IntroductionWhen you enter a tropical rainforest the first thing you are bound to notice are the towering trees that block out all but a little of the sun light. In fact most of the plants in a tropical rainforest are trees. These amazing plants reach heights of 150 feet (45.7 meters) and taller. They provide food and shelter for many of the rainforest animals. There are more different species of trees in the rainforests of the world than anywhere else on the earth. There are often several hundred species within a few acres. On this page you will find a list of interesting facts about the trees that grow in tropical rain forests written for both adults and kids. This information includes how they have adapted for survival.
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General Tropical Rainforest Tree Facts
- Most trees in the rainforest grow rapidly to escape the darkness of the forest floor and understory and to reach the needed sunlight of the canopy. When a gap in the canopy appears, for example due to a fallen tree, these small trees are capable of a growth surge in order to take advantage of the opportunity for sunlight.
- It is often impossible for even trained botanist to identify a tropical rainforest tree by its bark. Most of the trees have very similar thin and smooth bark. Therefore they must be identified by some of their other characteristics such as by their flowers.
- Tropical rainforest trees release a tremendous amount of water through pores in their leaves in a process called transpiration. This process can account for about half of the precipitation in some rainforests.
- Most trees in this biome tower over the rainforest with their branches and leaves creating a canopy (canopy layer) high above the forest floor. This canopy lets as little as one percent of the sunlight reach the forest floor in some regions.
- The demand for wood such as teak and mahogany for lumber have contributed to the rapid deforestation of tropical rainforest.
Tropical Rainforest Tree Adaptations
- Most trees in these tropical regions have straight trunks with no branches or leaves until they reach the canopy layer. Below this layer there is very little sunlight and trees have adapted to growing branches and leaves where sunlight can be obtained.
- Tropical rainforest trees generally have thin bark. Thick bark which can protect a tree from cold weather and help limit water loss is not needed in the hot and humid rainforest.
- Although most of the trees in the tropical rainforest reach up to the canopy and emergent layers some shorter trees have adapted to survival in the dark understory layer of the forest. They survive with very little sunlight.
- Some trees have developed leaf stalks that turn leaves towards the sun in order to obtain the needed sunlight.
- The soil of the tropical rainforest is wet and lacking in nutrients; therefore many trees have developed buttress roots which help prevent the tree from falling and also enable it to obtain nutrients available in the shallow soil.
- Tree leaves in the upper canopy and emergent layer are usually leathery and dark green which helps them reduce the loss of water from the usually blistering sun.
List of Some Tropical Rainforest Trees
- Rubber tree (Hevea brasiliensis)
- Banana tree
- Strangler Fig (Teak)
- Giant Red Cedar (Curtain Fig)
- Cathedral Fig