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Just before the rainy season, which can drop even more rain than in the we�est of the wet months for other tropical forests, the trees and shrubs burst back into foliage. The landscape is a uniform green color for this period. Much of the dry tropical forest consists of thorny trees. Coniferous forests have poor vertical stratification in comparison to deciduous forests. Vertical stratification is the division of communities into distinguishable vertical layers throughout a forest. Some creatures prefer to live their life in the canopy, while others spend the majority of their time near the ground.

The colder the soil becomes, the more the permafrost moves towards the surface, and the less soil is available to tree roots. During periods of early warm weather, the roots are still encased in the permafrost, but the tree is loosing water through its leaves. This leads to “winter kill” where a tree dehydrates while standing in moist soil because its roots are still encased in ice and can’t replenish its water needs. One very beneficial event in the taiga is fire. Fires occur on a fairly regular basis and sweep over hundreds of thousands of acres in periods of drought.

There are also a great many scavengers like jackals and vultures. Most grassland predators are not above scavenging a fairly fresh kill as well. Even with all the apparent life in the grassland, the massive herds of grazers, and the packs of predators, the majority of biomass lies beneath the soil in the form of nematodes. Aboveground herbivores only consume 2%-7% of primary product, while underground herbivores account for 13%-46%. The humble creatures have the greatest effect upon grasslands.

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A magical medieval society - ecology & culture


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