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Our Hawaiian jungle

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JD in the OC

Bo,

I think Kampon has some competition on his hands.

Keep adding more species!

The fact that you have 170 clinostigma and, what, 80 or so Carpoxylon is simply amazing.  Not to mention all your other groves.

It's hot here in Cali right now.  Wish it was like this all year round.  If global warming is occuring, bring it on!!!

JD

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bgl

Just planted another 4 Clinostigma samoense yesterday morning. Can't have too many of these beauties.... And JD, you know the old expression "be careful what you wish for, you may just get it....."

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Robert Lee Riffle

Bo, the "oleracea circle" is certainly one of my favorites; and I'm guessing it would be looking up, down or sideways.

Now, I have what may be a silly point/question:

when the photos occasionally show the rain forest beyond your property, I am bothered ("disappointed" would probably be a better word) because there is a great amount of sky visible.  Why is that so?  I mean "the visible sky, not my being bothered.  Is that forest not "virgin?"  Is its climax stage simply rather short in stature?

I do remember that, even in the state of Veracruz 30+ years ago, this also occurred--and bothered me greatly.  There it was obvious that the forest within a few hundred feet of the road had been cleared.  Along the sides of the road it was towering, drippingly lush, rather similar to the landscape of your estate.  There were (early 70s) still areas of that forest that were basically untouched and were truly magnificent and vast enough to get lost in; but I wonder if they too are now gone.

--bob

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bgl

Bob,

Hmmm...I'm intrigued by your comment! I took a close look at all the photos I've posted in this thread, and not sure which one you're referring to. There's one photo I posted on July 14 of the crown of an Ohi'a tree ("95% of the trees...") with quite a bit of sky, but this tree is ON our property, and I'm shooting up, so it's a given that some sky will be in the photo. Then, the next photo ("The property adjacent...") DOES of course show the rainforest behind us, and there is some sky visible in the upper righthand corner, because there are no tall trees in that particular area. And then, in the photos I posted on July 16 (all taken inside the rainforest) there's some sky visible, but primarily because I'm attempting to take view shots. The forest in this entire area is definitely virgin forest, several hundreds years old, and for the most part it will remain that way (for as long as we have the lease, which in all likelihood is for the rest of my life!). Anyway, since you brought this up I found a few photos that may illustrate this better.

First, this photo is on our property. The property line between our property and the rainforest runs just to the right of the Roystonea oleracea (parallel to them), so the taller trees are all on the leased land, and everything there (in this photo) is completely untouched. The bushy palms all the way to the right are Raphia taedigera.

post-22-1153243974_thumb.jpg

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bgl

This is inside the rainforest, and illustrates very well what the forest looks like. Other than the road, this area is completely untouched.

post-22-1153244054_thumb.jpg

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bgl

And, finally, a larger open area where we did some clearing in order to construct a shadehouse (not yet up when this photo was taken), but the forest in the background is completely untouched, and again, will remain that way.

post-22-1153244154_thumb.jpg

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redant

God, my yard seem so inadequate now, thanks for posting such great pictures (I think).

Why would you ever leave your property other then to gather food and supplies!

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Dypsisdean

Bo,

I think Robert is noticing that our young Hawaiian "rainforest" is much different than what most people think of as rainforest. IMO when most think of rainforest they picture the Amazon rainforest, or other vast tropical areas that have been growing and evolving for many 100's of millions of years. They picture thousands of species of 150 ft+ trees, with so many layers of canopy that sunlight never reaches the forest floor.

In contrast, a Hawaiian forest (especially on most parts of the Big Island) is a newborn. As you mentioned, yours is 300 years old. Mine is 1000-2000 years old. That is nothing compared to how long the Amazon has been growing. In addition, because of our isolation, the number of species of trees number in the 10's instead of the 1000's, and arguably no native tree can match the majesty of some of the mainland trees.

And as you know, the ohi'a is the tree that will dominate young forest for thousands of years. It is the first tree to populate a fresh lava flow. After the ohia is established, it provides the conditions such as shelter and leaf drop humus for other forest trees such as koa to grow. It is just amazing that sterile barren lava can have any kind of forest in a few hundred years. But again, ohi'a is not the typical canopy tree that most associate with rainforest. It is basically a very upright tree with very little spread and canopy even when very old.

So if Robert wished to stand in a Hawaiian rainforest and see no sky, he would have to stand in a much older one (as on the older islands), and even then it would appear much different than the Amazon basin.

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Dypsisdean

And Bo,

I thought you and others would like to see the growth rate of your royals that you posted a few posts above. These are the same palms from a little different perspective, taken Oct. 2002. So less than 4 years.

post-11-1153257741_thumb.jpg

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Robert Lee Riffle

Thanks much, Dean.  I believe you've exactly described "my problem" -- you're not a shrink, are you?

I'm having trouble remembering now.  The more northerly H islands (like kauai and Nihau) are the oldest--right?  If so, does that mean that the forests (wirgin) on those isles are visually more like those of the Amazon Basin or Veracruz?

I'll stop now ....

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Dypsisdean

Robert,

I'll let Bo take that one. I would like to hear his take.

BTW---A visit is worth a thousand words. When can we expect you?

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bgl

Dean,

Thanks a lot for the excellent explanation (which I didn't even think about!). And thanks for posting that photo, which must have been taken just about where the little rock is, to the left of the cycads (see my photo further up in the thread).

Bob,

The entire state of Hawaii is moving in a northwesterly direction, I believe at the rate of 2 inches or so per year, so in another 75 million years or so we'll be arriving in Japan! Niihau and Kauai are the oldest of the eight main Hawaiian Islands, and I believe they're estimated to be about 8-10 million years old. That means that 8-10 million years ago, those two islands were in the same location that the island of Hawai'i (the Big Island) is today, over the "hot spot" where new fresh lava comes up. Because of the isolation of the Hawaiian islands, I don't believe there's all that much difference in the rainforest here on the Big Island and on Kauai for instance. I don't know that much about the native trees here so I can't really elaborate. The age of the Big Island is estimated at 750,000-1 million years, and of course with frequent lava flows all over the island over that period of time, ANY forested area is bound to be VERY recent, in the big scheme of things. As far as I know, any forest that receives more than about 120 inches/3000 mm of rain a year is considered rainforest, and in an average year we're about 25% above that. The forest here may be fairly young compared to, for instance, the Amazonas rainforest, but is still quite impressive, and in some areas also very dense. I'm going to attempt some photos in some of the denser parts, and see how they come out. In the meantime, here's looking straight up thru the canopy of a Tetraplassandra hawaiiensis, which is much more of a canopy tree than the ohi'a (Metrosideros polymorpha). A little bit dark, but it seems that's what we're striving for (less sunlight).....!

Oh, and by the way, Redant:

Quote: "Why would you ever leave your property other then to gather food and supplies!"

Exactly my sentiment and that's what I tell my wife when she wants go to places...

Bo

post-22-1153264517_thumb.jpg

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Jeff Searle

Bo,

    Beautiful ! Thanks for taking the time to post all that you did. Well done.

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bgl

Thanks Jeff! I'm having fun! And Bob's question earlier today made me venture into the deep jungle a little while ago, and here are a few of the photos I took. First, this is an area that we cleared, mainly of invasive species, and a few smaller ohi'a trees. I'll be heading into the jungle at a point about 35-40 ft in front of the car (i.e. to the right of it).

post-22-1153270522_thumb.jpg

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bgl

This is what it looks like even BEFORE I venture into the forest! This is NOT easy walking. Lots of ups and downs, fallen trees and other obstacles, plus very uneven terrain just in general.

post-22-1153270609_thumb.jpg

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bgl

After only 15 ft or so into the forest, this is my view. Even though some of these trees are fairly tall, probably 80-100 ft, there's also a good amount of sunlight reaching the forest floor.

post-22-1153270731_thumb.jpg

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bgl

And after another 100 ft or so I arrive at this natural clearing with a whole bunch of native Hawaiian tree ferns. Since the canopy is not desperately dense, many times when a big tree falls (for natural reasons) it also opens up a good sized area, and that encourages the growth of many plants that may not thrive in deep shade. Even though the tree ferns like shade, they don't seem to do very well in real deep shade.

post-22-1153270996_thumb.jpg

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spockvr6

(Dypsisdean @ Jul. 18 2006,17:22)

QUOTE
And Bo,

I thought you and others would like to see the growth rate of your royals that you posted a few posts above. These are the same palms from a little different perspective, taken Oct. 2002. So less than 4 years.

Fantastic!

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Robert Lee Riffle

Absolutely wonderful, Bo!

That's another thing _I_ was "missing:" the layered/storied appearance of a rain forest.  The ferns carry that off rather well, eh?  The look is even found in the PAC'n'Dubbya, in the Ho Rain Forest NP. The onlies thangs the Ho and forests of the H Islands are missing are bromeliads.  I personally wouldn't dare introduce any into HI, however, as those Tetraplasandra hawaiiensis trees look awfully appropriate for epiphytic brom substrates.  Just what the place needs: MORE EXOTICS taking over ....

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Robert Lee Riffle

>>> When can we expect you? <<<

I'm savin' me pennies, Dean  At this rate it should be about the same time Kauai reaches Japan's shaking seaports .... {THUD!}

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bgl

Bob,

Thanks! And actually the vegetation is very layered, maybe not quite on the level of Amazonas, but still! Lots of fallen trees and tree ferns that support all sorts of interesting stuff, like this one here. And maybe I should introduce a few small bromeliads....they would do real well in this environment!

Bo

post-22-1153300143_thumb.jpg

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amazondk

Since I noticed that my neck of the woods came up in this thread, Amazonia, I figured I might as well add something.  Those are very nice pictures of a beautiful place by the way.   Although we have one of the most diverse, if not the most diverse tropical ecosystem around the forest itself is not necessarily that old.  At least in geologic time.  Originally the Amazon River flowed into the Pacific.  Then as the Andes grew and diverted it back toward the Atlantic a large inland sea was formed.  Once the an outlet to the sea  appeared the basin drained and left things much as they are today.  But, this caused separation of forest areas and helped give rise to the multiple Amazonian forests.  Then during the various ice ages as the climate cooled and dried large areas of forest became savanna lands (cerrado) and the now continuous forest broke up into patches of forest.  Here in Manaus we are at a convergence zone of the various forest areas coming from Venezuela, the Pacific, Bolivia in the South, and Peru in the East.    For this reason the area has a very high diversity of plant species.  Since the last ice age I believe ened about 10,000 years ago many areas which are now climax forest were not that way a relatively short time ago geologically.  The Atlantic coast forest in Brazil, Mata Atlantica, is an older forest than our area.  Although most of it has long since been converted to other uses than forest, 95 percent.  

In about 100 years a regenerated forest would look pretty much like an older one.   In fact the natural regeneration of our forest areas are normally the result of storms with strong downdraft winds or small tornadoes which knock down substantial areas occasionally.  In addition over the past 5,000 years of human habitation there has been substantial impact on the forest, especially close to the rivers where large populations lived for thousands of years until they were decimated by the Europeans.  Estimates are of up to 10 million people lived in the Amazon region at time of European contact.  

Just for reference here a couple of shots from the forest in Eastern Amazonas state.  I posted them on the other site, but I thought they may still be interesting.   I really do want to get back to Hawaii one of these days.  It has been a long time since I was there last, 1979 I believe.

This pictures shows the climax forest in the background.  The large emergent trees on the skyline are in the neighborhood of 40 to 60 meters tall and up to 1.5 meters in diameter.

Pedreiroprimaryforest.jpg

This picture is of an ipe tree (tabebuia serratiafolia) looking up through the forest canopy.  It was over 1 meter in diameter and probably about 50 meters to the top branches.  

Ipe.jpg

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amazondk

Here is a picture of the forest floor vegetation in primary forest area.  Palms normally make up one of the major vegetation types.  In this particular area there is a high concentration of Attalea speciosa.  Most of the trees are small, but an occaisonaly specimen punches through the canopy and can be quite old I imagine.

Babassuforest.jpg

A large Babaçu - A. speciosa

Bigbabassu2.jpg

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bgl

Don,

Thanks for the interesting info and the photos. Those are some big trees!! What's the typical average rainfall?

Bo

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amazondk

Bo,

Our average rainfall runs around 2000 mm concentrated mostly from December to May.  It rains during the rest of the year but only in isolated storms for the most part.  The dryest months, and the hotest are normally August through October.  I am glad you liked the pictures.  What are the main families of trees in the native hawaiian forest?  Here the largest group of trees belong to Lauraceae followed by Sapotaceae, Annonaceae and Leguminosae.    In a forest preserve near Manaus of 100 sq. kms, Floresta Ducke, there are 1176 species of trees present, along with 306 species of lianas, 219 species of terrestrial herbs, 168 species of epiphites, 145 species of bushes, 80 species of hemiepiphytes, 43 species of palms 25 species of saprophytes, 14 species of hemiparasites, and 1 parasite.  This tally is per the book on the Flora of the Reserva Ducke by INPA, the Institute of Amazonian Studies.   So, I guess it is a rather complex ecosystem.

dk

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Guest

Thanks friends for the great posts...Living and learning (and enjoying) with you guys here on a daily basis...

Here are my 2 centavos:

As Don mentioned, the Atlantic forest ecosystem existing in Brazil is very widespread and extremely diversified, stretched north-south along more than 4000 Km along the coast...Here in Northeast we've lost most parts of it in the last 500 years to sugar cane plantations and cattle ranches and now there's a government program to replant the forest along the rivers and create corridors between the few largest areas still preserved, in order to ensure isolated animal and plants contacts and dispersal.

The exploitation of the Atlantic forest started in 1501 (one year after the discovery) and the first target was the tree that gave its name to the Country (Pau-brasil) "Caesalpinia echinata", which became one of the most important commodities in the XVI century for the production of red ink and also for the quality of the hard wood. The Portuguese rullers, afraid of the growing interest of the British, French and Dutch pirates for the logging of Pau-brasil decided to selectively clear off the coast by removing all the large trees and starting the plantation of sugar cane brought from Arabia and acclimated in the Azores. The few remaining untouched parts of the Atlantic forest in my State (5% of the original) occur in the most unaccessable hiltop areas and mangrove boundaries where the agricultural mechanized techniques could never be satisfactorily employed. I've been to some ancient pristine forest reserves around here that still show the incredible diversity of plants and animals of all genera, unparalleled elsewhere in the planet. The tall canopy of the "favinhas", to more than 35 m tall, cover the several levels below, one ecosystem in each "floor", with very specialized plants, insects, birds, reptiles and mammals co-existing in harmony...Last year alone, the Biologists in the local University have identified 2 unknown new species of small monkeys (Calynthrix) among several other animals and plants. I have spotted myself what I believe it's a new species of Palm, pictured below, a solitary type of Euterpe, which I named Santa Rita, not mentioned in botanic books yet, and I've managed to germinate some seeds and plan to intoduce in cultivation...and there's still a lot to be properly cataloged.

As a final comment, I'd say that probably any tropical environment with more than 1800 mm of annual rainfall will sooner or later develop a dense forest naturally, ever after a natural or man made clearing. Bo's natural backyard in Hilo looks superb and Don's Climax forest (loved that term !) around Manaus is worth visiting at least once in a lifetime...

Euterpe sp nova:

post--1153344766_thumb.jpg

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Walter John
I have spotted myself what I believe it's a new species of Palm, pictured below, a solitary type of Euterpe, which I named Santa Rita,

Why not Euterpe gilenoidea ? :D

Serioulsy though, I hope this palm is named after you. Thanks for that read too on the forests and jungles. Interesting thing is I found out just yesterday that the bush growth near my area is not the original, it was planted after the whole area was cleared about 80 years ago. You can't tell though.

Gileno, do you really think there is hope for a big regrowth of the amazonia ?

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amazondk

Wal,

Amazonia is mostly forest right now.  So, regrowth is not the concern, it is controlling conversion to other forms of land use, such as pasture for cattle and soy bean agro business farms.  Our state, Amazonas, which is the second largest tropical reforest  in the world after the Brazilian Amazonian forest is 98 percent forest cover.  Amazonia is more or less 60 percnet of Brazil and at least 80 percent is in forest land.  The key is to add value to the existing forest through sustainable forest management while giving incentive to economic uses which encourage regeneration of degraded areas into forest cover.

So, in my opinion at least Amzonia still has great potential to continue being the largest tropical forest in the world.  This does not mean that this goal will not be met without difficulties.  I am overall optimistic and trying to do my part to make this happen through sustainable forestry.

Now the Atlantic Coast Forest, Mata Atlantica is another story.  Most of Brazil's poplulation lives along the coast or in areas which were previously in the Mata Atlantica and regeneration of these areas are much more complicated.  The state of Sao Paulo was once mostly Atlantica Coast Forest, and over 35 million people live there today.  So, in spite of the best efforts there are severe limitations to forest regeneration.  Large areas of which was once tropical forest have been converted to Eucalyptus and Pine plantations.  I do not know if this is still true, but some years ago at least Brazil had the largest eucalyptus forests in the world.

dk

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bgl

Gileno,

Thanks a lot for the additional information. Most interesting! I've never been to Amazonas, but it's one of the areas that has always fascinated me, because of the incredible diversity of plants and animals.

Don,

I thought you'd tell me you're getting something like 5000 mm a year! In other words, wetter and more humid than a sauna running at full blast!! 2000 mm doesn't even officially qualify for rainforest - I think...!? Surely, there must be areas with much more rainfall than that? And you even have DRY periods!! You shattered my entire image of Manaus and Amazonas :D

The number of native (big) trees in our rainforest is extremely limited; the ohia (Metrosideros polymorpha) probably accounts for about 99% of "real" trees, and the remaining 1% a handful of Tetraplassandra hawaiiensis (I believe it's "ohe" in Hawaiian for anyone who's interested!). And then of course there are a number of other, smaller, native plants, such as a few different Hawaiian tree ferns (some shown above), and a vine, called Ie'ie in Hawaiian (Freycinetia arborea). This is a VERY vigorous vine that will climb up on anything vertical, and it really adds to that "tropical rainforest ambience"!! Here's one, the silhouette of its seemingly sharp leaves just barely visible.

post-22-1153350606_thumb.jpg

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bgl

And here's a close-up of another Ie'ie (I believe Dypsisdean has a few of these in his forest.....)

post-22-1153350678_thumb.jpg

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amazondk

Bo,

I am not really sure what qualifies as a rainforest or not.  I tend not even to use the word rainforest, I prefer tropical forest.  And, there are a lot of varieties of tropical forest.  For the most part in the Brazilian amazonian region there are very marked dry and wet seasons.  On the southern front of Amazonia the dry season is even more prnounced.  That is the region where there is the greatest amount of presssure on the forest and in the area of transition from the humid forest to the drier forest which transitions into the savanna lands of the Cerrado.  I am not sure if there is anywhere in the Brazilian forest with 5000 mm of percipitaiton per year.  Belem, on the Atlantic coastal side I believe gets up to 3000 mm per year of percipitation.  It stopped raining here about 45 days ago and we have had only a few days of rain since.  Even though we are south of the equator this season is known as summer locally as it is the hottest part of the year.  What really marks the seaons of the year here is the rise and fall of the water level of the rivers.  This can be up to 20 meters from high to low water.  Everything here moves around the rhythm of the rivers.

dk

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Dypsisdean

Bo's last comment lends itself to our last conversation in which I was complaining to him about all the ie'ie I had been removing the last 2 weeks. It is a beautiful native plant as can be seen below.

post-11-1153356123_thumb.jpg

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Dypsisdean

But there is too much of good things sometimes as it has engulfed a giant ohi'a which it then killed. After the ohi'a falls it continues to grow over and over itself until you have a 30 foot high 1/4 acre of spaghetti. But it still is nice to look at.

post-11-1153356466_thumb.jpg

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Dypsisdean

It's when you decide you would rather plant some palms in that area that the love affair ends, and some of the gnarliest manual labor begins. Each strand has to be individually cut and unwoven to be able to untangle it and remove it. The strands can be 50 feet long so it is all interconnected and even heavy equipment gets tangled in it.

post-11-1153356701_thumb.jpg

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Dypsisdean

But after a day with an excavator on tracks at $85/hr. and then 2 weeks of hand labor to load about 10 dump truck loads, I'm on my way with a path and room to plant a dozen or so more palms. I have hired 6 different guys at $20/hr. over the last year to help clean up the forest for planting. None returned for a second day.

post-11-1153357017_thumb.jpg

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Shon

Fly me over there and I will do it for free.I just need food,room and surf time.

                         Shon

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bgl

Dean,

Looks like you're making great progress! You definitely have more of a problem with the ie'ie than we do. In the forest here, it's easy to identify single plants, and cut them off, if need be. I prefer to leave them on the trees, but sometimes they're just in the way, and then I relocate them.

Don,

thanks for the additional information and for educating me about the tropical forest in Amazonas. I won't call it rainforest then :)  Still amazed that at 3800 mm per year here, we get more rain than the Amazonas....!

Bo

Oh, Shon, that's a great offer! I'll keep it in mind if things get desperate... Maybe Dean is interested....

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Dypsisdean

Shon,

Be careful what you wish for. I've got the food. I'll have the room soon and there's surf.

In case it sounds like I was complaining, I wasn't. When I need a break, put the chain saw down, and sit on a giant 200 year old fallen tree trunk, all I hear are the birds. Looking up I see the building clouds that will soon bring the afternoon rain. And as I glance over to an area I prepared last year, I already see a new 8 ft. leaf opening on the Pelagadoxa, and the Areca vestiaria are already head high. No, I am not complaining by any means.

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JakeK

(amazondk @ Jul. 19 2006,20:38)

QUOTE
Bo,

I am not really sure what qualifies as a rainforest or not.

Bo and Don,

One ecosystem that has fascinated me for the longest is the rainforest. Crazy thing is, what most people think of rainforest is not actually rainforest. There are some rough parameters for what a tropical rainforest should be, but just to give you an idea of the variability depending on local climates, rainfall patterns and elevation, here are the main categories all which can be found in the country I will be hiking in this November, Costa Rica.

1. Tropical Lowland Rainforest - Osa Peninsula on the Pacific Coast & the central and northern Caribbean coast. Rainfall averages between 5800-7700mm. No dry season or up to 4 months with minimal rainfall.

2. Tropical Moist Forest - South/central Pacific coast and southern Caribbean coast. 2000-4800mm

3. Tropical Humid Forest - Carara Reserve on the Pacifc coast. 1700-2000mm. Significant dry season up to 6 months long. About 50/50 evergreen during dry season.

4. Tropical Montane Rainforest - Roughly starting around 600m on the coastlines and 1200m inland. Very short dry season and with higher elevation turns into cloud forest, which generall have fairly low rainfall totals, usually around 2000mm.

Most areas in the world typically classified as tropical rainforest would fit in the tropical moist forest or tropical humid forest category. Very few areas actually have high enough year round average temps and consistent rainfall patterns (not monsoonal) to fall in the true tropical rainforest  category. Also don't forget the forests can either be oceanic or continental (basin type rainforests i.e.  the Amazon, Guatemala/Mexico, the Congo). They can also be seasonally-flooded "igapo" forests too.

Scientists can get pretty anal when it comes to categorizing something.

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bgl

Jake,

Wow, this is getting pretty involved! Based on that definition, sounds like our area would fall in the second category, Tropical Moist Forest. But it just doesn't sound the same when you say "I'm going hiking in the Moist Forest", so I think I'll continue to call it a "Rainforest". :)

Bo

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