate, precipitation, etc. They are located in a band around the equator. However, not every tropical rainforest can claim exact characteristics when compared by region. Many may blend with adjoining mangrove forests, moist forests, mountain forests, or tropical deciduous forests (13). Sunlight is a major limiting factor. A variety of strategies have been successful in the struggle to reach light or to adapt to the low intensity of light beneath the canopy (14).
The seasons do not change in the Tropical Rainforest; it’s always hot and wet. The average temperature year-round is about 80 degrees, and its precipitation is about 100 to 400 inches a year (13). The heat and moisture in the rainforest cause plants and animals to rot quickly once they have died. When these organisms decay, all the rich nutrients are recycled back into the soil to feed the roots of other plants (15). The Soil is infertile, deeply weathered and severely leached. Rapid bacterial decay prevents the accumulation of humus (13). The concentration of iron and aluminum oxides gives the soil a bright red color and sometimes produces mineral deposits (15).
The Vegetation in the Tropical Rainforest is very diverse as well as the different animal species. There’s Lianas which are woody vines grow rapidly up the tree trunks (15). There are also the Epiphytes which are the so-called air plants that grow on branches high in the trees, using the limbs merely for support and extracting moisture from the air and trapping the constant leaf-fall and wind-blown dust (14). Animal life is highly diverse, common things are found among mammals and birds (and reptiles and amphibians, too) include adaptations to an arboreal life, bright colors and sharp patterns, loud vocalizations, and diets heavy on fruits (13). The island of Borneo started as a single volcano beneath the sea. Millions of years ago, it erupted. Over time, smaller eruptions and earthquakes joined land together to form an island. Today, Borneo is the third largest island in the world (18). Three countries share the island: Malaysia, Indonesia, and Brunei; and over 16 million people live on Borneo (16).The percentage of how much of the island is rainforest area is 50 percent (220,000 square kilometers). The Borneo lowland rain forests cover most of the island, other lowland eco-regions are the Borneo peat swamp forests, heath forests, the Southwest Borneo freshwater swamp forests, and the Sunda Shelf mangroves (16). The Borneo mountain rain forests lie in the central highlands of the island, above the 1,000 meters (3,300 ft) elevation. The highest elevations of Mount Kinabalu are home to the Kinabalu mountain alpine meadow, an alpine shrub land notable for its numerous endemic species, including many orchids (17). There are about 15,000 species of flowering plants with 3,000 species of trees, 221 species of terrestrial mammals and 420 species of birds (16). The World Wildlife Fund has stated that 361 animal and plant species have been discovered in Borneo since 1996, underscoring its unparalleled biodiversity it is also the centre of evolution and radiation of many endemic species of plants and animals (18). The Rhinoceros Hornbills are large birds found throughout Borneo. To find food, they fly between fruiting trees occasionally stopping to grab small animals, like squirrels. The male birds have an orange or red ring around their eyes, while the ring remains white in female (11). They use their beaks to perform variety of jobs such as harvesting food,...
Bibliography: 1. Rhett A. Butler; Borneo rainforest to be protected; massive oil palm plantation canceled; Environmental news-mongabay.com; March 28, 2006;
4. Largest Flower – Rafflesia; Jan 17, 20011; http://www.theflowerexpert.com/content/aboutflowers/largest-flower
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