Costa Rica’s rainforest canopies tower 150 feet tall — these are the last biotic frontier

Source: The post is based on an article “Costa Rica’s rainforest canopies tower 150 feet tall — these are the last biotic frontierpublished in The Times of India on 14th January 2023.

Syllabus: GS 3 – Environment

Relevance: importance canopies of rainforests

News: Research has been carried out on the canopies of the rainforests of Costa Rica. This article discusses the features and impacts of rainforest canopies.

What are some important features of rainforest canopies?

Canopy when compared to forest floor is full of sunshine, windier, and with extremes temperature and humidity.

This is because the diversity of plants and animals evolved to live in this micro-environment could not be even seen in the forest floors.

Canopies also perform several functions such as capture nutrients and provide resources for birds, mammals and insects.

Therefore, anything which affects canopies impacts the rainforest as a whole.

Moreover, canopies are also known as the last biotic frontier because it is very hard to reach those canopies as they are at a great height from the forest floor.

What are epiphytes and what are their roles in the forests?

Epiphytes are plants which grow on the trunks and branches of trees. They lack roots due to which they don’t get nutrients from trees or the ground.

Instead, they derive nutrients from rainfall, mist and cloud. When they perish and fall to the forest floor, they pass these nutrients to other members of the ecosystem.

So, these epiphytes function as giant sponges in the canopy which move nutrient resources down into the forest ecosystem.

Further, in the research it was found that one-third of all the bird visits were to the epiphytes, not the host tree. Hence, epiphytes play an important role in the lives of the birds and animals occupying such rainforests.

What is the importance of rainforest canopies in human life?

It produces oxygen and material for medicines. Therefore, Costa Rica is also trying to conserve the rainforest due to their wide uses and benefits.


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