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Travel topics > Natural attractions > Biomes and ecosystems > Subtropical rainforests

Subtropical rainforests

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Subtropical rainforests are rainforests that share the characteristics of tropical rainforests and temperate forests.

Understand[edit]

The Tropics are shown in red

The tropics region of the earth extends from a little over 20 degrees north to 20 degrees south and includes many of the world's tropical rainforests. These tropical rainforests receive plenty of rain and high temperatures year-round, and there are no seasons. However, this changes as you travel away from the Equator. By the time you reach the edge of the Tropics (marked on the map by the red zone), you can find deserts, but in some places you can find subtropical rainforests instead. Subtropical rainforests also extend outside the red zone to the north and south toward the orange dotted lines shown on the map.

Subtropical rainforests have a lot in common with tropical rainforests, and in places like Florida, a state in the United States where subtropical rainforests dominate, you can find palm trees; however, as you go north from Florida into the state of Georgia, the plants start to look more like what you would find in a temperate forest. However, the density of subtropical rainforests and tropical forests mark them out; in temperate forests, most of the vegetation is in the form of trees, and there isn't thick vegetation along the ground level. Meanwhile, subtropical forests tend to have thick vegetation that extends to a couple feet above the ground, making navigation through the forest difficult.

Subtropical forests like those in the Southern United States (including the states Alabama, Florida, and Georgia) have summers similar to those in the tropics; however, they have cooler winters than tropical rainforests.

Destinations[edit]

Subtropical forests can be found around the edges of the tropics; they can be found in the Southern United States, Mexico, Eastern Asia, and India.

East Asia[edit]

East Asia is one of the regions of the earth where you have one landmass that reaches north from equatorial (mainland equatorial Malaysia) to vastly different climates (colder climate of Tibet).

India[edit]

Mexico[edit]

Southern United States[edit]

Florida Bay at Flamingo looking North into Everglades

The Southern United States is often associated with plantations and, for this reason, "the South" can easily imply farming land rather than dense forest. However, a visit to the South will prove otherwise; with the exception of rivers and the areas immediately surrounding them, thick forest is found throughout much of the South, particularly in the southern parts like Florida and Georgia. However, since the Appalachian Mountains cut into the South, they bring down the temperatures in places like Great Smoky Mountains National Park and give them a temperate climate that can receive snow.

Get around[edit]

On foot[edit]

Similar to tropical rainforests, getting around on foot is not easy in subtropical rainforests. As mentioned above and shown at the edges of the picture to the right, thick vegetation dominates in subtropical rainforests and means that getting through it is not always easy.

In places like Florida, there are hiking trails that solve this problem, but still have to deal with mosquitoes during the warmest parts of the year. While mosquitoes are not so bad in cities and on the shoreline of subtropical regions, as soon as you get into the subtropical rainforests themselves, you can encounter large numbers of mosquitoes, including around waterways.

By car[edit]

In areas with decent road networks, getting around by car is a good way to see subtropical rainforests without having to actually be inside them, especially if there is a clearing on each side of the road.

Stay healthy[edit]

In summer, especially, you'll need to watch out for mosquitoes if you decide to hike through the rainforest. Even if you're driving through the subtropical rainforest, a few seconds with the doors open while you get inside the vehicle is enough time for mosquitoes to get in the vehicle with you.

See also[edit]

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