The Amazon Rainforest

The Amazon rainforest is the largest tropical rainforest in the world. It teems with biodiversity.

The Amazon rainforest is under a huge threat. They are often called the “lungs of the Earth”. Due to the rapid deforestation, many man made places like cattle ranches, roads, tows and many more are appearing.

The Amazon rainforest is crucial for the removal of CO2. So basically, the greenhouse effect would be more pronounced.

It actually turns out that when we burn trees, tree carbon matter is released back in the form of CO2. The also pollutes the atmosphere.

The world is under a serious threat and as we talk, more and more forests are cut. We must save these forests. It must come from within.

Self Mimicry

It refers to animals that have a body part that mimics another animal. For example, freshwater fish have eye-spots that are large dark markings. They flash these and startle the predator and give it sever,a seconds to escape. They also provide pedators a false target. A butterfly has a greater chance if surviving a attack on the wing than its body.

Batesian Mimicry

This type of mimicry is named after Henry Walter Bates, a British scientist who studied this type of mimicry in the amazon rainforest.

This type of mimicry refers to two are more species that are similar in appearance, but only one is armed with spines, stingers, or toxic chemistry while the other lacks these traits. As the second is similar, the predator thinks that the double is the same and avoids it, even though it is harmless.

A decreasing habitat

Do you know we lose 18.7 million acres of forests per minute? That is equivalent to 27 soccer fields per minute! The Amazon is an amazing example of a tropical rainforest. In fact, 17% of the forest has been lost in the last 50 years, mostly due to deforestation for cattle ranching. More than half of the world’s rainforests are cut down due to humans. Rainforests once covered 14% of land on Earth and now only 6%.

Here are threats to rainforests:

  • People are cutting down trees for timber, furniture and other items.
  • Power plants burn trees to generate electricity.
  • The paper industry turns trees into paper.
  • The cattle industry cuts down areas to clear ranch land.
  • Agricultural industries cut down trees for crop land.
  • Mining operations clear forests to create roads and dig mines.
    Hydroelectric projects flood acres of the rain forest.
  • We need to save rainforests. Don’t do it just because people say to do it.
  • It must come from Within.
  • Adaptations of a plant

    Rainforest plants have made many adaptations to their environment. With over 80 inches of rain per year, plants have made adaptations that helps them shed water off their leaves quickly so the branches don’t get weighed down and break. Many plants have drip tips and grooved leaves, and some leaves have oily coatings to shed water. To absorb as much sunlight as possible in the dark understory, leaves are very large. Some trees have leaf stalks that turn with the movement of the sun so they always absorb the maximum amount of light. Leaves in the upper canopy are dark green, small, and leathery to reduce water loss in the strong sunlight. Some trees will grow large leaves at the lower canopy level and small leaves in the upper canopy. Other plants grow in the upper canopy on larger trees to get sunlight. Many trees have buttress and stilt roots for extra support in the shallow, wet soil of the rainforests.Over 2,500 species of vines grow in the rainforest. Lianas start off as small shrubs that grow on the forest floor. To reach the sunlight in the upper canopy, it sends out tendrils to grab sapling trees. The liana and the tree grow towards the canopy together. The vines grow from one tree to another and make up 40% of the canopy leaves like the rattan vine. The rattan vine has spikes on the underside of its leaves that point backwards to grab onto sapling trees. Other “strangler” vines use trees as support and grow thicker and thicker as they reach the canopy, strangling its host tree. They look like trees whose centers have been hollowed out.

    Layers of the Rainforest

    • Emergent trees are spaced wide apart, and are 100 to 240 feet tall with umbrella-shaped canopies that grow above the forest. Because emergent trees are exposed to drying winds, they tend to have small, pointed leaves. These giant trees have straight, smooth trunks with few branches. Their root system is very shallow, and to support their size they grow buttresses that can spread out to a distance of 30 feet.
    • The upper canopy of 60 to 130 foot trees allows light to be easily available at the top of this layer, but greatly reduced any light below it. Most of the rainforest’s animals live in the upper canopy. There is so much food available at this level that some animals never go down to the forest floor. The leaves have “drip spouts” that allows rain to run off. This keeps them dry and prevents mold and mildew from forming in the humid environment.
    • The understory, or lower canopy, consists of 60 foot trees. This layer is made up of the trunks of canopy trees, shrubs, plants and small trees. There is little air movement. As a result the humidity is constantly high. This level is in constant shade.
    • The forest floor is usually completely shaded, except where a canopy tree has fallen and created an opening. Most areas of the forest floor receive so little light that few bushes or herbs can grow there. As a result, a person can easily walk through most parts of a tropical rain forest. Less than 1 % of the light that strikes the top of the forest penetrates to the forest floor. The top soil is very thin and of poor quality. A lot of litter falls to the ground where it is quickly broken down by decomposers like termites, earthworms and fungi. The heat and humidity further help to break down the litter. This organic matter is then just as quickly absorbed by the trees’ shallow roots.

    The Ecosystems

    Tropical rainforests have extremely high boidiversity. This creates amazing, interwoven ecosystems. In the tropical rainforests of Borneo, scientists have documented more than 15,000 plant species, including over 2,500 species of orchids!

    The Halloween Crab is found only in the rainforests of Central America. The crab makes its home on the forest floor where it makes burrows underneath the ground. How does this tiny creature contribute to the rainforest? By carrying leaves into their burrows, the crabs help the soil get the nutrients it needs. Their diet of seeds helps to make sure that new plants can grow. Finally, their burrows also provide a safe habitat for other arthropods such as insects, spiders and other crabs. This is just how one animal helps in the rainforest. Over 25,000 species of vines grow in this forest. Lianas start off as small shrubs. To reach the conopy, they send out trendils to grab sapling trees. Now both plants grow together. All plants depend on each other. Insects are widely found. Due to this, it is vasically impossible for plants to stop reproducing. This shows the relationship between plants and animals.

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