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Planet Earth

A cloud forest in....

Gene ExpressionBy Razib KhanDecember 10, 2010 12:22 PM
765px-Salalah_Oman.jpg

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A "cloud forest"


The lush image above is of a cloud forest biome. Can you guess where it is? The Arabian country of Oman! How's that for a surprise? I had known of the Green Mountain of northeast Oman, which is ~3000 meters above sea level and receives ~15 inches of rain (enough for shrubby woodland), but was totally ignorant of Salalah mountains in western Oman. Apparently the region catches a bit of the monsoon, and so has a rainy season. And yet the cloud forests receive only ~15 inches of rainfall themselves! (300 mm) But the key is that apparently if you include condensation from fog and such the precipitation triples. So the physical nature of the forest produces a feedback loop which allows it to sustain itself. Here's a paper on the Omani cloud forest, how it maintains equilibrium, and possible threats.

Image Credit: storymary

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