grow on muddy coasts with their roots washed by tidal waters.
These roots provide a sheltered space which acts as a fish
‘nursery’ for many species. Mangrove forests are
being cut down throughout the tropics. The wood is greatly
in demand to make scaffolding and in building construction.
The wood is even used for
charcoal in British barbecues.
The first forests existed about 400 million years ago and they
have been evolving ever since. There are now many different types
and there are different ways of grouping and naming them. The world
forests map shows where the two major types
of ‘moist’ forest are located. ‘Moist’ is
a general description indicating that there is a lot of rainfall,
all year round. Tropical moist forest is found between the tropic
of cancer and the tropic
of capricorn and the temperate moist forests are north and south
of these latitudes.
Nearly all these forests are shrinking. Some loss occurs accidentally,
through natural fire or hurricanes, for example, but these areas
usually grow again. However, most of the deforestation is caused
by people, either because trees are cut for fuel, timber or wood
pulp and not replaced, or because the land is needed for something
else. This might be growing crops on farms or plantations, or raising
livestock, or it might be to make way for mining, dams, roads and