RAINFOREST DIVERSITY - ORIGINS AND IMPLICATIONSJuly 27, 2006
Tropical rainforests support the greatest diversity of living organisms on Earth.
https://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/1200/indonesia/sumatra_9236.jpg Although they cover less than 2 percent of Earth's surface, rainforests house an estimated 50 percent of all life on the planet's land masses.
No one knows exactly how many species live in the world's tropical rainforests — estimates range from 3 to 50 million species — rainforests are the undisputed champions of biodiversity among the world's ecosystems, containing far higher numbers of species on a per-area basis relative to sub-tropical, temperate, and boreal ecosystems. For example, whereas temperate forests are often dominated by a half dozen tree species or fewer that make up 90 percent of the trees in the forest, a tropical rainforest may have more than 480 tree species in a single hectare (2.5 acres). A single bush in the Amazon may have more species of ants than the entire British Isles. This diversity of rainforests is not a haphazard event, but is the result of a series of unique circumstances.
What is biodiversity?
Biodiversity -- short for biological diversity -- is the the number and types of organisms in an habitat, ecosystem, region or environment. It can refer to genetic, species, or habitat variation at any scale.
Portraits of Diversity
Countries with the Highest Biodiversity
- Most of the plant and animal species live in what level of the rainforest?
- What are epiphytes?
- What is an example of an epiphyte? (Hint: think of a popular kind of flower)
- What are lianas?
- What is a symbiotic relationship?
- What is a keystone species?
- Why are agoutis important in the rainforest ecosystem?
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