The Tropical Seasonal Forest

Tropical Dry Forest, Tropical Deciduous Forest, Savanna

Santa Rosa National Park, Costa Rica

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Climate:

First, we need to distinguish between two closely related biomes, the tropical   seasonal forest and the savanna.  The tropical seasonal forest has more or less densely growing trees which lose their leaves during the dry season.  The savanna is a grassland with individual trees or groups of trees dotting the landscape.  If you look at the climate diagrams to the right, you will see that the temperature regime is the same for both; with average annual temperatures over 20° C.  Rainfall can vary from less than 50cm/year to almost 300 cm/year.  Savannas would occupy the dryer part of this range.

 

 

The figure to the left was taken at the Santa Rosa National Park in Costa Rica.  This park has a typical tropical seasonal forest, and gets about 130 cm of rain per year.  The rainfall is highly seasonal; with most of the rain falling in the months from May to November, May being both the end of the dry season and the wettest month overall, at least in the year pictured here.  This strong seasonality of rainfall is characteristic of the tropical seasonal forest.  During the rainy season(s), trees can easily maintain leaves and productivity is high.  During the dry season(s), evaporation from the leaves is too high for the tree to sustain, so the leaves are dropped, much the way temperate deciduous forest  plants lose their leaves in the winter.

 

 

World Distribution:  

Tropical seasonal forests and savannas are, as one might suspect, largely restricted to the tropics; actually a little further as most are found between 30° N and South latitudes.  Much of Mexico falls into this biome, as does a stretch of forest down the west coast of Central AmericaSouth America has these biomes in the northeast, in a band across Brazil to Argentina, and a smaller band on the west coast.  Africa has a large extent of tropical seasonal forests and savannas; a band runs through sub-saharan Africa and runs down the eastern coast with another band extending across the continent south of the tropical rainforest.  There are extensive areas of these biomes in India, southeast Asia, and northern Australia as well.

Tropical Seasonal Forest Distribution

      

 

Indicator Plant Species:

Indio Desnuda,  Bursera simarouba - Santa Rosa, Costa Rica

Indio Desnuda Bursera simarouba - Santa Rosa, Costa Rica

Acacia and Ants, Santa Rosa, Costa Rica

Acacia and Ants, Santa Rosa, Costa Rica

At Santa Rosa, one of the more noticeable trees at the end of the dry season was Indio Desnuda (the naked Indian), Bursera simarouba (above).  This plant has a photosynthetic green bark that can carry on some photosynthesis even during the dry season when the leaves have dropped.  Acacias (above right) are another important tree of this type of biome; they are found both in the new world and in Africa.  The thorns deter many herbivores (but not giraffes); to increase the deterrent factor many species have hollow thorns which are home to colonies of ants which attack herbivores, insects, competing plants, and careless hikers.

I have no idea what the big tree to the right is, but we saw a number of them in Santa Rosa.  They had leaves at the end of the dry season and were very big and very impressive.

Santa Rosa National Park, Costa Rica

Santa Rosa National Park, Costa Rica

Indicator Animal Species:

Scorpion, Santa Rosa National Park, Costa Rica

Scorpion, Santa Rosa National Park, Costa Rica

White-throated Magpie-Jay (Calocitta formosa), Santa Rosa National Park, Costa Rica

White-throated Magpie-Jay (Calocitta formosa), 
Santa Rosa National Park, Costa Rica

I do know what all of these are.  Scorpions are predatory invertebrates that are part of many world ecosystems, particularly dry ones.  For some reason they are not common in temperate areas and thus seem exotic to those of us who live in such climes.  The two birds here are characteristic of the dry forests of Costa Rica.  Like other jays, the Magpie-Jay caches food in the wet season for consumption in the dry season (see the article on scrub jays for a comparison).  Because of the need to remember where all the food is, these birds are very smart.  The large Crested Guan lends its name to a whole region of Costa Rica - Guanacaste.

The giraffe is perhaps the most characteristic animal of this biome from Africa.  Uniquely suited to browse leaves from trees, they are found in the savannas and dry forests of Africa.  Their long black tongues are so dexterous they can even remove leaves from thorny acacias.

A number of other African mammals make the dry forests and savannas home; in these pages most of them are covered with the grasslands.  The white rhino here reminds us that animals often have little use for our boundaries be they political or theoretical.

Crested Guan (Penelope purpurascens),  Santa Rosa National Park, Costa Rica

Crested Guan (Penelope purpurascens),  
Santa Rosa National Park, Costa Rica

Southern White Rhino (Ceratotherium simum simum) - The Wilds, Ohio

Southern White Rhino (Ceratotherium simum simum) - The Wilds, Ohio

Giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis) - The Wilds, Ohio

Giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis) - The Wilds, Ohio

Ecological Notes:

During the dry season the search for water is critical.  Trees either have to have deep roots to underground sources of water, or they will have to shed their leaves to reduce their water loss until the rainy season comes.  As in the temperate deciduous forest, the leaves laying on the forest floor will decompose and release their nutrients back to the soil, where the tree can use them once again.  The decomposition will proceed rather rapidly in the hot, wet conditions of the rainy season.

Some trees flower just before the rains come; at this point the flowers really stand out and are sure to attract the attention of desperate pollinators.  In the picture to the right, a Ctenosaur hangs out in an early flowering tree.  Life is tough for vegetation-eating lizards at this time as well.

The honeybees shown below were visiting a basin of water catching some overflow from the laundry.  They were gathering water, no doubt to take back to the hive.  There the water would be spread around and allowed to evaporate, cooling the hive.  Honeybees can store honey to get them through the dry season (they can survive winters in temperate climates with stored honey, after all), so it is no real problem for them to get through the dry months other than finding water for themselves and to cool the hive.  Other insects, cut off from normal food supplies during the dry season, must go into a resting stage of some sort, many species spend the dry season as eggs.

Ctenosaur (Ctenosaura similis), Santa Rosa National Park, Costa Rica

Ctenosaur (Ctenosaura similis), 
Santa Rosa National Park, Costa Rica

Honeybees (Apis mellifera),  Santa Rosa National Park, Costa Rica

Honeybees (Apis mellifera),  Santa Rosa National Park, Costa Rica

Threats:

Tropical dry forests are susceptible to all the usual threats.  In the image to the right, you can see smoke in the distance.  This means that someone is clearing forest for use as agricultural fields or pasture.  Dry forests and savannas around the world are subject to this pressure, all the more so because many of the forests are located in countries with very high population growth rates, and thus increasing pressure to grow crops to feed the people.  Also, in many areas wild animals are being chased out as herders use the land for their cattle and other domestic animals; often fences are put in place which prevent the wildlife from performing seasonal migrations or accessing critical water holes.

Another pressure put on dry forests is wood collecting.  In many places wood is collected for use as building material, fuel, or as stock for making charcoal.  This leads to deforestation as often the collecting proceeds faster than the trees are able to grow. The fuel is needed for simple things like cooking; in many places young children will walk miles each day to gather enough firewood for their mother to prepare a single meal.  The industrialized world, with its vast use of fossil fuels (and waster thereof driving our SUV's) effectively prices poor Africans out of the fuel market.  The price for a gallon of kerosene might exceed a poor person's monthly wage.  The story is not all grim, however, many Africans are fighting back by planting trees Read more about this response here!

 

Biological Field Station,  Santa Rosa National Park, Costa Rica

Biological Field Station,  Santa Rosa National Park, Costa Rica

In 2005, the Biology and Environmental Science Department at Marietta College made a trip to Costa Rica.  While there, we stayed for several days at Santa Rosa National Park in the Guanacaste Province on the western (Pacific) coast.  The native habitat in this area is dry forest, and it was all highly threatened until Costa Ricans, with the help of American biologist Daniel Janzen and others, began to work to protect this unique habitat.  We stayed at the biological station in the park.  The accommodations were comfortable dormitories as seen in the pictures above and right.

We were there at the very end of the dry season.  The wildlife was easy to see with the leaves down.  One of my favorites was this Roadside Hawk (below) which hunted near the station.  In the image below you can see it has caught an anole; like other hawks they also eat small rodents and other small animals.

Roadside Hawk, Buteo magnirostris,  Santa Rosa National Park, Costa Rica

Roadside Hawk, Buteo magnirostris,  Santa Rosa National Park, Costa Rica

Roadside Hawk, Buteo magnirostris,  Santa Rosa National Park, Costa Rica

Roadside Hawk, Buteo magnirostris,  Santa Rosa National Park, Costa Rica

Ctenosaur (Ctenosaura similis), Santa Rosa National Park, Costa Rica

Ctenosaur (Ctenosaura similis), Santa Rosa National Park, Costa Rica

Blindsnake,  Santa Rosa National Park, Costa Rica

Blindsnake Santa Rosa National Park, Costa Rica

Ctenosaur (Ctenosaura similis), Santa Rosa National Park, Costa Rica

Ctenosaur (Ctenosaura similis), Santa Rosa National Park, Costa Rica

There were a number of reptiles about.  Most conspicuous were the ctenosaurs, a large iguana relative (they are sometimes called black iguanas).  These lizards ranged in size up to about 4 feet long (the big guy at upper and below left).  Most of the time we spotted them they were on the ground, but some were quick to climb the nearest tree (left).  Apparently, however, they prefer to stay on the ground where they feed on vegetation and any small animals or insects they can catch.  Another important food, particularly in the dry season, are the flowers and fruits of trees that bear them during the dry season (below).  

The blindsnake we found was under the large tree pictured at the top of this page.  It was crawling through the thin layer of leaf litter under the tree.  These snakes feed on small invertebrates; some types of blindsnakes live in the nests of termites and ants and prey on them.

Ctenosaur (Ctenosaura similis), Santa Rosa National Park, Costa Rica

Ctenosaur (Ctenosaura similis), Santa Rosa National Park, Costa Rica

Ctenosaur (Ctenosaura similis), Santa Rosa National Park, Costa Rica

Ctenosaur (Ctenosaura similis), Santa Rosa National Park, Costa Rica

Tropical Dry Forest,  Santa Rosa National Park, Costa Rica

Tropical Dry Forest,  Santa Rosa National Park, Costa Rica

Tropical Dry Forest Canopy,  Santa Rosa National Park, Costa Rica

Tropical Dry Forest Canopy,  Santa Rosa National Park, Costa Rica

Here are some pictures of the forest itself.  As mentioned previously, we were there at the end of the dry season and most of the trees had lost their leaves, although here and there some trees had leaves.  Whether they retained their leaves throughout the dry season or had recently grown them in anticipation of the rains I don't know.  As you can see from the image above right, the canopy is very open at this time of year, but plants on the forest floor lack the water to take advantage of the sun; therefore the forest floor is relatively open.  In some areas, as the picture below shows, grasses may grow during the rainy season, only to die back during the dry season.  Also interesting is the twisted, gnarled appearance of many of the trees.

It should also be noted that this ecosystem is not maintained by fire.  Many of the forest plants are extremely susceptible to fire, which does not appear to be a natural phenomenon here.

Tropical Dry Forest,  Santa Rosa National Park, Costa Rica

Tropical Dry Forest,  Santa Rosa National Park, Costa Rica

Tropical Dry Forest,  Santa Rosa National Park, Costa Rica

Tropical Dry Forest,  Santa Rosa National Park, Costa Rica

Tropical Dry Forest,  Santa Rosa National Park, Costa Rica

Tropical Dry Forest,  Santa Rosa National Park, Costa Rica

Blue-crowned Motmot, Momotus momota, Santa Rosa National Park, Costa Rica

Blue-crowned Motmot, Momotus momota
Santa Rosa National Park, Costa Rica

Small Bird -   Santa Rosa National Park, Costa Rica

Small Bird -   Santa Rosa National Park, Costa Rica

Inca Dove, Columbina inca,  Santa Rosa National Park, Costa Rica

Inca Dove, Columbina inca,  Santa Rosa National Park, Costa Rica

Again, this was a good place to see birds; it was much easier to see them here than it was in the rainforests we were in later in the trip.  I don't know what the small bird above is, but it was busy working its way through a thicket of heavy brush.  The Blue-crowned Motmot (above left) feeds on insects and small animals; you can compare it to the Rufous Motmot  by clicking here.

The Inca Doves shown here have a strange pattern to their feathers; it almost gives the impression that they are wearing a pointed-on camouflage.  They feed primarily on seeds .

The Crested Guan reminds one of a small turkey; they live in the treetops, however, where they feed on seeds and fruits.  On the other hand, the Squirrel Cuckoo (below) feeds mainly on insects.

Crested Guan (Penelope purpurascens),  Santa Rosa National Park, Costa Rica

Crested Guan (Penelope purpurascens),  
Santa Rosa National Park, Costa Rica

Squirrel Cucko (Piaya cayana) -  Santa Rosa National Park, Costa Rica

Squirrel Cucko (Piaya cayana) -  Santa Rosa National Park, Costa Rica

Agouti - Dasyprocta punctata -   Santa Rosa National Park, Costa Rica

Agouti - Dasyprocta punctata -   Santa Rosa National Park, Costa Rica

Variegated Squirrel, Sciurus variegatoides,  Santa Rosa National Park, Costa Rica

Variegated Squirrel, Sciurus variegatoides,  
Santa Rosa National Park, Costa Rica

We saw a number of mammals at Santa Rosa, but many were difficult to photograph.  Some members of the group saw a large wild cat of some type but were unable to photograph it in the twilight.  I took a number of pictures of deer and coati that are obscured by the heavy underbrush.

We were able to see a number of species clearly, however.  Agouti (above) were prevalent around the field station itself, and it was not unusual to come across them on a path.  These rabbit-sized rodents feed mainly on nuts and fruits that fall to the ground; they can also cache food when it is abundant; this behavior probably serves them well in the dry season and also helps to disperse seeds.  They also eat bananas, check out the movies below.

We saw two species of monkeys at Santa Rosa.  A troop of Howler Monkeys moved into the large tree over the dining hall the same day we got there, and they remained for the rest of our stay.  Among them was at least one baby (right).  We could hear other howler monkey troops off in the distance.  The monkeys did not like the sound of certain vehicles and the approach of those vehicles was certain to get those monkeys howling.  

We saw our first Capuchin Monkeys on the road to Playa Nancite, a beach where the Santa Rosa National Park meets the Pacific Ocean.  The open canopy of the dry forest was an ideal place to observe these small monkeys.

You can go to this page for links to movies of agoutis and howler monkeys.

Mantled Howler Monkey (Allouata palliata),  Santa Rosa National Park, Costa Rica

Mantled Howler Monkey (Allouata palliata),  
Santa Rosa National Park, Costa Rica

 

We saw a number of coati at Santa Rosa.  These are relatives of the raccoon and share its omnivorous ways.  The coatis at Santa Rosa always seemed to be obscured by brush, so I'm tossing in a photo from La Selva.  Coatis can be found from far into South America all the way up to the southwestern United States.

Coati - (Nasua narica)  - La Selva, Costa Rica

Coati - (Nasua narica)  - La Selva, Costa Rica

Capuchin Monkey (Cebus capucinus),  Santa Rosa National Park, Costa Rica

Capuchin Monkey (Cebus capucinus),  Santa Rosa National Park, Costa Rica

Acacia and Ants, Santa Rosa, Costa Rica

Acacia and Ants, Santa Rosa, Costa Rica

Ant at Acacia nectary , Santa Rosa, Costa Rica

 Ant at Acacia nectary , Santa Rosa, Costa Rica

Acacia and Ants, Santa Rosa, Costa Rica

Acacia and Ants, Santa Rosa, Costa Rica

One of the most interesting things to observe at Santa Rosa was the mutualistic relationship between Acacia Ants and the Acacia trees.  You would think that the big thorns on the Acacia tree would deter most herbivores, but the Acacia is not satisfied with that.  It turns out that the thorns are hollow and easily modified by the ants to serve as living chambers.  To attract the ants, the Acacia trees also bear nectaries at the base of the leaves (above), these non-floral nectar sources feed and water the ants. When the leaves first form, beltian bodies, which are rich in protein, are formed as well to help feed the ants.  In return, the ants defend the Acacia from large browsing herbivores and insect herbivores, clip off any vines that try to attach, and even kill any plants growing too close to the Acacia tree.  More on Acacia Ants.

While most larger animals are attacked by the ants, some manage to make peace with them; several species of birds actually build their nests in the Acacia trees.  The nests then receive the protection of the ants as well.

Bird's Nest in Acacia, Santa Rosa, Costa Rica

Bird's Nest in Acacia, Santa Rosa, Costa Rica

Ant at Acacia nectary , Santa Rosa, Costa Rica

Ant at Acacia nectary , Santa Rosa, Costa Rica

Golden Carpenter Ant (Camponotus sericeiventris), Santa Rosa National Park, Costa Rica

Golden Carpenter Ant (Camponotus sericeiventris), 
Santa Rosa National Park, Costa Rica

Golden Carpenter Ant (Camponotus sericeiventris), Santa Rosa National Park, Costa Rica

Golden Carpenter Ant (Camponotus sericeiventris), 
Santa Rosa National Park, Costa Rica

Two other fascinating ants were apparent at Santa Rosa.  It was hard to miss the large Golden Carpenter Ants found on many of the trees.  These ants feed on decaying wood made more nutritious by the fungus growing in it.  

Most amazing, however, were the Army Ants we encountered near a trail one day.  This swarm was so large that the sound made by the millions of tiny feet as they moved through the leaves sounded like a light rain falling.  You can see the swarm as a black blob in the photo to the right.  Individual ants scurried along trails on the forest floor, these trails intertwined like someone's macramé project.  Up close, one could pick out individual ants such as the soldier below right.  The massive jaws help the soldiers defend the columns; they were also used by natives to hold wounds closed much the way surgeons use surgical staples.  The worker ants, below, were bringing back an astounding assortment of invertebrates from the forest floor and from the small trees they scoured as well. Right-click to play the movie below.

This page has links to more army ant movies.

More on Army Ants Here

Army Ants,  Santa Rosa National Park, Costa Rica

Army Ants,  Santa Rosa National Park, Costa Rica

Army Ants with Scorpion,  Santa Rosa National Park, Costa Rica

Army Ants,  Santa Rosa National Park, Costa Rica

Army Ants,  Santa Rosa National Park, Costa Rica

Army Ants,  Santa Rosa National Park, Costa Rica

Army Ants,  Santa Rosa National Park, Costa Rica

Army Ants,  Santa Rosa National Park, Costa Rica

Indio Desnuda,  Bursera simarouba - Santa Rosa, Costa Rica

Indio Desnuda Bursera simarouba - Santa Rosa, Costa Rica

Indio Desnuda,  Bursera simarouba - Santa Rosa, Costa Rica

Indio Desnuda Bursera simarouba - Santa Rosa, Costa Rica

The "Naked Indian" tree is called by a number of other common names in relation to its unique, peeling bark.  In Florida, this tree is called the "Gumbo-Limbo" or "Tourist Tree" (get it?).  As mentioned above, some photosynthesis can take place in the green bark.  The peeling may help prevent epiphytes, which would block sunlight, from becoming attached.  When cut, a sap is extruded that apparently has medicinal purposes.

Below, an Acacia just getting its first leaves of the season looms in the foreground of an otherwise leafless forest; in the picture below left the accumulation of dried plant material illustrates how much fuel would be available if a fire started.

Tropical Dry Forest,  Santa Rosa National Park, Costa Rica

Tropical Dry Forest,  Santa Rosa National Park, Costa Rica

Tropical Dry Forest,  Santa Rosa National Park, Costa Rica

Tropical Dry Forest,  Santa Rosa National Park, Costa Rica

Camouflaged moth, Santa Rosa National Park, Costa Rica

Camouflaged moth, Santa Rosa National Park, Costa Rica

Guanacaste Stick Insect, Calynda bicuspis,  Santa Rosa National Park, Costa Rica

Guanacaste Stick Insect, Calynda bicuspis,  
Santa Rosa National Park, Costa Rica

Not all of the animals at Santa Rosa were easy to see.  For instance, can you see the moth on the tree bark above?  Likewise, stick insects were really tough to see given all the bare branches in the park.  They further their camouflage by remaining motionless during the day, and feeding at night, when they are less likely to be seen.

Stepping away from Santa Rosa, we have the case of the giraffe.  In most nature films you see the giraffes strolling across a grassland.  They do that, particularly when migrating from one forest to another, following the rains.  But, if you think about it, the grasslands just aren't the home of the giraffe - why grow that long neck to eat something on the ground?  A giraffe's normal home is in the forest or savanna, and there the reticulated pattern of the giraffe's skin blends in.  This effect is furthered when you consider that most predators of the giraffe do not have good color vision.  In both pictures below you can see how the giraffe's pattern helps hide it; in the picture below left whole sections of the giraffes disappear into the cover.

Incidentally, the pictures below were made at The Wilds, a remarkable conservation facility built on reclaimed stripmine land in southeastern Ohio.  Among the trees growing on the property are locusts, which seem to be an ecological stand in for the African Acacias that the giraffes normally feed on.  The Wilds is one of the few places in North America where you can see giraffes eat naturally from a tree rather than from a basket up on a pole.

Guanacaste Stick Insect, Calynda bicuspis,  Santa Rosa National Park, Costa Rica

Guanacaste Stick Insect, Calynda bicuspis,  
Santa Rosa National Park, Costa Rica

Giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis) - The Wilds, Ohio

Giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis) - The Wilds, Ohio

Giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis) - The Wilds, Ohio

Giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis) - The Wilds, Ohio

Scorpion, Santa Rosa National Park, Costa Rica

Scorpion, Santa Rosa National Park, Costa Rica

Scorpion, Santa Rosa National Park, Costa Rica

Scorpion, Santa Rosa National Park, Costa Rica

Scorpion, Santa Rosa National Park, Costa Rica

Scorpion, Santa Rosa National Park, Costa Rica

We did see a number of scorpions in the park.  The first one was found by one of the students on the window curtains over the bed in her room.  Needless to say, this find was greeted with excitement by this crew of experienced biologists.  I had taken an ultraviolet light along both to attract insects at night and to look for scorpions, as the fluoresce under ultraviolet radiation (above left).  We saw a number of these creatures during our stay, and everybody eventually got to "pet the scorpion", which as you can see from the picture at lower left, is not an euphemism.   We knew that we had real biologists on our hands when a few nights later we hear - coming from the women's dorm - "There's something crawling on my pillow - I hope it's just a cockroach" and when they would summon me by coming to the door and knocking and asking me to come get a scorpion in a calm voice, as if the toilet was plugged up or something.  This after one of the group actually was stung by a scorpion drying off after a shower. That would be Will in the green shirt "petting the scorpion".

Petting the Scorpion, Santa Rosa National Park, Costa Rica

Petting the Scorpion, Santa Rosa National Park, Costa Rica

Giant Toad, Bufo marinus,  Santa Rosa National Park, Costa Rica

Giant Toad, Bufo marinus,  Santa Rosa National Park, Costa Rica

Tree Frog,   Santa Rosa National Park, Costa Rica

Tree Frog,   Santa Rosa National Park, Costa Rica

Tree Frog,   Santa Rosa National Park, Costa Rica

Tree Frog,   Santa Rosa National Park, Costa Rica

We saw a few amphibians even in the dry park - although most of them were clustered around the outdoor washbasins.  The latter included 2 species? of tree frogs (above and left) which we haven't been able to identify yet. 

Far easier to identify was the Marine Toad.  These big toads are common in a lot of places.  They are native to the new world tropics, but have been introduced far and wide, ostensibly to control pests.  In terms of pest control they are really not that effective, and they are considered an invasive species themselves; preying on a wide variety of native species and outcompeting native amphibians.  The very large parotid glands (behind the ears in this picture) carry more poison than the average toad; these toads can be fatal to dogs and native predators that attack the toads.  To make matters worse, they are known to take food out of dog bowls, an activity sure to tick off any dog catching them at it.

Forest Transect,    Santa Rosa National Park, Costa Rica

Forest Transect,  Santa Rosa National Park, Costa Rica

Forest Transect,    Santa Rosa National Park, Costa Rica

Forest Transect,  Santa Rosa National Park, Costa Rica

 

One of the class activities at Santa Rosa was taking a transect through the forest.  The students measured the distances to the closest 4 trees at each of various random points along a line stretched through the forest.  Later, they compared their finding to a similar transect done in the rainforest at La Selva.  In the photo above, that would be Will who was "volunteered" by his peers to stretch the transect line into the forest on the theory that he wouldn't get stung twice in the same day.

Forest Transect,  Santa Rosa National Park, Costa Rica

Forest Transect, Santa Rosa National Park, Costa Rica

 

Tropical Dry Forest,  Santa Rosa National Park, Costa Rica

Tropical Dry Forest,  Santa Rosa National Park, Costa Rica

Tropical Dry Forest,  Santa Rosa National Park, Costa Rica

Tropical Dry Forest,  Santa Rosa National Park, Costa Rica

Playa Naranjo, Santa Rosa National Park, Costa Rica

Playa Naranjo, Santa Rosa National Park, Costa Rica

Some more views of the tropical dry forest at the end of the dry season.  Again, some of the trees did have leaves, and we were uncertain if they were put out in anticipation of the rains or if those trees had a water source deep down in the soil.

The water source for the green trees in the image to the left is not in question.  Those are mangroves and other trees in a small estuary at Playa Naranjo on the coast.  

In the photo below, the tropical dry forest has just received its first significant rainfall of the rainy season.

Tropical Dry Forest,  Santa Rosa National Park, Costa Rica

Tropical Dry Forest,  Santa Rosa National Park, Costa Rica

Tropical Dry Forest,  Santa Rosa National Park, Costa Rica

Tropical Dry Forest,  Santa Rosa National Park, Costa Rica

Santa Rosa National Park, Costa Rica - Tropical Dry Forest, Wet Season In 2007, we arrived in Santa Rosa after the start of the rainy season.  It was a different world, as these pictures attest.
Santa Rosa National Park, Costa Rica - Tropical Dry Forest, Wet Season Santa Rosa National Park, Costa Rica - Tropical Dry Forest, Wet Season
Santa Rosa National Park, Costa Rica - Tropical Dry Forest, Wet Season
Santa Rosa National Park, Costa Rica - Tropical Dry Forest, Wet Season
Santa Rosa National Park, Costa Rica - Tropical Dry Forest, Wet Season
Camouflaged moth, Santa Rosa National Park, Costa Rica

Camouflaged moth, Santa Rosa National Park, Costa Rica

Can you see me now?  Good.

 

You can read and see more about tropical dry forests here:

Our Trip to Playa Nancite, Santa Rosa National Park
Our trip to Playa Nancite - Slide Show

Santa Rosa National Park Slide Show

 

Videos from Costa Rica

 

 

If you want to see more high-quality pictures of organisms from the temperate rainforest and other biomes, click here!

If you want to know more about Marietta College's Biology and Environmental Science Program, click here!

 

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