Keenan, Rodney School of Ecosystem and Forest Sciences, University of Melbourne, Carlton, Victoria, Australia.
Last reviewed:September 2019
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- Characteristics and types of tropical forests
- Ecosystem function of tropical forests
- Deforestation and management of tropical forests
- Related Primary Literature
- Additional Reading
A biological community (ecosystem) of plants and animals dominated by trees and other woody plants located between the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn, and extending beyond this region where climate conditions are suitable. Forests are defined as land with trees capable of reaching a minimum height [2–5 m (6.6–16.4 ft)] and a minimum canopy cover (10–30%). Tropical forests (Fig. 1) account for 44% of the world's forests. Tropical forests can be classified according to climate zone, species composition, or ecological functioning. Land in tropical latitudes varies in altitude (and therefore temperature regime), rainfall amount and pattern, and underlying geology and soil types. See also: Climatology; Ecological communities; Ecosystem; Forest; Forest ecosystem; Plant geography; Tree; Tree growth; Tropic of Cancer; Tropic of Capricorn; Tropical meteorology
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