Seasonal tropical forest

Seasonal tropical forest: also known as moist deciduous, semi-evergreen seasonal, tropical mixed or monsoon[1] forests, typically contain a range of tree species: only some of which drop some or all of their leaves during the dry season. This tropical forest is classified under the Walter system as (ii) tropical climate with high overall rainfall (typically in the 1000–2000 mm range) concentrated in the summer wet season and cooler “winter” dry season: representing a range of habitats influenced by monsoon (Am) or tropical wet savannah (Aw) climates (as in the Köppen climate classification). Drier forests in the Aw climate zone are typically deciduous and placed in the Tropical dry forest biome: with further transitional zones (ecotones) of savannah woodland then tropical and subtropical grasslands, savannas, and shrublands.

Tropical seasonal climate sub-types: (note: Af in light green is Tropical rainforest)


Seasonal (mixed) tropical forests can be found in many parts of the tropical zone,[2] with examples found in:

Emergent tree rising above the main canopy in Khao Yai National Park forest


As with tropical rainforests there are different canopy layers, but these may be less pronounced in mixed forests, which are often characterised by numerous lianas due to their growth advantage during the dry season.[4] The colloquial term jungle, originally derived from Sanskrit, has no specific ecological meaning but may commonly refer to secondary forest of this type in the Indian subcontinent. Determining which stands of mixed forest are primary and secondary can be problematic, since the species mixture is influenced by factors such as soil depth and climate, as well as human interference.

Characteristic biology

The fauna of seasonal tropical mixed forest is usually distinctive. For example, in Asia this habitat is preferred by sambar deer and its predators that include tigers.


  2. Leigh EG, Rand AS, Windsor DM (Eds. 1983) The ecology of a tropical forest. Seasonal rhythms and long-term changes. Oxford University Press 468 pp.
  3. Ya-Jun Chen, Kun-Fang Cao, Stefan A. Schnitzer, Ze-Xin Fan, Jiao-Lin Zhang, Frans Bongers (2015) Water-use advantage of lianas over trees in seasonal tropical forests. New Phytologist, 205[1]: 128–136

See also

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