Armadillos live in California

Botany: Forests of the World

What kind of forests are there anyway? And how do rainforests, hardwood forests, coniferous forests and mixed forests differ from one another? Here you can find profiles of the different forests

In the tropical rainforest

The wild, evergreen rainforests around the equator are often called "Green Hell". But they are a paradise for millions and millions of living beings: nowhere else on earth are there so many different animal and plant species

Surface: around 13.4 million square kilometers worldwide - 37 times the area of ​​Germany

Climate: The thermometer does not drop below 24 degrees Celsius even in the colder months. In addition, around 2000 liters of rain per square meter fall annually. An atmosphere like in a steam bath.

Top height: 40 meters - as high as a Ferris wheel on the fairground. Individual giant trees, up to 60 meters high, protrude far beyond it.

Tree species: 600 different per hectare - that is a world record

Residents: Researchers suspect that 70 percent of all land creatures are at home in the tropical rainforests, a total of up to 30 million animal and plant species! Among them are the macaws and birds of paradise that nest on the top floor of the rainforest, the bright tops of the jungle giants. Snakes, spiders, chameleons, monkeys and sloths live on the first floor, the crown region. Tapirs or armadillos roam the shady thicket on the ground floor, depending on the continent. Crocodiles, piranhas and river dolphins also live in rivers such as the Amazon.

King of the Forest: the forest elephant. With a shoulder height of 2.40 meters and a stately three tons weight, it is the largest animal in the tropical rainforest.

In the Hartlaubwald

Squat trunks, gnarled branches, thick, leathery leaves: this is how the trees in the light-flooded hardwood forests defy heat and drought worldwide. But they have been cut down for centuries and can therefore only be found in a few places on earth

Surface: around three million square kilometers worldwide - eight times the area of ​​Germany

Climate: In summer there is a constant risk of forest fires on hot, dry days with over 30 degrees Celsius. In the mild, short winters, 300 to 1000 liters of rain fall per square meter.

Top height: 10 to 15 meters - high as a four-story house

Tree species: 20 to 30 different per hectare, such as holm oaks, olive trees, pines or cedars. Outstanding exception: the up to 110 meters high California coastal sequoia trees

Residents: Despite all the droughts, the hardwood forests are extremely diverse. Around ten percent of all known plant species on earth sprout here. They provide home and food for many animal species: beetles seek shelter from the scorching sun in the cracked tree bark. Ants teem on the ground. Flowering bushes and shrubs attract wild bees and birds such as the Cape Eater with their nectar, and later finches and parrots with their seeds. Larger animals are rare: in North America coyotes, hares and black-tailed deer roam the forests, in Australia gray giant kangaroos and various species of wallaby.

Queen of the forest: the Argentine ant. Within a few years it conquered the forests of the Mediterranean coasts and displaced many native species of ants and other insect species.

In the northern coniferous forest

To the north, the deciduous deciduous forests merge into robust coniferous forests. Like a belt, in some places up to 2000 kilometers wide, they span the globe. They are the largest contiguous forests in the world

Surface: around 13.4 million square kilometers worldwide - 37 times the area of ​​Germany

Climate: The summers are cold, the winters even colder - and long, sometimes six months or more. Then temperatures of up to minus 40 degrees Celsius prevail. The annual 150 to 500 liters of precipitation per square meter therefore often fall as snow.

Top height: 35 to 45 meters - as high as a church tower

Tree species: only one or two different ones per hectare, such as white and black spruce, fir, pine or larch

Residents: In order to defy the frosty winter, the residents have a few tricks ready. The Canadian lynx, for example, has powerful paws; When walking, his weight is distributed over a large area - so he does not sink into the often meter-high snow. His favorite prey, the snowshoe hare, also uses this trick. Reindeer have hairy lips and the tips of their noses to keep snow out of their noses and mouths when they eat. The Canadian forest frog produces a particularly large amount of sugar in its cells. Like an antifreeze, it prevents the fluid in the body's cells from freezing.

King of the Forest: the brown bear. No other predator in the Nordic coniferous forests can bite as hard: the pressure on its jaw is comparable to a weight of 194 kilograms that falls on our feet.

In the rain-green forest

Some forests in the tropics and subtropics are "topless" during the dry season: the trees shed their leaves. But as soon as the rainy season begins, new leaves sprout, lianas hang from the branches - and the cycle starts all over again

Surface: around 14.9 million square kilometers worldwide - 42 times the area of ​​Germany

Climate: For two to seven months of the year it doesn't rain at all, the rest of the time it's all the more violent: about 700 to 1500 liters per square meter. The average temperatures are mostly around 20 degrees Celsius.

Top height: 20 to 35 meters - on average as high as the Brandenburg Gate

Tree species: up to 100 different trees per hectare, e.g. eucalyptus trees in Australia, valuable teak trees in Asia

Residents: Some rain-green forests, the wet forests, are similar to the rain forests. Others, the dry forests, are gnarled and thorny. That is why every forest is home to its very own crazy creatures: In Asia, for example, the fur flutter, a rodent, glides from tree to tree with the help of a flight membrane between front and rear paws. South American leaf cutter ants grow mushrooms in underground burrows and feed on them. And even a mammal that lays eggs crawls through the Australian forests: the beaked hedgehog.

King of the Forest: the King Tiger, not just because of the name! The cats are among the largest predators of the subtropics. Their only enemy: the human who hunts tigers and destroys their habitat. Only 2500 of the graceful animals live on the Indian subcontinent.

In the summer green mixed forest

In summer their leaves shine lush green, in autumn they shine in all shades of red and yellow: the deciduous and mixed forests in North America, Europe and Asia change their face with every season. That shapes life in the woods

Surface: around 10.5 million square kilometers worldwide - 29 times the area of ​​Germany

Climate: The summers are warm with an average of 20 degrees Celsius, the winters with minus degrees cold. And rain falls all year round, between 500 and 1000 liters per square meter.

Top height: up to 50 meters - as high as the Berlin Reichstag

Tree species: 20 different per hectare, including mainly oak, red beech, fir, spruce and Douglas fir