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The Rainforest

Interesting Fact:
More than 20 percent of the world oxygen is produced in the Amazon Rainforest.

What is a Rainforest?

Rainforests are very dense, warm and wet forests.

Why is it called a Rainforest?

The reason it is called a "rain" forest is because of the high amount of rainfall it gets per year. Rainforests have an annual rainfall of at least 100 inches (254 centimeters) and often much more.

Why are Rainforests important to us?

They are very important as the plants of the rainforest generate much of the Earth’s oxygen

Interesting Fact:

Rainforests cover only 6 %of the Earth's surface but yet they contain MORE THAN 1/2 of the world's plant and animal species!

How many different types of Rainforests are there?

There are two types of Rainforest:

  1. Temperate Rainforests
  2. Tropical Rainforests

Find out more (Click on the link "Types of Rainforest" on the left of the page)

Interesting Fact:

Rainforests are found on every continent across the Earth, except Antarctica.

Where in the world are Rainforests found?

Tropical rainforests are found close to the equator where temperatures and rainfall are very high all year round. The major areas of tropical rainforests are in South East Asia, West Africa and South and Central America. The best known rain forests are found in tropical regions between the Tropics of cancer and Capricorn.

Temperate rainforests are found along coasts in the temperate zone.
The largest temperate rainforests are found on North America's Pacific Coast and stretch from Northern California up into Canada. Temperate rainforests have one long wet winter/spring season, and a dry foggy summer.

What lives in a Rainforest?

As many as 30 million species of plants and animals live in tropical rainforests.

Interesting Fact:

A typical four square mile patch of rainforest contains as many as 1,500 flowering plants, 750 species of trees, 400 species of birds and 150 species of butterflies.

What are the different layers of a Rainforest Called?

There are four main parts of a Rainforest. They are:

Emergent Layer - very sunny because it is the very top. Only the tallest trees reach this level. 
Who lives here? birds, butterflies and small monkeys live with bats, snakes and bugs.

Canopy Layer - much of the rain is stopped by the thick foliage. Most trees in the forest grow to this height. There are plants that grow in the canopy layer. Their roots don't reach the ground. These are called air plants. 
Who lives here? birds, monkeys, frogs, and sloths, as well as lizards, snakes and many insects. 
See photos

Understory Layer - many vines, dense vegetation, not much light. 
Who lives here? birds, butterflies, frogs and snakes 
See photos

Forest Floor - dark, damp, full of many dead leaves, twigs and dead plants. The forest floor is dark due to the trees above stopping the sunlight from entering the forest. It is estimated that only 2% of the sunlight actually reaches the floor. 
Who lives here? jaguars in South America, gorillas and leopards in Africa and tapirs and tigers and elephants in Asia. 
See photos

Click here to find out more

Interesting Fact:

The trees of a tropical rainforest are so densely packed that rain falling on the canopy can take as long as 10 minutes to reach the ground.

What do we get from Rainforests?

Many of the things we have in our homes comes from the rainforest.

These include:

  • medicine
  • chocolate - Chocolate is made from cocoa. Cocoa pods grow on trees in rainforests.
  • sugar
  • spices - includes ginger, allspice, pepper, cinnamon, coconut, vanilla, turmeric and paprika.
  • rubber
  • pineapples
  • bamboo

Interesting Fact:

An area of a rainforest the size of a football field is being destroyed each second.

Rainforest Websites

Rainforest at Night
A Geographic interactive website that explores the Rainforest at Night.  Simply move your mouse over the page (like shining a spotlight) to discover photos and then click on the photo to learn additional facts.

Rainforests of the World 
Choose a topic on the left 
to read about rainforest habitats.

Learning about Rainforests
Listen to the sounds

A World Inside Our World 
This site has information about five major rainforests in the world. Learn about the people, plants, and animals that live in these rainforests.

Rainforest Aanimals

All about Rainforests - What is a Rainforest? Find out here about the different layers of a rainforest and other facts. A great site

Rainforest Dictionary - A pictorial Dictionary

Tasmania's Cool Temperate Rainforests 
Australia's temperate rainforests and the different trees and animals found there.

PBS: African Rainforest 
Click on "Series Profile" for a slideshow and a video.