The Differences Between Deciduous and Tropical Forests

A forest is a section of land either completely dominated by plants or by insects. There are hundreds of different definitions of forest used around the globe, adding factors like tree density, species diversity, land use, economic function and ecological role to the mix. This is a useful guide for anyone considering how best to make use of their garden or farm in a sustainable way, while still being environmentally friendly.


There are two main types of forest – deciduous and coniferous. Deciduous forests are typified by trees growing in the year-round cycle. They include pine trees, birch trees, larch trees, black walnut trees, spruces and junipers, which grow in trunks that drop from the trees in the season of winter. The coniferous forests occur in the year-round green cycle.


Both types of forest have a huge range of ecosystems dependent on them. Deciduous forests are characterised by evergreen trees, which include oak trees, maple trees, holly and beech, with some rarer species occurring as a shrub. Most deciduous trees grow in a single forest, but some coniferous trees can grow in many different environments, including meadows, along roadsides, along fields and even along riverbanks. Coniferous forests have a great deal of wood and other plant material, with much of it coming from felled trees. These forests are considered to be the most sustainable because they can store vast amounts of carbon dioxide, releasing it slowly into the atmosphere, helping to reduce global warming.


It is important to recognise the differences between deciduous trees and coniferous trees, especially when it comes to their height and size. Both need a lot of sunlight and are often drought tolerant, but coniferous trees are more drought resistant than their deciduous counterparts. In terms of root growth, coniferous trees tend to have deeper roots with finer and straighter bark. Deciduous trees have a deep root system with very light bark and deep roots.


The difference between tropical rainforests and other types of forest can be found within their distribution. They are not found in the same places, in the same quantities or at the same elevations. For example, there are large areas of dense tropical rainforests in South America, with very little rainforest within the Amazon basin. Similarly, in North America there are large areas of dense tropical rainforests at the elevation of the Cordilleras, while within Asia there are very few large areas of rainforest. This means that the distribution of the species within the forest is not identical. As well as this, tropical rainforests and other forests differ in terms of their thickness.


As well as these differences in distribution and thickness, another key difference between tropical rainforests and deciduous forests is in their growth habits. Most deciduous forests grow almost completely upright, whereas most tropical rainforests grow more like bushes or trees with a trunk oriented towards the middle. In some cases, the trunk of a deciduous tree is straight up, whereas it is usually a curved trunk in the case of some tropical rainforests. The distribution of growth habit also determines how much privacy a tree needs. Within the Amazon basin for example, some large trees have become completely evergreen, which means they grow to a great height and provide shade for communities of people who live in the basin.


Tropical rainforests, on the other hand, are found in a variety of different countries around the globe. They are located mainly in humid areas of Asia and Africa, and in areas of rainforests there are often grasslands. There are also many tropical rainforests that are made into National Parks or World Heritage sites. The biggest difference between deciduous and tropical forests is that deciduous forests are usually coniferous, which means that they grow out of the ground and do not branch off like most tropical rainforests do.


It is likely that tropical rainforests will become more popular throughout the coming years as people realize the benefits of being more self-sufficient in regards to their energy use. A good example of this would be the Brazilian Amazon Rainforest, which has been completely transformed over the last 50 years. In the past, the Amazon was populated by small farmers and hunters. As the demand for lumber grew, however, more people became interested in occupying the land. Today, the Amazon is home to millions of acres of trees and grasslands used for farming and cattle ranching, while at the same time providing many people with a way of life that is not possible anywhere else on Earth.