Ancient Art Of Magic Essay

2930 words - 12 pages

GuardiaJuan David GuardiaTeacher Roberto LombardoBiology 10423 August ,2013Nature ReservesTropical Rainforests are forests that emerge in tropical regions where there is profound rainfall. It has a lot of animals and plants. Rainforests are where almost half of the animals in Earth live. They are very complex ecosystem. Tropical rainforests are located in the region of the equator where temperatures keep on close to 80 degrees year round. Rainforests obtain 160 to 400 inches of rain each year. The leading rainforests are in Brazil, located in South America, Zaire in Africa and Indonesia in South East Asia. Other tropical rainforest places are in Hawaii and the islands of the Pacific & Caribbean.Rainforests are made up of four distinctive environments. These sub-ecosystems are referred to as levels. Each level has different conditions. Animals and plants make adaptations in the environment to go along with the conditions of each level. The four different levels in the tropical rainforests are the emergent level, the canopy level, the under story level and the forest floor. This four layers or sub-ecosystems, as mentioned, are divided into layers because of their size of the trees and plant life.The emergent level is the upper one. It contains the tallest trees. They are usually 50 meters tall and over that. They can reach really high. They can be up to 180 to 200' in height. That is amazing! This level is one of the most dazzling because it is the one that receive most of the sunlight. The emergent level has expanded dried out spells and periods of deep rain. Over time, these trees have learned to acclimatize to such changes. The most ordinary types of trees inhabiting the emergent layer are hardwood evergreens and broad-leaf. Two primary examples of such emergent layer trees are the Kapok and the Brazil nut. The emergent level is the level where there is the most optimum bird or aviary life; almost one thirds of the birds in the world live in the rainforests.Below the emergent level there is the canopy level. The canopy level is the one that is called "the sea of leaves". It contains more than half of the animals in a rainforest. The canopy layer is the one where the main life is supported with large amounts of foods and shelter over the other two layers below. This includes birds, butterflies, monkeys, parrots, the sloth, tree frogs, toucans, jaguars and leopards. It also has a lot of trees that serve as an umbrella to the other layers underneath. It has a thick branch of trees including vines or lianas and limbs. This layer absorbs the ultra-violet sunlight and absorbs it, this way everything below that layer is protected. In addition, it retains moisture and is good for "wash-outs" when there is serious rainfall during the rainy season because they prevent them.The expansive, unequal tops of these trees form a stiff, continuous canopy 60 to 90 feet higher than the ground. The branches are regularly densely enclosed with other plants like epiphytes and attached collectively with vines or the lianas.Finally, many Epiphytic Plants, who are used to be called as "air plants" such as Bromeliads and Orchids grow in this layer. The roots of this plant cannot reach the ground or live in soil. Instead they flourish by captivating humidity and nutrients through an above ground root system by connecting themselves to a host.The next level of the rainforest is the under story level. This layer is in the middle between the canopy layer and the last one which is the forest floor. This layer is also called the shrub layer. It is where there is the densest plant growth. It is like a dark place where there is no penetrable natural habitat tangled with vines, shrub and broadleaf trees; provides also ferns that do not need a lot of light.The only place where the sunlight is sufficient is the rivers and roadways and tree fall and cut areas. There the sunlight is allowed enough so the growth becomes thick and impenetrable. So, this layer provides little quantities of sunlight .It receive only two to fifteen percent of the sunlight that reaches the understory. It may be important to know that many of the plants that people have in their houses come from this layer.This layer provides a great camouflage so the species that live in here intercept with the ones in the canopy layer. Trees in this layer have an average of 12 to 15 feet in height and have really remarkable large leaves that compensate the deficiency of sunlight. The leaves are very large. The many species living in the understory layer are like for the night-time. Examples of species in this layer are tree frogs, bats, owls, and an amazing collection of insect like the well known team working "Leaf Cutter Ants" or also the "Army Ants" that are not that common, but they are really known in this layer.The last layer is the forest floor which is like the ground layer. This layer is also very dark and damp because there is almost nothing of sunlight in it. This layer receives less than two percent of the sunlight so little almost anything can grow in this layer, except for little plants that are used to low light. This is also because of the quality of the soil in the layer. Some plants are for example: moss, ferns, and some low growth plants and vine roots. It has a thin layer of fallen leaves, seeds, fruits, and branches that very quickly decomposes.Also, has a layer called litter; this layer contain rotten leaves and dead animals. This thin layer luckily decomposes rapidly in a period of like 6 weeks so it can form thin humus that is rich in nutrients. This layer is only found in temperate deciduous forests. This layer is also prosperous in microorganism so it is easier for the process of decomposition making a natural fertilizer that goes beyond wealthy. Examples of the animals in this layer are giant anteaters, beetles, frogs, lizards, snakes, termites, and insects of every kind bloom by the millions in the humid, shady weather of the Forest Floor.As I went to Barro Colorado I could experience all of these layers and see every detail of it. Barro Colorado is an island in the Lake Gatun located in Panama. This is a tropical rainforest that shows a lot of everything. It has a variety of plants and animals. I had the opportunity to go there so I would like to proceed telling my really fun voyage.I woke up early at 5:30 am. I wore some long jeans as it was requested and the school gym shirt because I knew it could be hot out there in the forest. I packed by back with water, some snacks and Off which was very important. It was almost a 40 minute drive until Gamboa and then I got to the little place of the Smithsonian Institute. As soon as I arrived they told me to wait for the guide. After some minutes I heard an enthusiastic voice; it was our guide. She presented herself and made us present each other. She kept our attention for the whole time due to her energetic personality.She started talking about the diversity of the animals and plants in Barro Colorado and why she loved nature so much. Then, she directed us to a map of Barro Colorado. She first started telling us about the French people coming here and wanting to build a Canal and all that. She also told us about a place we should visit that is near Barro Colorado and has a great part of Panama's history that is Fort San Lorenzo. The she started telling the history of Barro Colorado. She told us that during the construction of the Canal, the Chagres River was hold back or blocked. Then, the waters ascended to form the Gatun Lake, which is artificial. When that happened, a small part of land was left from the mainland and that is how Barro Colorado was formed. It is the largest island in the Gatun Lake.Barro Colorado has a size of 5400 ha and the island of 1564 ha. Its maximum altitude is of 145 meters. The average temperature if of 27°C and the average rainfall per year is about 2600 millimeters. The Lake Gatun level is of 26 meters and the Island trails are of 42 kilometers.The Barro Colorado diversity is like infinite. It has an average of: 1369 species of plants, 335 species of birds, 35 amphibians which include 32 frogs, 2 salamanders and 1 cicilian; 71 species of reptiles, which 5 are venomous snakes; 110 mammals that contain 74 bats; and about insects there are about at least tens of thousands species. There is about 100 species of true bugs, 300 species of butterflies, 225 species of ants (14 of them are army ants), and 100 species of cockroaches.Continuing my tour, after a brief summary of everything about Barro Colorado Island we got in the boat. It was like a half an hour ride until we got to the island. We cross the Gatun Lake. During the boat ride out tour guide showed us some structures like a crane in a structure floating in the water and others with rare names. When we got to the island she showed us the building and then told us: "Now the adventure will begin!" We started our tour seeing a kind of aardvark that is like an ant eater. She was like scratching a trunk. It was really cool seeing animals out in the wild. After, we saw lots of agoutis. They started to excavate the floor to see if they had some kind of food because they make holes to put and put their food there, but after they do not remember where did they made that hole so they are continuously searching. Other animals that I saw in my trip were monkeys. They made a really strange sound. It was shocking to hear all the sounds of the wildlife ride besides you. We were also able to see the Chesnut-Mandibled toucan and the Keel-Billed toucan flying over the trees as well as the crested guan which I saw with binoculars. Also always throughout the whole journey I always saw a beautiful blue butterfly in the air.It was a long walk. We saw more animals like army ants, lizards, a forest lizard, which has a big crest; a golden-orb spider with huge webs, and we heard the sound of a poisonous dart frog. Also we saw different types of trees which names I do not remember except for the Panama tree which is tall and beautiful. One of the things that impressed me the most was when we saw the gigantic tree. It was the biggest tree I have ever seen in my life and it was all tall and heavy like overweight. It was amazing! We had to walk 1 hour more to see that tree, but it was worth it.In total, we walked like 5 hours around the forest. I was really tired at the end. My feet and my legs hurt a lot, but I swallowed my pain and continued. In addition, I was very sleepy but I wanted to pay attention the most I could because it was a one in a life time experience. When we arrived at the end, She told us that we were lucky because we got to see a lot of animals. She told us that sometimes people just get to see the ants and the trees and we saw a lot of animals. She was happy with our group.After we came back from the forest walk, we ate in the cafeteria a really great Panamanian food. After eating and chatting a little, we went to the conference room. We saw a presentation about the animals we have seen. She was explaining everything about Barro Colorado and its fauna and flora. She showed us a lot of like dissected animals in a frame like an exposition. It was a different approach to animals. After that, we were all tired and we went back to the boat. The view during the boat was amazing and the sound of the waves was even better.I felt pride of Panama and I was thanking God for my beautiful and rich country. When I got back to Panama I gave thanks to the tour guide for that amazing opportunity and her patience and gratefulness during the whole experience.Barro Colorado is really important in Panama because in addition to being of immense significance to the international scientific society, Barro Colorado and contiguous Soberanía National Park supply officially permitted protection to one fourth of the residual forest in the Panama Canal Watershed. Soberanía National Park and Barro Colorado also provide shelter to just about 50% of all of the birds and mammal species detailed in Panama. Also, Barro Colorado is a great attraction to tourists so it helps to boost Panama a lot. Barro Colorado Island is one of the mainly premeditated places on Earth and has turned into an example for measuring variety of plant and animal life around the world.In my experience there was one particular rainforest life form that intrigued me: the agoutis. The agouti looks like a guinea pig. It has small rounded ears with a short tail. It has long, skinny legs that are adapted for running. Some have a pale golden, orange, or tan fur, and Panamanian agoutis are unique because they have like a variation because they are cream-colored and have faint stripes. Whenever an agouti is frightened he will only stand there with a paw hanging out in the air. When he has the time, he will go quickly and will get lost.The agoutis eat forest fruits such as achiotes, cacao fruits, and bananas. Once he has his food he will, looking supremely squirrel-like, clutch it in his paws and bite skillfully. The young agoutis, that are not searching for the food because that is the role of the male father, are really competitive so it is easier to survive because they are fiercely aggressive towards any other agouti who exposures to infringe on the family territory.Agoutis establish territories of about 3 acres with access to a water source such as a jungle river or forest pool. Surrounding this area, they build several dens where they'll sleep embraced together: "tangled in the underbrush, hidden in a hollow log, or nestled into interwoven tree roots on the forest floor."Agoutis are rarely spotted in areas other than unprotected preserves. They are usually active during the day but their fear could make change their habits to the night life. It is important for us to preserve agoutis because they are a really different species of animal in Panama and they are really common.In conclusion, as I have experienced, Panama has a beautiful and wild tropical rainforest who everyone must see, especially in Barro Colorado which is a great place to explore the diversity of plants and animals and to observe the layers of the rainforests. It is really important to take care of our ecosystems and all the living things living in it.Works Cited Page


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