If you want to learn about Cloud Forests, this page contains
lots of useful information, including how they are affected
by human actions.
A cloud forest, also called a fog forest, is a generally
tropical or subtropical evergreen montane moist forest
characterized by a high incidence of low-level cloud cover,
usually at the canopy level.
Cloud forests often exhibit an abundance of mosses covering
the ground and vegetation, in which case they are also
referred to as mossy forests. Mossy forests usually develop
on the saddles of mountains, where moisture introduced
by settling clouds is more effectively retained.
Typically, there is a relatively small band of altitude
in which the atmospheric environment is suitable for cloud
forest development. This is characterized by persistent
mist or clouds at the vegetation level, resulting in the
reduction of direct sunlight and thus of evapotranspiration.
Trees in these regions are generally shorter and more
heavily stemmed than in lower altitude forests in the
same regions, and the moisture promotes the development
of an abundance of vascular epiphytes. This results in
abundant moss and fern covering, and frequently flowers
such as orchids may be found.
Soils are rich but boggy, with a preponderance of peats
and humus. Within cloud forests, much of the precipitation
is in the form of fog drip, where fog condenses on tree
leaves and then drips onto the ground below.
The definition of cloud forest can be ambiguous, with
many countries not using the term (preferring such terms
as Afromontane forest and upper montane rain forest, or
more localised terms such as the Peruvian yungas, and
the laurisilva of the Atlantic Islands), and occasionally
subtropical and even temperate forests in which similar
meteorological conditions occur are considered to be cloud
Distribution of cloud forests
Tropical and subtropical cloud forests exist in the following
countries: Pakistan, Australia, Bolivia, Brazil, Brunei,
Burundi, Cambodia, Cameroon, Colombia, Costa Rica, DR
Congo, Dominica, Ecuador, El Salvador, Fiji, Gabon, Guatemala,
Guyana (Pakaraima Mountains), Honduras, India, Indonesia,
Jamaica (Blue and John Crow Mountains National Park),
Kenya, Madagascar, Malaysia, Mexico, Federated States
of Micronesia, Mozambique, Myanmar, Nicaragua, Oman, Panama,
Papua New Guinea, Peru, Philippines, Rwanda, Sri Lanka,
Tanzania, Trinidad and Tobago, United States, Venezuela
Temperate cloud forests
Although far from being universally accepted as true cloud
forests, several forests in temperate regions have strong
similarities with tropical cloud forests. The term is
further confused by occasional reference to cloud forests
in tropical countries as "temperate" due to the cooler
climate associated with these misty forests.
Distribution of temperate cloud forests: Argentina, Australia
- Lamington National Park (Queensland), China - Yunnan
Plateau, mountains of southern and eastern China, Colombia
- Serranía de Macuira mountain range, in the middle of
La Guajira Desert, Dominican Republic - Western provinces
such as Barahona, Haiti, Japan - parts of Yakushima Island,
New Zealand - parts of Fiordland, Mt Taranaki and Mount
Cargill, near Dunedin, Portugal - Azores and Madeira,
South Africa, Spain - Canary Islands (laurisilva) and
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on the site, please feel free to send them in. We always
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