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Deciduous Forest and Scrub

This plant community is found in wetter areas of tropical wet and dry climate. While there is enough rain for trees to grow, the long dry season forces the trees to lose their leaves (these are called deciduous trees), unlike the trees in the rain forest. The plants drop their leaves, not because it is too cold, but because there is not enough water; the plants become dormant until rain falls and they can grow again. Trees of a tropical deciduous forest and scrub do not grow close together (this is known as an open canopy). The trees are shorter and farther apart as their roots spread out in search of water. Sunlight reaches the forest floor, which encourages an undergrowth of bushes to thrive. In areas that receive less rainfall, there is not enough water for trees to grow, and scrub (shrubs and stunted trees) replaces the forest. During the dry season, fires are not uncommon. The scrub plants have adaptations to survive a drier climate - thick bark; small, fat, evergreen leaves that store water; and protective thorns. This community represents a gradual change from the tropical rain forest to the savanna. 


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