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RAINFOREST TERMS

Buttress – Because the soil is not very fertile in rainforests, the taller trees have developed buttress roots. These roots give extra support for the tree, which is not able to grow deep rooting systems that such a tall tree would ordinarily grow to stabilize.

Canopy – The third layer of a forest formed from the lofty parts of trees. In a tropical rainforest, the canopy is made up of flat-crowned trees.

Conservation – Is the preservation of natural species and environments from excessive exploitation by humans. This involves help from citizens, governments and scientists.

Deforestation – The destruction or clearing of a forest; the long-term or permanent removal of forests.

Ecosystem – A biologically interdependent region that may be as small as a pond or as big as a planet.

Emergent – The uppermost layer of trees in the rainforest are also known as the dominants. This fourth layer consisting of the tops of the tallest trees.

Equator – It is an imaginary line between the Northern and Southern Hemisphere also known as the Tropic of Cancer.

Extinction – Occurs when the very last member of any species dies out. This can be caused by the destruction of its habitat, over hunting or a failure to compete with predators.

Forest floor – Is the first level of a rainforest. This is the ground layer made up of tree roots, soil and decaying matter.

Greenhouse effect – The heating of the lower atmosphere that occurs when carbon dioxide traps heat that would otherwise escape into space.

Slash & burn – The method in which people clear land by cutting down patches of forest and burning the debris. If this is done to a piece of land to many times over without letting the land cultivate, it can become permanently damaged.

Species – Is a type of race or breed. A group of plants or animals that are able to produce new plants or animals sharing the same traits of its predecessor.

Sustainable – The using of products of nature in a way that will not permanently destroy them for future use. Sustainable resources allow for the resources to regenerate before being used again.

Topsoil – Is the soil above the stony ground. This earth is held in place by the trees. Once the trees are cut down the soil is washed away by rains.

Tribe – A community of people who live together with a shared way of life.

Tropical rainforest – Is an evergreen forest located at low elevations in regions between the Tropics of Cancer and Capricorn. Abundant rainfall and very warm weather characterize tropical rainforests. This is why there are so many different types of vegetation there.

Understory – The forest layer below the canopy that includes small trees & young canopy trees. This is the second layer of a rainforest.