Tropical plants and animals are those species native to the tropics. Tropical ecosystems may consist of tropical rainforests , seasonal tropical forests , dry (often deciduous) forests , spiny forests, desert and other habitat types. There are often significant areas of biodiversity , and species endemism present, particularly in rainforests and seasonal forests. Some examples of important biodiversity and high endemism ecosystems are El Yunque National Forest in Puerto Rico , Costa Rican and Nicaraguan rainforests, Amazon Rainforest territories of several South American countries, Madagascar dry deciduous forests , the Waterberg Biosphere of South Africa , and eastern Madagascar rainforests. Often the soils of tropical forests are low in nutrient content, making them quite vulnerable to slash-and-burn deforestation techniques, which are sometimes an element of shifting cultivation agricultural systems.
Using fresh, potable water to sustain nothing more than inedible grass, which probably doesn’t provide many other benefits, is often not the right choice for sustainability. But there are so many other options. Choosing plants native to your area that have evolved to thrive under the naturally present conditions is one choice. If exotic plants are more your thing, talk to a naturalist or a botanist at a local nursery or arboretum to discover unique options for your yard—plants that will both please you aesthetically and fit happily into the local ecosystem.
You can also consider installing rain barrels, depending on your local regulations, or planting a “rain garden”—planting water-loving foliage in areas where water tends to gather, to allow it to be absorbed into the soil rather than running off into storm drains.