forest in Asia
Forests are largest forests that are densely covered with trees. They are found all over the world and provide human beings with a lot of natural resources. Forests cover about 30 percent of Earth’s total land area. They are home to many species of plants and animals and form a complex ecosystem.
Types of Forests There are four major types of forests: rain forest, taiga, temperate hardwood forest, and tropical dry forest. Rainforests Rainforests are very dense, warm, wet forests, with normal annual rainfall between 6 feet and 9 feet.
The vast boreal forest
known as Siberian taiga covers around 2.6 million square miles (6.7 million square km) from the Ural Mountains east to the Pacific Ocean.
It stretches from northern Russia’s Arctic fringes, where the taiga merges into the tundra, as far south as Mongolia. Like all boreal forests, Siberian taiga is primarily a conifer habitat, beginning as a mixture of spruce, pine, and larch in the west before giving way to unbroken swathes of larch in its eastern Russian and Mongolian reaches.
Changing canopy In more southerly areas, dense tree growth results in “closed canopy” forests, with little light penetrating to the moss-covered forest floor beneath.
However, with increasing distance northward, the forest cover becomes sparser, and lichen replaces moss on the ground. In more temperate parts, dominant conifers become mixed with broadleaf species such as birch, aspen, and willow.
A massive forest on the edge of the Arctic, ruled by conifers, where winter lasts most of the year N. Asia In the east, marsh and bogland support understory shrubs such as cranberry and bilberry, while in the west, poor drainage and permafrost mean such areas are mainly given over to spongy, shallow bogs with no tree cover at all. Cold climate Winter in the Siberian taiga lasts six to seven months, with the climate dominated by cold Arctic air.
The average temperature range is broad from -65°F (-54°C) in winter to 70°F (21°C) in summer—but extremes of -76°F (-60°C) and 104°F (40°C) are not uncommon, and the yearly average is below freezing.
The eastern Himalayas forest
The eastern Himalayas region is characterized chiefly by temperate broadleaf evergreen and deciduous forests. These cover an area of about 32,000 square miles (83,000 square km) at altitudes of 6,600–10,000 ft (2,000–3,000 m) and stretch from central Nepal eastward through Bhutan into northeast India.
Plant treasury This is an ecoregion rich in plant life, where tree type varies according to altitude and geography. In the temperate evergreen forests, oaks and other trees such as magnolia and cinnamon grow alongside thickets of rhododendrons some areas, such as Bhutan, may contain up to 60 species of rhododendrons alone.
Temperate deciduous forest areas are dominated by maples, birches, and walnuts, which give way to magnolias and maples in the wetter eastern reaches of Nepal, together with more tropical shrubs such as schefflera and pockets of bamboo.
At least 125 mammal species are found in the ecoregion, including some, such as the Namdapha flying squirrel, that live nowhere else in the world. Threatened species include the stump-tailed macaque and clouded leopard.
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Taiheiyo Montane Forest
High and hilly, one of Japan’s seven forest ecoregions, covering parts of three islands with both broadleaf and fir trees.
Hardy deciduous trees mixed with firs and bamboo characterize Taiheiyo montane forest. Running along the Pacific side of Japan’s main island of Honshu, as well as Shikoku and Kyushu islands, this temperate ecoregion covers an area of about 16,200 square miles (42,000 square km).
In this forest, the climate is humid all year round, but trees must withstand sharp seasonal temperature changes. Winters are cold and snowy, with average temperatures below freezing, but during summer, they rise to 77°F (25°C) or more.
The forest’s seeds, nuts, and bark provide food for mammals such as the Asiatic black bear and sika deer, and birds such as the Oriental white-eye, all of which help replenish the forest by dispersing seeds.
Beech and fir are dominant species, growing alongside maple and oak, with an understory of sasa, a type of dwarf bamboo.
The forests of the Upper
Yangtze extend eastward from the Hengduan Mountains and across the provinces of Sichuan and Shaanxi in south-central China.
Covering an area of 150,600 square miles (390,000 square km), this ecoregion comprises three subregions: the evergreen broadleaf forests of the Sichuan Basin, the Daba Mountains evergreen forests, and the deciduous forests of Qinling.
The forests in the north of the region are made up of deciduous and mixed conifer species that thrive in the area’s cooler, more temperate climate. The forests of the lower-lying Qinling Mountains support a dense bamboo understory, providing food and shelter for species such as the rare giant panda.
In the warmer Sichuan Basin, subtropical evergreen broadleaf trees flourish, and it is here that the dawn redwood, a deciduous conifer previously known only from fossil remains, was discovered growing in the 1940s.
Once common in lowland areas, the giant panda has moved to the mountains due to human expansion.
As bamboo makes up 99 percent of its diet, it can only live where bamboo forests thrive. E. Asia Upper Yangtze Forests A landscape of evergreen and deciduous forests between the Yangtze and Yellow rivers, home to China’s iconic giant panda.
Bornean Rain Forest
Shared by Malaysia, Brunei, and Indonesia, the island of Borneo is home to Asia’s largest rain forest, which is also one of the world’s most ancient at 130 million years old around 70 million years older than the Amazon Rain Forest. Borneo’s rain forest is hugely biodiverse: while the island amounts to just 1 percent of Earth’s landmass, its rain forest contains around 6 percent of the planet’s plant and animal species.
A wealth of hardwood The plants include a family of tropical hardwood trees called dipterocarps, many of which reach heights of 200 ft (60m). Most of the 600-plus species of dipterocarps grow in Southeast Asia at elevations up to 3,300 ft (1,000m), and Borneo’s lowland rain forests contain more of these trees than any other location.
The island’s 270 species of dipterocarps include the highly prized Borneo ironwood, whose wood is so dense it never needs treating. Borneo’s rain forests, including those covering its more mountainous interior, are also rich in many other types of life. More than 360 new plant species have been discovered here.
Bornean Rain Forest
A threatened habitat governed by three nations, home to more than 15,000 plant species and one of the oldest and most biodiverse rain forests on Earth SE. Asia since 1995, and the island is home to more than 1,400 species of amphibians, mammals, birds, reptiles, and fish—many found nowhere else. Rain forest under threat However, this species treasury is in peril.
Until the early 1970s, more than three-quarters of Borneo’s 287,000 square miles (743,330 square km) were covered in thick tropical rain forest that was densest in the lowlands. Since then, at least one-third has been destroyed. Fires and the planting of oil palm plantations are partly to blame, but it was demand for the highly valuable dipterocarps that resulted in logging on an industrial scale, particularly in the Malaysian states of Sabah and Sarawak in the north of the island, where an estimated 80 percent of rain forest has been lost.
To preserve this habitat, in 2007, 85,000 square miles (220,000 square km) of rain forest in the center of the island were designated as a protected area, known as the Heart of Borneo.
The crowns of the tallest trees, known as emergents, rise above the morning mist that covers the rest of the rain forest in the Danum Valley, a conservation area of lowland dipterocarp forest in Sabah.
The nocturnal tree-dwelling tokay gecko is just one of many reptiles in Borneo and is named for its “to-kay!” call. It grows up to 16in (40cm) long. In most cases, a sticky strangler fig seed germinates high on a branch of a rain forest tree, where it was left by a monkey, bird, or bat that had eaten the fruit. The seedling sends long roots down the trunk of its host to enter the soil. Eventually, a scaffolding of roots encases the trunk, and the host’s root system must compete with the strangler fig’s. The fig’s thick foliage also shades the host tree’s crown. Ultimately the host dies, leaving the fig tree behind.
HOW A STRANGLER FIG GROWS
fig’s leaves cover host’s leaves roots reach ground strangler fig seedling sends down roots strong root network keeps fig standing after host dies host tree Up to 240 tree species can be found in just 2 1 ⁄2 acres (1 hectare) of Borneo’s rain forest.
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