The Tropics are a region of the Earth, roughly defined as the area between the tropic of Cancer and the tropic of Capricorn. Although topography and other factors contribute to climatic variation, tropical locations are typically warm and experience little seasonal change in day-to-day temperature. An important feature of the Tropics is the prevalence of rain in the moist inner regions near the equator, and that the seasonality of rainfall increases with the distance from the equator.
The Tropics account for 40 per cent of the world’s total surface area and are host to approximately 80 per cent of the world’s biodiversity and much of its language and cultural diversity. The tropical region faces a number of challenges such as climate change, deforestation, logging, urbanisation and demographic changes.
Facts about the Tropics
- The Tropics host nearly 95% of the world’s mangrove forests by area and 99% of mangrove species. The area of mangrove forest has decreased in all tropical regions since 1980.
- The Tropics have just over half of the world’s renewable water resources (54%), yet almost half their population is considered vulnerable to water stress.
- Biodiversity is greater in the Tropics across most taxonomic groups, with an equivalently higher proportion of threatened species. For those plants and animals for which there are adequate data, loss of biodiversity is greater in the Tropics than in the rest of the world.
The Human system
- Consistent with the higher levels of poverty, more people experience undernourishment in the Tropics than in the rest of the world.
- The proportion of the urban population living in slum conditions is higher in the Tropics than in the rest of the World.
- By 2050, the region will host most of the world’s people and two-thirds of its children.
The International Day of the Tropics celebrates the extraordinary diversity of the tropics while highlighting unique challenges and opportunities nations of the Tropics face. It provides an opportunity to take stock of progress across the tropics, to share tropical stories and expertise and to acknowledge the diversity and potential of the region.