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Rainforest inside a cave

A spectacular cave in Vietnam helps reveal how flowering plants affect the world’s climate and landscape.

Plants take up water from the ground and release it to the atmosphere through their leaves, in a process known as transpiration. Flowering plants have a greater density of veins than other plants and so release more water, some of which goes to create rain.

Rainforests are composed mostly of flowering plants, all which generate rainfall and add to the wet climate. The caves of Hang son Doong were created by water percolating down from the rainforest above and carving the rock. In a part of the cave the roof has collapsed and a rainforest has grown inside the cave - an example of the plant kingdom’s remarkable ability to colonise wherever there is light.

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3 minutes