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Tropical Rain Forest Biome The tropical rain forest biome is at least 65 million years old They are among the Earths oldest forest communities Tropical rain forests get their name from their location between the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn on either side of the Equator They are also found in lowlands There are more varieties of species of plants and animals in tropical rain forests than in all the worlds ecosystems combined Around 70 percent of all plant species in the rain forest are trees All tropical rain forests are vertically stratified usually having three to five layers of plant life There are emergent trees protruding partly or completely above the upper canopy one to three different closed canopies and the understory The upper canopy can reach approximately thirty to fifty meters 100 to 165 ft above ground Wood like vines called lianas weave through the branches of trees Lianas usually exceed twenty centimeters 8 inches in diameter their tops are able to reach the upper canopy Dense communities of epiphytes such as bromeliads and orchids grow on the trunks and branches of trees This location gives them more access to sunlight Epiphytes do not have contact with the ground and as a result have special adaptations to obtain water and nutrients Epiphytes can derive nutrients from dust particles animal droppings and other matter that comes into contact with the trees Some epiphytes have roots that allow them to absorb moisture from the humid atmosphere Others can catch rain in special hollow leaves The pools of rain water that collect in the leaves are homes to water beetles mosquitoes and other aquatic insects Ferns can also be considered members of the epiphyte community All rain forest contain arboreal animals animals that live in the canopy In dense tropical rain forest most animals live in the canopy More then 50 percent of mammals and 90
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