Biotic and Abiotic Factors of the Rainforest - Summary

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Jungles, also known as rainforests or jungles, are very important biomes since they provide much of the oxygen we need to live. Structured vertically in different floors or levels, the flora and fauna that shelter the jungles is very diverse and abundant, which responds to climatic conditions strongly marked by abundant rainfall and generally warm temperatures.

If you want to delve into the biotic and abiotic factors of the forestKeep reading this Green Ecologist article where you can discover what the biotic factors of the jungle are, what abiotic factors characterize it and also the different types of forests that exist based on altitude, latitude and humidity.

Biotic factors of the rainforest

Located in the tropics of Cancer and Capricorn, the jungles have become ideal settings for the development of life; therefore, they are considered hotspots or biodiversity hotspots. In this way, biotic factors of forests they are very diverse.

Jungle flora

There are different types of forests, each one characterized by certain climatic conditions that have led to the development of one type of vegetation or another. However, they all have in common the great richness of species of flora that they harbor, the majority being woody plants.

Thanks to the vertical stratification, this flora of the jungle is distributed in different floors or levels that favor the diversity of habitats, among which it is worth highlighting:

  • The emerging zone, where tall trees predominate fundamentally, with dense leaves and branches, such as ceiba, rubber or mahogany.
  • The canopy or ogee zone where, as in the emerging zone, the lianas (plants that take root in the ground and take advantage of others to grow) and the epiphytes (plants that live on others without rooting in the ground) of jokes, lilies or orchids stand out, although the trees are smaller and more dense (species of the genus Ficus), thus preventing the passage of light to lower strata. In addition, it should be noted that some of them have leaves with an elongated tip to facilitate runoff phenomena during abundant rainfall.
  • The understory configures a floor of shrubs and bushes up to 5 m (such as palm trees and philodendrons), which grow in the spaces that are available between the large trees of higher levels.
  • The interior stratum to understory, in which mosses and plants adapted to the absence of light predominate (eg: sclerophyllous).

Jungle fauna

The diversity, abundance and distribution of the species of fauna of the forest is strongly influenced by the peculiarities of the vegetation. Such is this that, on each floor it is possible to find different species of fauna, with the particularity that it is in the trees where most of the jungle animals live, as they are the most abundant type of vegetation.

In this sense, it is possible to find parrots or harpy eagles in the emerging area; flying squirrels, chameleons, toucans, monkeys or tree frogs in the canopy; arboreal pangolins, toads, sajinos or turtles in the understory; trunk rats, worms, ants or anteaters in the lower layer of the understory. Here you can learn more about What animals live in the rainforest.

You can read more about this topic in this other article on Biotic factors: what they are, characteristics, classification and examples.

Abiotic factors of the forest

The abiotic factors or environmental conditions that most influence the development and metabolism of living beings in the jungle are:

Solar radiation

Solar radiation is the only source of energy that plants use to carry out photosynthetic activity. In the jungle, the vegetation of the upper strata is exposed to solar radiation all year round, favoring its development. In response to this exposure, many plants have adaptations to avoid water stress. For example: in larger plants, the leaves are smaller to avoid loss of water by direct exposure to light. However, understory plants, which do not receive as much direct light, have larger leaves to take advantage of all the light. In addition, it should be noted that, since most of the light is absorbed in the uppermost layers, in this ecosystem we find many epiphytes that grow on larger plants to have a greater exposure to sunlight.

Atmospheric humidity

Atmospheric humidity is a factor that determines the development of animals more than that of plants, being for the latter an important resource. In these ecosystems, the relative humidity (R.H.) is high, normally higher than 80% vapor.


Temperature is the most important ecological factor, since in general, as the speed of metabolic processes increases, the speed of metabolic processes increases. In the jungle, with an average annual temperature of 25ºC, humidity levels remain high and, consequently, living beings show rapid growth. In the case of animals, since they do not need to expend body energy in maintaining a warm temperature, they use it to reproduce more frequently, which explains the great biodiversity that we can find in the jungles.

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Plants obtain water and mineral nutrients from the soil and, although most of them need to absorb the same essential elements, their proportion and fate is different, so the mineral composition of plant tissues varies from one species to another.

In the jungles, the soil is not very fertile, as it is subject to chemical weathering. In this sense, the high temperatures favor the processes of decomposition of organic matter and the nutrients in many cases are washed by the intense rains. The latter causes an acidification of the soil, with high concentrations of aluminum and iron oxides, which gives them a reddish color.

To learn more about the biotic and abiotic factors of an ecosystem or biome, we encourage you to read these other articles by Green Ecologist about Difference between biotic and abiotic and Abiotic factors: what they are, characteristics and examples.

Types of rainforests

There are different types of forests according to some factors of the climate of the forests, such as: altitude, humidity or latitude.

Types of jungle according to altitude

Mainly we can differentiate 3 types of forests:

  • Basal jungle, plain or plain, characterized by presenting a flat relief, with a height of less than 1000 meters above sea level.
  • Montana jungle, of Mountain, Cloudy forest or highland jungle. An example is the yungas that we find in the Andes Mountains.
  • Gallery jungle or from rivera, more typical of intertropical zones, is located on the river margins.

Types of jungle according to humidity

Mainly we can differentiate 3 types of forests:

  • Super humid jungle, with high rates of precipitation, the foliage is evergreen, although 25% of it can be lost in times of drought.
  • Wet jungleWith less rainfall than in the super-humid forest, the foliar loss is greater, ranging between 25-50% during the dry seasons.
  • Sub-humid jungle, deciduous or dry forest, It is characterized by alternating dry seasons (in which the foliage is lost in its entirety) and rainy. By comparison, these forests are less biodiverse, but the species they host are the most valuable timber resources for humans.

Types of jungle according to latitude

Mainly we can differentiate 5 types of forests:

  • Equatorial rainforest, located in the equatorial zone, as its name suggests, is one of the most biodiverse forests that exist. With average annual temperatures that are around 27ºC, it bears certain similarities with tropical forests, although they are not the same. The equatorial forest predominates in the Amazon (South America), the Congo (Africa) and in Malaysia, a biogeographic region located between the Indomalaya or Eastern region (from Afghanistan and Pakistan to occupying Southeast Asia) and Australasia (Australia, Melanesia and New Zealand) .
  • Rain forest or tropical forest, characterized by its warm climate, with average annual temperatures that exceed 24ºC, it is one of the densest and most populated forests, widely distributed in Latin America. In fact, thanks to these abiotic factors of the tropical forest, despite occupying only 6% of the earth's surface, it is estimated that it is home to more than 50% of species of flora and fauna that exist on our planet.
  • Subtropical rainforest, associated with humid climates with average annual temperatures below 24ºC, presents a geographical distribution greater than that of the tropical forest, located in areas of southern Brazil, in Paraguay, in northern Argentina and in the coastal areas of southern Africa and Australia
  • Temperate rainforest, also known as laurel forest or laurel forest, it is located in areas with milder temperatures that can drop to 10ºC and with less abundant rainfall. The Appalachian Jungle (North America) and the Valdivian Jungle (South America, mainly in Chile and Argentina) stand out.
  • Subpolar jungle or cold jungle, with colder and drier temperatures than in the Valdivian forests, it extends through the southernmost areas of the Andes, occupied by glaciers during the last ice age, which explains the presence of fjords and glacial lakes in these ecosystems.

In this other summary we will tell you much more about the Types of forests and their characteristics.

If you want to read more articles similar to Biotic and abiotic factors of the rainforest, we recommend that you enter our Ecosystems category.

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