Tropical Forests

Authored by: Lindsay F. Banin , Oliver L. Phillips , Simon L. Lewis

Routledge Handbook of Forest Ecology

Print publication date:  October  2015
Online publication date:  October  2015

Print ISBN: 9780415735452
eBook ISBN: 9781315818290
Adobe ISBN: 9781317816447


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Tropical forest ecosystems occur between the tropics of Cancer and Capricorn (23.5° N and S of the equator, respectively) and are characterized by dense, relatively tall, closed canopies with trees making up the dominant life form in structurally complex arrangements. Tropical forests are amongst the most speciose systems on the planet, in terms of both flora and fauna, and are estimated to contain more than half the world’s recorded species. They deliver important ecosystem services, such as large-scale cycling of carbon and water, and more locally, through the provision of clean water, shelter, food and fuel to local populations. At the global scale, their limits are determined by climate and at smaller spatial scales, their presence and form is determined by local or regional topographic, geological and edaphic features, as well as anthropogenic impacts.

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