Forests are large areas of land covered by trees and undergrowth. Different kinds of soil and climate support different kinds of forests.
Tropical rain forests are found in the tropics where the temperatures are high and the air is moist throughout the year. In the rain-forests there are so many different kinds of trees. There is such a dense tangle of vegetation that it is difficult to distinguish the different layers formed by the different species.
In these forests a few very tall trees called emergent grow through thick canopy into the sunlight above. Below the canopy are the smaller trees. Under them come the shrubs and briars and below them the herbs and smaller plants carpet the forest floor.
In a rain forest there may be as many as 750 species in an area of 1 sq. km. the largest rain forest is Amazonia in South America. It covers an area of about 6.5 million sq. km.
Deciduous forests are found in temperate climates. Deciduous trees shed their leaves in winter. During this time therefore the floor of the forest gets plenty of sunshine. This helps the growth of small shrubs and herbs like ivy, honeysuckle, clematis which climb up towards the sunlight. The second layer of trees occasionally includes evergreen trees such as the holly and the yew.
Coniferous forests require cold climates and are therefore found further north and higher up on the mountain slopes. The largest forest in the world is a coniferous forest in Siberia and covers an area of 11 million sq. km.
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