Tropical Rainforests

Tropical rainforests makes up three main blocks - in the Americas, Southeast Asia and Australia, and Africa - which lie within a belt around the Equator.

56 percent of tropical rainforests lie in the Neotropics, mostly in the great basins of the Amazon and Orinoco rivers, extending westward to the flanks of the Andes.

This is replaced by tropical seasonal forests in the northeast bulge of Brazil.

26 percent of tropical rainforests are located in the Asian tropics, centered on the Malay Archipelago, with patchy extensions into continental Asia.

Africa has the third great tropical rainforest region, containing about one fifth (18 per cent) of the total area of all tropical rainforests.

The African tropical rainforest is concentrated in West and Central Africa, the Congo basin and the shores of the Gulf of Guinea, but does not reach across the whole continent.

Each main block of tropical rainforest has outliers, which have their own wildlife.

Near the huge Amazon-Orinoco forest, there is a discrete belt of tropical rainforest along the Atlantic coastal mountains in Brazil. There is another one on the Pacific coast of Ecuador and Colombia, reaching up through Central America to south Mexico on the Caribbean shore of the American isthmus.

In Africa, there are small patches of tropical rainforest on some of the mountains of East Africa, mainly in Tanzania, and an isolated, forest on the west coast of Malagasy.

There is also tropical rainforest on the Seychelles and the Mascarene Islands in the Indian Ocean.

The Asian tropical rainforest block is broken by areas of monsoon, or tropical seasonal forest on some of the islands in the centre of the Malay Archipelago and in peninsular Thailand. The tropical rainforest then continues into Burma and Assam and along the coast of Indochina into southern China and the island of Hainan.

There are disjointed small blocks of tropical rainforest on the Western Ghats of India and in southwest Sri Lanka.

Eastward, the tropical rainforest extends through the Solomon Islands, Vanuatu and the Fiji Islands into the Pacific.

Southward, there are two small areas of tropical rainforest the Queensland coast of Australia.

Tropical rainforest merges at its edges into one of two other kinds of forest:

Subtropical Rainforests

In southeast Brazil, on the Asian continent, in Burma and Assam and the eastern coast of Indochina, on the eastern coast of Australia and on the islands of the southwest Pacific, tropical rainforest changes steadily to subtropical rainforest as the latitude increases.

Subtropical rainforests have different plants and animals than tropical rainforests.

The trees in subtropical rainforests resemble types that can be found in the Earth's more temperate regions.

Epiphyte and climber species also change.

The change in plant species between tropical and subtropical rainforests happens gradually, according to the decrease in average temperature and changes in the number of hours of daylight.

Monsoon Forests

Tropical rainforest often blends into tropical seasonal, or monsoon forest. Monsoon forest is more common than subtropical rainforest.

Viewed from above, monsoon forest looks like a patchwork, with rainforest dominating the most favorable sites: rain relief slopes, the banks of watercourses, or where the soil is more fertile, deeper or better retains water.

Areas of increasingly severe drought are occupied by different types of monsoon forest. As the drought increases in severity, the percentage of deciduous trees increases.