Cloud forest: what is it, characteristics, flora, fauna and importance

foggy forest

Among the different types of ecosystems we find some more curious than others and with some special characteristics. Today we are going to talk about foggy forest. It is also known by the name of cloud forest and it is a type of humid forest that is usually located in subtropical or tropical mountains. It is mainly characterized by its high density of fog on the surface.

In this article we are going to tell you all the characteristics, flora, fauna and curiosities of the cloud forest.

Key features

cloud forests of the world

cloud forests of the world

The cloud forest is a type of humid mountain forest both tropical and subtropical. Its main characteristic is that of having a high density of fog both on the surface and on the tree canopy. All the trees that make up the cloud forest are usually grouped within ecosystems such as it is the pluvisilva or the rain forest.

They are also called tropical cloud forests and have diverse habitats found in the intertropical mountainous areas. Among the main characteristics of these ecosystems we have high levels of rainfall, humidity, mist, fogs and high temperatures throughout the year. The contrast between these meteorological and climatological variables they generate a very dense amount of fog that makes ecosystems incredibly beautiful.

The problem with this beauty is that they are ecosystems that are too vulnerable since they are formed by a dense layer of trees. The trees they are made of have a temperate and tropical climate origin. Here we find a predominance of the tropical zone over the rest. We see that in this type of ecosystem the most abundant plants are orchids and ferns. These plants are adapted to the current environmental conditions. They are plants that need high rainfall throughout the year combined with high temperatures.

Since these forests develop in areas that are loaded with water vapor or dew at the flora level, the degree of solar exposure is reduced. This makes the evaporation of water by the plants much less.

Cloud forest flora

cloud forest vegetation

foggy forest vegetation

We are going to talk about the vegetation that grows in these types of forests. It must be taken into account that they are adapted to these conditions of temperature and rainfall. Therefore, it is normal for the trees that grow in these forests to have shallower roots. Since the amount of solar radiation that falls on the surface is less, it needs roots closer to the surface. We also found roots shorter but heavier than trees that grow in areas or lower altitudes and lower humidity.

We are talking about an area that favors the development of vascular epiphytic plants. The fact that these plants require high humidity and large amounts of rainfall make this ecosystem one of the most vulnerable to climate change. As we know, climate changes will not only be global, but also on a regional scale. All regions that have a cloud forest are more vulnerable to these changes. Deforestation and massive felling of trees without any control becomes one of the main negative impacts of these trees. All areas where cloud forests are found does not have a dry season. However, this indicates that the amount of precipitation may decrease during some part of the year. However, although rainfall levels decrease for a few months, they tend to maintain a high degree of humidity.

Importance of the cloud forest

cloud forests

cloud forests

These forests are not only more curious because they develop in strange environmental conditions, but they are also very important for the planet. And it is that these forests have soils very rich in nutrients and, therefore, and in biodiversity. In these soils we find a great diversity of mosses and ferns that they are usually swampy in nature with a predominance of peat and humus. We know that these soils are rich in nutrients and that they are capable of supporting a very varied vegetation.

As we have mentioned before, the most abundant plants in these places are orchid-type flowers. The clouds near the density of trees are those that contribute the mist and fog continuously. Moisture and rain condense on the leaves and fall on the ground in the form of small drops of water. For this reason, these forests are sometimes called mossy forests, mesophilic forests or laurel forests. One of the most famous laurel forests in the world is located in Tenerife in the northern part. There you can find a large number of trees, mosses and ferns throughout the year with great contribution of humidity and rainfall. Some tourists call these areas as enchanted forest since they seem to have come from a story.

Among the importance of the cloud forest for the planet we find a high biodiversity and a high amount of endemisms. As expected, given that the environmental conditions here are unique, we find unique species of flora and fauna. There are approximately 150 species of plants, 120 species of birds, 40 species of orchids, 15 species of mammals, 50 species of butterflies and 5 of mammals, as well as native fruit and medicinal species.

Cloud forests scattered around the world

We find various areas around the world where we can find cloud forest. Let’s see which are the main areas:

  • Central America: here you will find the largest amount of cloud forests in the world. They are usually mountainous areas at an altitude greater than 1000 meters.
  • South America: here you can find cloud forests in Ecuador and Peru. It is known by the name of cloud forests.
  • Africa: The most important cloud forests in Africa are found in the foothills and mountains of the Congo Basin in central Africa.
  • Asia: here you can find cloud forests in the mountains and hills of some regions of China, Indonesia and Indochina.

I hope that with this information you can learn more about what the cloud forest is and what is its importance for the planet.

Cloud forest: what is it, characteristics, flora, fauna and importance

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