The term jungle actually refers to a tropical
forest at a certain stage in the succession process. Because a disturbed area is exposed to sun, plants grow especially quickly. The
bushes and vines grow thickly, and do not reach as high as the surrounding forest. In many areas, since the rainforest soil is so poor,
repeated clearing of the forest will lead to severe soil depletion, and the normal patterns of succession will no longer occur. Instead of
returning to forest, the area will become a savanna because there aren't enough nutrients remaining in the soil to support trees.
Jungles typically contain very thick vegetation with numerous vines and low bushes, but without trees reaching as high as ones in mature rainforest. Photo by Maya Walters.
[tropical forests] [soil] [plants] [threats to forests]
view the condensed version of the ecological succession article for faster printing/reading
return to the forests through time article