Cloud Rainforest

650 Words3 Pages
Cloud forests are very diverse ecosystems, but very vulnerable to disturbances. Although these forests are patchily distributed across only 1% of Earth’s landscape, they support high levels of endemism, which requires a delicate balance of environmental and ecological factors (Doumenge, Gilmour, Pérez, & Blockhus, 1995). However, increasing technology and human population growth have initiated many ecological disturbances worldwide (Fabry, & Lapointe, 2015). Cloud forests are particularly susceptible to climate change, which has detrimental impacts on temperature, cloud cover, and disease spread, and human migration, which contributes to deforestation and the introduction of exotic species (Auld and Leishman, 2014). This essay will examine…show more content…
After the black rat (Rattus rattus) was introduced to Australian and Japanese cloud forests, predation of tree roots and seedlings significantly increased (Auld and Leishman 2014). Endemic plants were also more susceptible than alien plants to twig cutting by the rats, since they have adapted fewer defenses (Abe and Umeno 2011). In the Gnarled Mossy cloud forest on Lord Howe Island, Australia, two endemic palm species experienced sever seed predation, which was damaging to the survival of the trees. Palm trees additionally support the majority of epiphytic growth in these forests. Thus, extermination of palms led to the death of epiphytes, causing habitat and water storage loss (Benavides and Gutierrez, 2011). Consequently, the introduction of a single exotic species can have monumental effects on the stability of cloud…show more content…
The dramatic growth of the pathogenic chytrid fungus was directly linked to a warmer than average climate from 1986-1987, the result of an abnormal El Niño event (Anchukaitis and Evans 2010). Increased temperatures, due to anthropogenic global warming, further reduced cloud cover and allowed the fungus to persist and spread after the initial El Niño bloom. Cloud forests are further threatened by diminished moisture because of increased drought (Hu & Riveros-Iregui, 2016). Alternatively, black rats were unintentionally transported by humans to Asian and Australian cloud forests about 100 years ago. Human migration, colonization, and growth continues to create repercussions in cloud forest ecosystems mostly through increased deforestation, which fragments local areas and shifts the likelihood of survival to species with small territory requirements (Ponce-Reyes et al., 2013). Epidemic pathogen outbreaks and the introduction of alien species do not occur frequently. However, cloud forests are very vulnerable to change, because of their patchy distribution and high moisture requirements. The loss of endemic amphibians, and palm trees to the chytrid fungus and the black rat respectively, had detrimental effects on the ecology and survival of cloud forest species. Both disturbances have also been connected to
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