A cloud forest in….

By Razib Khan | December 10, 2010 1:22 am

765px-Salalah_Oman
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

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Ecology
MORE ABOUT: Cloud Forest
  • Sandgroper

    There’s a cutting adjacent to that road (in the Salalah Mountains photo) that will not remain stable long term.

    Sorry, occupational hazard.

    I just feel slightly uncomfortable with the idea that the forest has existed in that state since the Oligocene. I wonder if that is just supposition.

    Beautiful looking country, but above the clouds is uncomfortably wet.

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  • Pratchetter

    The weirdest part about Salalah is getting there. It’s literally about a 1000 km from Muscat, Oman’s capital, and the two are connected by one long, normally deserted road. After you’ve been driving down it for >10 hours, through the most barren desert imaginable, you finally crest a hill. On the leeward side, it’s entirely desert, just like it’s been for the past 10 hours, but as soon as you reach the windward side you see something exactly like this picture. It’s quite an excellent demonstration of rain patterns in action.

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About Razib Khan

I have degrees in biology and biochemistry, a passion for genetics, history, and philosophy, and shrimp is my favorite food. In relation to nationality I'm a American Northwesterner, in politics I'm a reactionary, and as for religion I have none (I'm an atheist). If you want to know more, see the links at http://www.razib.com

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