|Climatic diversity helps create diversity in the forest. Because the average annual temperature, precipitation, and the length of the growing season vary so greatly depending on location, the types of plants and animals also vary. Species adapt over thousands of years for the climate in their particular area, and the variety in local climates creates diversity among species.|
However, the more days that are too dry or too
cold for plant growth, or the more "extreme" the climate, the less diversity there is in any particular forest. Any single area where there are
great fluctuations in temperature and rainfall will have limited diversity. This is simply because a limited number of species can cope with
such conditions. Tropical rainforests, which enjoy a year-long growing season and relatively little temperature change during the year
support many more plants and animals than the boreal forests, where temperatures drop well below freezing for much of the year.
Left and above: A northern temperate forest is covered in snow for about four months each year, while a tropical rainforest has a year-long growing season. Photos by Maya Walters.
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