What is the interdependence of climate, soil, water, plants, animals and human activity in tropical rainforests?

All parts of the tropical rainforest (climate, soils, water, plants, animals and people) are depedent on each other. If anyone of them changes, everthing else is affected.

  • Warm and wet climate means that plants grow quickly – the dense leaf cover protects the forest floor from wind and heavy rainfall, while root systems hold the soil together stopping it being eroded.
  • Lack of wind near the forest floor means that many plants rely on bees, butterflies or other animals for pollination.
  • Symbiotic relationships between plants and animals (where they depend on each other for survival) are very common. For example, agouti (a rodent) are one of the only animals who can crack open the hard seed pod of the Brazil nut to eat the nut inside. Sometimes, the agouti bury the nuts – these can sprout into new seedlings. If the agouti become extinct, the Brazil but trees would also decline and so could all the other animals who live in or feed on the Brazil nut trees. People who sell Bazil nuts for a living would also be affected.
  • Epiphytes are plants that grow on other plants. They get access to light bt growing high up on other plants, but they don’t have access to the nutrients in the soil – they are dependent on rainfall to provide water and nutrients.
  • Changes to the rainforest ecosystem have knock-on effects on the whole system. For example, deforestation reduces the amount of carbon dioxide being absorbed from the atmosphere which adds to the greenhouse effect and changes the climate.