Map of Africa
Natural History
- Introduction
- Vocabulary
- Land of Contrasts
- Climate
- Vegetation
- Animals


Classroom Ideas
(Academy Library)
- African People
- African Animals
African Photos


The vegetation that grows on a mountain is very different from that of the surrounding lowlands. Tall mountains intercept the movement of clouds, forcing rain to fall on their slopes. At the base of the mountain, tall trees form an open canopy forest; the trees are able to grow here because there is enough water and it is not too cold. The plant communities change in response to the cooler temperatures at higher elevations. Vegetation gets shorter; the montane rain forest gives way to bamboo forest and then open grassland with smaller trees and shrubs. Leaves are smaller and the trunks of trees are twisted. As the air gets colder, short grasses, mosses, lichens, and other plants replace the shrubs. Beyond a certain elevation it is too cold for any plants, except for hardy lichens, to grow at all.


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