Posted by / Tuesday 21 August 2018 / No comments

Six easy ways of identifying a rainforest

Nature, Forest, Landscape, At Night
Definition of a rain forest

A rain forest refers to a space of land where the population of trees is very high, having tall and evergreen trees, creating a dense jungle. In a rain forest, there is a high amount of rainfall in a year.  Estimates put the amount of rainfall per year in the region of between 250 and 450 centimetres. In Ghana, the Atiwa forest is one of the rain forests to the South-east of the country.The Atiwa forest is now in danger though, by the illegal activities of gold diggers called galamsey.


There is a lot of rainfall
One of the features of a rain forest is that it is characterized by a lot and heavy rainfall. The location of rain forests is such that they receive a lot of solar radiation during the day. As a result of this, the corresponding evaporation is very high. Condensation is also high and the eventual rainfall is also very heavy. Frequent rainfall is therefore very typical of rain forests.

It is evergreen
As said earlier, rain forests receive a high amount of solar radiation. This makes a lot of energy available to the leaves for the production of food which invariably leads to growth. In combination with other supporting factors, the leaves of the trees in the rain forest are always green. One other way of identifying a rain forest therefore is by the presence of its evergreen landscape.

Dark and sparse undergrowth
Another unique way of identifying a rain forest is the darkness found under the huge canopy at the top of the trees. The leaves prevent enough sunlight from reaching the bottom of the trees. This makes the floor of the forest unusually dark. Also the forest floor is sparsely grassed which is also related to the absence of light for the plants there to produce enough food.

Buttress, Trunk, Fig, Tree, Tropical

Presence of buttresses
Rain forests are characterized by buttresses. English botanists and now others refer to the flattened extensions of the tree roots as buttresses. These buttresses act like cables and are able to hold the trees firm to prevent them from falling to the ground when carried by the wind. The buttresses serve as a kind of anchor for the trees. The presence of the buttresses can also be used to identify rain forests.

Huge presence of strangler creepers
In a rain forest, a common feature is the presence of strangler creepers. Often, during seed dispersal involving birds, the seeds drop in the crevices of trees and start to germinate. They then grow downward to the floor of the forest to hit the soil and at the same time grow upward, attracted by sunlight. As they grow and envelop the host tree, they seem to be strangling the tree hence the name “strangler creepers”.

Very high presence of fauna
The last but not least way of identifying a rain forest is the high number and diverse fauna that can be found there. There are all kinds of herbivores and carnivores inhabiting rain forests. After the primary producers have done their job, the other animals and micro-organisms feed on each other in a constant food chain. The rain forest is also characterized by a lot of animal activity which continues round the clock. This is because some of the animals operate during the day while others become active at night, being nocturnal.

Are there other easier ways of identifying a rain forest? Tell us in the comments section.

1. a. What a rain forest?
    b. Highlight six features that can be used to identify a rain forest.

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