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Soil Characteristics

The characteristics of soils result from the proportion of silt, clay and sand, and the interactions with air, water and living things.

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Cloud Forests

Cloud Forests

Credit: Dirk van der Made
Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Costa_rica_santa_elena_skywalk.jpg
License: CC BY-NC 3.0

Cloud forests often have clouds that rest on the ground. Although they are rare, they have high biodiversity. The western slopes of the volcanic mountains of Central and South America, North and South of the equator, are good places to find cloud forests.

Why It Matters

  • Cloud forests are located between 23°N and 25°S of the equator at altitudes of 1600 feet (500 m) to 13,000 feet (4000 m) above sea level.
  • Rain falls, but much of the precipitation is by fog drip; fog condenses on tree leaves and falls to the ground.
  • Mosses, ferns, orchids and other epiphytes cover every surface.
  • Credit: Peter Woodard
    Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Papillaria_Cloudforest-Mt_Budawang.jpg
    License: CC BY-NC 3.0

    Papillaria Cloudforest on Mt. Budawang in Australia [Figure2]

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With the links below, learn more about cloud forests. Then answer the following questions.

  1. How do epiphytes live without being rooted in soil?
  2. How does near-constant cloud cover affect the conditions in the forest?
  3. What are the characteristics of trees in cloud forests compared with tropical rainforests?
  4. What are the characteristics of cloud forest soils?
  5. What are the effects climate change and deforestations are having on the Bellavista Cloud Forest in Columbia?

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Image Attributions

  1. [1]^ Credit: Dirk van der Made; Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Costa_rica_santa_elena_skywalk.jpg; License: CC BY-NC 3.0
  2. [2]^ Credit: Peter Woodard; Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Papillaria_Cloudforest-Mt_Budawang.jpg; License: CC BY-NC 3.0

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