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.