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Cloud forests: what they are and characteristics

A type of subtropical or tropical humid mountain forest is called cloud forest or cloud forest that is characterized by a high density of surface fog, usually on the tree canopy (forest canopy or canopy). In addition, these forests are grouped within the pluvisilva or rainforest.

In this AgroCorrn article we will find out what cloud forests are , their main characteristics and in which regions of the earth we can find them.

You may also be interested in: Types of forests
Index
  1. What are cloud forests and their characteristics
  2. Importance of cloud forests for the planet
  3. Cloud forests in the world

What are cloud forests and their characteristics

Cloud forests , also called tropical cloud forests , are habitats found in intertropical mountainous areas characterized by high levels of rainfall, humidity, mist, fog, and high temperatures throughout the year.

These ecosystems are actually very vulnerable and are formed by a dense community of trees, made up of plants of temperate and tropical origin, with a predominance of tropical flora . One type of plant that is very abundant in these ecosystems are orchids and ferns .

Since these forests develop in areas laden with dew or clouds at the flora level, the degree of exposure to the sun and therefore the evaporation of water is reduced. In general, the trees that grow in these forests have shallower, shorter and heavier roots than the trees that grow in lower altitude areas and the environmental humidity favors the development of vascular epiphytes.

The fact of requiring high humidity and large amounts of rainfall make this ecosystem highly vulnerable to regional climate changes that cause, among other factors, deforestation and massive uncontrolled logging. The areas where these forests are found do not have a dry season, although the amount of rainfall may decrease during part of the year, while maintaining a high level of humidity.

Importance of cloud forests for the planet

In these forests the soils are covered with a great diversity of mosses and ferns and are usually swampy in nature, with a predominance of peat and humus. Orchid-type flowers also abound. The clouds are what provide the mist and fog, humidity and rain, which condenses on the leaves and falls to the ground in the form of drops. For this reason, they are sometimes referred to as mossy forests, yunga, mesophilic forests, or laurel forests .

They have a high biodiversity and a high amount of endemisms , among which are approximately 150 species of plants, 120 species of birds, 40 species of orchids, 15 species of mammals, 50 species of butterflies and 5 of mammals, as well as fruit species and native medicinals.

Cloud forests in the world

We can find cloud or cloud forests in much of the intertropical areas :

Central America

Most of the cloud forests in the world are found on this continent. They are natural in mountainous areas of more than 1000 meters of altitude in most of the Central American countries. Thus, the northernmost and largest cloud forest in Central America is located in the Sierra de las Minas in Guatemala. There are also cloud forests in Honduran territory, the largest being those located on the border with Nicaragua. In Nicaragua, most of these forests have been cut down to house coffee plantations, only a few remain in the northern hills of the country and in the Mombacho Volcano. In Costa Rica there are cloud forests in the Cordillera de Tilarán and in El Salvador, we can find them in the Montecristo mountain, the El Imposible national park and in El Pital. What’s more,

South America

In South America, we can find cloud forests in Ecuador and Peru, where they are known as cloud forests. There are also some in Colombia, Brazil, Bolivia, Venezuela and in the provinces of Tucumán, Salta or Jujuy in Argentina. For example, some of the best-known cloud forests in Colombia are those in the Cundinamarca region.

Africa

The most important cloud forests are found in the hills and mountains of the Congo Basin in central Africa. There are also some on the island of Madagascar and in the low forests of São Tomé, Annobón and Príncipe.

Asia

In Asia, we can find cloud forests in the mountains and hills of different regions of China, Indonesia and Indochina.

If you want to read more articles similar to Cloud forests: what they are and characteristics , we recommend that you enter our Ecosystems category .

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