Global Overview of Tropical Dry Forests

Global Overview of Tropical Dry Forests

G. N. Tanjina Hasnat, Mohammed Kamal Hossain
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-0014-9.ch001
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Forests cover almost one-third of the Earth's land surface. Tropical dry forests are the second-most-important forest type in the world covering approximately 42% of tropical and sub-tropical forest area. The main features of these forests are their deciduousness, a prolonged dry period extending 3-9 months, and little annual precipitation of 250-2,000 mm. Tropical dry forests are found in five of the eight realms in the world. More than half of the forests are distributed in the Americas, with other portions in Africa, Eurasia, Australia, and Southeast Asia. The forests are unique in nature, and provide shelter to a huge number of endemics and endangered species. Among woody plant species, about 40% are not found anywhere in the world. These forests are now the most threatened among all forest types. The conservation status of these forests is endangered. Deforestation, rapid civilization, land conversion, fire, and climate change are the major threats. Proper management with time-oriented policy could be helpful to restore these forests and protect the existing remnant areas.
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Favorable climatic condition for tropical dry forest generally found between two parallels of latitude, the Tropic of Cancer (23º27’ N) and the Tropic of Capricorn (23º27’ S) where there is a little precipitation only for a few months and a prolonged dry period, generally, ranges from three to seven months (Holdridge, 1967; Janzen, 1983; Murphy & Lugo, 1986; Luttge, 1997; Piperno & Pearsall, 2000).

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