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Tropical dry and rain forest are terms that are often used synonymously but with little precision The more meaningful and restrictive of these terms is rain forest which refers to the climax or primary forest in regions with high rainfall greater than 18 m70 in per year chiefly but not exclusively found in the tropics Rain forests are significant for their valuable timber resources and in the tropics they afford sites for commercial crops such as rubber tea coffee bananas and sugarcane They also include some of the last remaining areas of the Earth that are both unexploited economically and greatly known scientifically The term jungle originally referred to the tangled brushy vegetation of lowlands in India but it has come to be used for any type of tropical forest or woodland The word is more meaningful if limited to the dense scrubby vegetation that develops when primary rain forest has been degraded by destructive forms of logging or by cultivation followed by abandonment Rain forests may be grouped into two major types tropical and temperate Tropical rain forest is characterized by broadleaf evergreen trees forming a closed canopy an abundance of vines and epiphytes plants growing on the trees a relatively open forest floor and a very large number of species of both plant and animal life The largest trees have huge trunks and emerge above the continuous canopy while smaller trees commonly form a layer of more shade-tolerant species beneath the upper canopy The maximum height of the upper canopy of tropical rain forests is generally about 30 to 50 m 100 to 165 ft with some individual trees rising as high as 60 m 200 ft above the forest floor The largest areas of tropical rain forest are in the Amazon basin of South America in the Congo basin and other lowland equatorial regions of Africa and on both the mainland and the islands off Southeast Asia where they are especially abundant
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