The wet equatorial forest zone covers the coast of the Gulf of Guinea to the north of the equator and the Congo River basin, extending for 1600 km from north to south and 5000 km from east to east. This natural zone is unique and unique. There are practically no seasons: in winter and summer, the air temperature is the same and is approximately +24 ° C. Over a year, more than 2000 mm of precipitation falls. Rains are poured every day, usually in the afternoon. Water and heat create ideal conditions for the development of all living things, so here grow moist equatorial rain forests – gileas. From the plane they resemble the green sea.
In the zone of moist equatorial forests, rivers are always deep. When floods they often flood low banks, and water covers huge spaces.
In the conditions of the equatorial forest, red-yellow ferralite soils were formed. It is the iron compounds that give them a red color. These soils are very poor in nutrients, since organic remains
under conditions of moisture and heat are rapidly decomposed by microorganisms, and nutrients are quickly absorbed by plants. Therefore, deforestation here leads to a real ecological catastrophe. The soil in the bare areas is washed away by rain, and the sun turns the surface of the earth into a dry crust, where nothing can grow.
In the equatorial forests of Africa there are over 25,000 species of plants, only trees – about 1000 species. In these forests it is always stuffy, damp and dark. The forest is so thick that it is impossible to see anything near it, all around them are covered bushes, lianas, which are intertwined with trees, piled up and the oxen of giant trees. The equatorial forest has two distinctive features: it is evergreen and multilevel.
The evergreen forest is due to the fact that plants never completely discard leaves. Warm and humid weather, hovering all year round, allows the leaves to exist on the shoot for 2-3 years. The leaves, of course, change, but in turn.
Layeredness is the distribution of plants according to height, respectively, in light, water and nutrition. In the
forests of the temperate zone there are 3-4 tiers of plants, in gilei there are 6-8. At the very bottom is the kingdom of shade-loving mosses and creeping plants. Higher up are the light bushes and young trees. There are many tree-like ferns, bananas. The third tier is a tree 15-20 m high, which needs more light. Among them there are many valuable species, such as red, ebony, sandalwood, yellow trees. There are also bread, nutmeg trees. Still higher prevail ficuses and various kinds of palm trees. The highest are light-loving, with height up to 60-80 m, seybes with spreading crowns. Because of their extraordinary height, they are called “upstart trees”. Such tall trees have very hard leaves and evaporate little water, because to raise it to such a height is difficult even for the most powerful root system. Wide root-supports help to keep the trunk in a vertical position.
The branches of the lower tier trees are so densely intertwined that because of them the crowns of the trees of the upper tier are not visible. At the very surface of the earth there is a continuous darkness. Only 1 / 120th of the sunlight falls here, so there is no grass at all. Instead of it, vines rise from the earth – trees with a flexible and long stem, which, wrapped around trunks, carry out their leaves and flowers to the light. Wading through without a trail through such a forest is a difficult and dangerous business.
African gilea – the birthplace of valuable economic breeds of trees: coffee tree, oil palm, cocoa.
The fauna of the moist equatorial forests is rich and diverse. Every tier of the forest is inhabited. Here live large anthropoid apes – gorillas and chimpanzees. A real giant is a two-meter-tall gorilla with thick black hair. She is very physically strong, she spends most of her life on the ground, although from time to time she climbs trees. A chimpanzee is less of a gorilla, has a large brain, is distinguished by complex behavior, lives on trees. Monkeys and baboons are known from other monkeys.
Numerous birds flutter between the trees: a fruiting pigeon, various kinds of parrots, rhino birds, woodpeckers, nectaries, bananoys.
A lot of insects: termites, mosquitoes, beetles, butterflies, bees, dragonflies, scorpions, spiders.
Many insects are dangerous to human health: malarial mosquitoes carry out pathogens of tropical fever, a fly of tsetse – sleep sickness.
Among the terrestrial animals lizards, shrews, earth vipers, pythons, bush-eared and forest pigs, African dwarf deer 40 cm high, forest antelopes are common. The amazing creation of nature is okapi. When first saw this animal, it was taken for a zebra because of striped hind limbs. However, it turned out that this is a dwarf giraffe, which is three times lower than its tall relative. Occasionally there is a dwarf hippopotamus. It weighs 10-12 times less than an ordinary hippopotamus.
As if a giant chain of moist equatorial forests covers a zone of alternating-moist forests from the north and south. It is a transition zone from moist equatorial forests to grassy savannas. It has much in common with the vegetation and animal world of the equatorial forest. But the rhythm of the life of these forests depends on the season. Variable-moist forests are more developed by man than equatorial ones.
The population living near or in the wetland is small. Local tribes are engaged in hunting and fishing. Nowadays, large areas of forests are cut down for valuable tree species. Together with the forest, animals die.