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Biome: Tropical Rain Forest

  • By: Kimberly E. Medley
  • In: Encyclopedia of Geography
  • Edited by: Barney Warf
  • Subject:General Geography, Earth & Environmental Science

The plant geographer A. F. W. Schimper first used the term tropical rain forest in 1898 to characterize the broad-leaved evergreen trees that dominate the wet equatorial regions of the world. Under tropical wet conditions, a structurally diverse forest occurs that is typically high stature, closed canopy, species rich, structurally diverse, and unique in the adaptations that different plants and animals have to the environmental conditions. Rain forest can be described by these general attributes and also by the unique conditions that occur across continents and within continents along environmental gradients.

The Physical Environment

The potential geographic distribution of tropical rain forest is pantropical within the equatorial latitudes of 10° N and 10° S. These forests occur on the continents of South America, Africa, and Asia, and ...

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