ZIMSEC O Level Geography Notes:World forest resources:Tropical forests
- The world’s forests can be divided into three broad classes.
- These are tropical, temperate deciduous forests and coniferous forests.
- These are lowland and low latitude luxuriant forests.
- They comprise tropical rain forests in the Amazon Basin, coastal West Africa and the Congo Basin as well as South East Asia, among others.
Composition of tropical rainforests
- The rainforests consists of a wide variety of species over a small area.
- The forest contains mainly three layers of vegetation.
- The top layer mainly composed of scattered tall trees growing to heights of over 40 metres at the top of the forest view. These trees are called emergent.
- The second layer which is a closed canopy of trees with heights of between 25 and 35 metres.
- The third layer which is an under canopy of fairly dense trees competing for light between 15 and 20 metres.
- Below the under canopy there is very little undergrowth due to the absence of light.
- Dense bush can however, be observed in areas of open forest resulting from human interference or along river valleys.
- Climbers such as lianas entangle the tall tree species in search of light.
- The forest consists of valuable tree species for hardwood timber.
- These include the mahogany, teak, iron heart, ebony, sapele, green heart, rosewood which are in demand locally and abroad for the making of expensive furniture and construction industry.
- The forests also contain valuable trees crops providing raw materials for industry.
- These include rubber, gums, oils, cocoa, dyes, camphor and several crops such as bananas and over 25% of the worlds known medicines.
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