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Rainforests - the Lungs of the Planet
Monkeys tend to occupy the canopy level of a rainforest where food is more abundant.

Rainforests - the Lungs of the Planet

This Geography quiz is called 'Rainforests - the Lungs of the Planet' and it has been written by teachers to help you if you are studying the subject at middle school. Playing educational quizzes is a fabulous way to learn if you are in the 6th, 7th or 8th grade - aged 11 to 14.

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In middle school, Geography students will look at different climates and environments. One environment they will study is that of the rainforests which act as the lungs of the planet, recycling carbon dioxide and providing us with oxygen. The name rainforest comes from the high amount of rainfall that occurs in them each year. By definition no less than 168cm (some definitions refer to 250cm) of rain falls on a rainforest annually, although in rare cases it can exceed 1,000cm.

Within a rainforest much of the water comes from convectional rainfall. What are the stages of this process?
Rivers and streams create small pockets of intense humidity. This humidity drips off the leaves and plants making rainfall
Rainfall is intercepted by the canopy which channels this to the floor. It then evaporates and is intercepted by the canopy again
The rainfall is intercepted by the canopy. As the rainforest heats up the water evaporates and forms clouds to make the following day's rain
The rainfall hits the ground and flows through the soil structure to reach the tree roots. These draw it up and the trees evaporate the water via their leaves
The process of convectional rainfall is the means by which most of the regular rainfall occurs in the afternoon of every day
Which of the following continents or islands does not contain rainforests?
South America
The British Isles
Not all rainforests are tropical. The UK has some small areas of temperate rainforest, for example the Celtic rainforest in parts of Wales and western Scotland
Why does rainforest land cleared for agriculture only remain fertile enough to grow crops for a year or two before it has to be abandoned?
Rainforest soils are thin and the nutrients are easily washed away
The high-intensity farming methods mean that the nutrients are removed
The deep soils mean that nutrients are locked deep underground
The soils become saturated with toxins from the farming methods in a single season
The thin soils are usually replenished with a deep leaf litter from the trees above. Without the trees the thin soils are eaily washed away and the nutrients lost
Which layer is occupied by birds and monkeys?
Forest Floor
With little light reaching the forest floor and the presence of large predators on the lowest level, monkeys and birds tend to occupy the canopy level where food is more abundant
Huge trees need huge roots to support their weight. However, the nutrients in the rainforest soil are close to the surface meaning the roots need to be shallow. How have trees adapted to these conditions?
Wide roots that lead to only one tree in a large area
Buttress roots that stretch up to 2 m up the trunk to anchor the tree
The trees use vines and other trees to support their weight
All rainforest trees are softwoods so are very light weight
These huge buttress roots support the tree and provide unique places for specialized flora and fauna to live
There are multiple layers in the rainforest. What is the top layer called?
Shrub layer
Climax layer
Canopy layer
Emergent layer
The emergent layer is occupied by birds and insects. This layer is where a few of the largest trees have managed to grow higher to get the light
Some trees use the trunks of others to climb up from the forest floor. What are these woody plants known as?
Strangler figs
Lianas climb up from the forest floor to the canopy where they spread from tree to tree
What part of the rainforest ecosystem are the latsols?
Small rivers and streams
The soils
The shrubs
The highest trees
Latsols have a thick litter layer which is full of nutrients. However, rapid leaching means that once the vegetation is removed it becomes infertile rapidly
Where is most of the rainfall intercepted in a rain forest?
Emergent layer
Canopy layer
Under canopy layer
Shrub layer
The heavy leaf cover means that most of the rainfall is intercepted by the canopy layer. This reduces the amount that reaches the lower levels. Many of the plants that operate on the lower levels draw water from the humid air
When a tree falls in the rainforest what happens to the small trees and other plants in the shrub layer?
The change in conditions kills them
The light coming through the gap allows them to grow fast to become part of the canopy
The lack of convectional rainfall dries the soil and destroys the under canopy
The tree decays within hours to form nutrients
The under canopy and the shrub level receive very little sunlight compared to the canopy and emergents. A missing tree provides a gap in the canopy to allow the sunlight to penetrate
Author:  Ruth M

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