Tropical Rainforest Essay, Research Paper
Tropical rain forest
Along the Congo- Basin region of Africa lies some of the worlds most beautiful rainforests. The Congo- Basin, in west-central Africa, includes most of the land drained by the Congo River and it s tributaries. The Congo River is Africa s second largest River. Only the Nile River is longer. The Congo River rises in southeastern Zaire and flows 2,716 miles to the Atlantic Ocean.
What makes a rainforest biome unique depends on two things. One being its location in the tropics and the other being the amount of rainfall it receives. It is hard to generalize rainfall in the Congo Basin, since the numbers vary greatly. Some two to eight meters rain annually, however it has been recorded before of reaching 13 meters. Also, the rainforest is the Earth’s oldest living ecosystem. Fossils date back 70 to 100 million years ago.
Tropical rain forest occur in a belt around the Earth near the Equator. They are always humid and warm and receive about 100 in. of rain per year. Because of its location near the equator, tropical rain forests get strong sunlight year round, maintaing a climate with little seasonal variation. The climate of a tropical rain forest is ideal for growing plantlife. In fact there are more different species of plants growing in the tropical rain forest than in any other biome.
Tropical rainforests cover only six percent of the Earth’s land, but they contain over half of the plant and animal species on Earth. It is really fascinating when inside four square miles of rainforest there may be as many as 1500 species of flowering plants, 750 species of trees, 125 mammals, 400 birds, 100 reptiles, and 60 amphibians. In addition, in one square meter of ground soil where the leaves decompose, up to 50 species of ants can exist. Most of the bio-diversity that is found in the rainforest comes from insects. It is estimated that tens of thousands of them exist here.
In tropical rain forests, plants grow in layers. Trees more than 100ft. tall form a dense canopy that absorbs at least 95 percent of the sunlight. Above the canopy, the tallest trees emerge into direct sunlight. Below the canopy, little light reaches the understory, and only smaller trees and shrubs adapted to shade can grow there. Herbs have large flat leaves that capture the small amount of sunlight that penetrates to the forest floor. Many plants grow in the Congo Basin such as Oil Palm trees, Ebony and Mahogany trees, Coffee plants, and orchids. Because most of the rain forest s matter is held in its organism, the topsoil is thin and poor. Nearly all the available soil nutrients are in the top 5cm of soil. As a result, rainforest tree trunks widen at the base, with buttresses that support the trees. Tree roots must be shallow to take advantage of the thin top soil.
Almost all rain forest animals are specialists; each is adapted to exploit a specific resource in a particular way to avoid competition. The animal diversity in the rain forest is caused by two important factors. The diversity of rainforest animals as well as each species of tree or plant provides niches for specialized pollinators and herbivores. Animals such as Palla s long-tongued bat have adapted to pollinate banana plants. Th leaf-gulling frog, which lives on the bottom of the rain forest feeds on insects that may be a predator to some of the various types plants. Other animals such as the Kell Billed Toucan and the Specatacle Owl also call the Congo Basin s Tropical rainforest home.
The native of the Congo Basin are big on their natural resources. They use the plants and berries as their daily food supply. Eating little meat, the natives feed off of the various fruit and vegetable that grow in the forest such as: wild berries, banana, cassava, yuca, coffe beans, and the various organism found in the Congo River. They make hand crafts and furniture out of the wood that is supplied for them by the forest. Some of the problems native face is the deforestation of their natural habitat. They have been displaced and their culture lost.
Economically, rainforests provide jobs for loggers, miners, farmers, and rubber-tappers. Things such as collecting nuts and rubber does little damage while clear cutting, mining, and building dams are devastating to the rainforest. According to the Rainforest Action Network, one can make $6,820 annually if rainforest is sustained and harvested for fruits, latex, and timber. If the rainforest is not nourished, then one can make $1,000 for timber that is clear-cut. People that are into cattle ranching gain approximately $148.
The rainforest is very important as it provides 25% of today’s medicines. Who knows what kind of hidden cures are lurking secretly inside the diverse forms of vegetation? There are already plants that are helpful for illnesses like cancer, Hodgkin’s disease, and leukemia. This is one reason why rainforests are urgently needed for further research before they are gone. Another reason why rainforests are needed is to help maintain a balance in our biosphere. The plants in the rainforest store huge numbers of carbon inside themselves. When they are burned, the carbon is released as carbon dioxide and when burned at alarming rates the balance in Earth’s atmosphere tips and helps support the greenhouse problem develop further.