How do the plants and animals of the tropical dry forest cope with dry season?

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growley52's profile pic

growley52 | College Teacher | (Level 1) Adjunct Educator

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Trees tend to develop thicker bark so as to adapt to the greater fire danger.  Leaves tend to be smaller and thicker so as to limit surface area, which reduces desiccation.  Thorns tend to develop, so as to inhibit herbivore consumption. Roots become longer, so as to reach lower water tables or aquifers. Evergreens become deciduous.  

With animals, larger mammals tend to occur:  trees are farther apart.  Reproductive cycles will tend to be timed to rainy seasons.  Migration patterns may develop, causing animals to move to wetter areas in the dry season.

Tropical dry forests are particularly attractive to humans and to the species they have domesticated.  The forests are heavily logged, and converted to pasture and farmland.  As a rule, they are becoming endangered.

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srssll's profile pic

srssll | eNotes Newbie

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Plants and animals have adapted to changes in their environment with a wide variety of survival strategies. Animals eat specific plants and other animals to provide water for their bodies. Nocturnal animals avoid the high temperature by coming out only at night.

Plants have large waxy leaves to capture and retain moisture as well as deep root systems.

Overall, most rainforest do not experience drought conditions as on the average they recieve between 98 and 177 incest of rain per year.

rommel2101's profile pic

rommel2101 | High School Teacher | eNotes Newbie

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emperatures are high all year, but there is a better-developed dry season than in the tropical rain forest. Evapotranspiration exceeds precipitation for enough of the year to have a significant effect on the vegetation. Edaphic conditions (dryer, better-drained soil) may produce this vegetation type in the rain-forest zone.

Plant Adaptations

Trees have thicker bark (antifire adaptation), thicker and smaller leaves (antidesiccation adaptation), thorns (antiherbivore adaptation), longer roots (to reach deeper water table), and other features along a gradient toward the well-developed drought adaptations of woody plants of the savanna and desert zones (which see).

Animal Adaptations

With more spaces between trees, larger mammals are more prominent in this environment. There is more seasonality in reproductive cycles, timed with rains in most groups. In motile species, migration may occur in the dry season to wetter environments, including nearby rain forest, gallery forest, and wet bottomlands.

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