The Rainforest is an area that only covers around 6% to 7% of all of the land in the world but still has more than half of the world’s plant and animal species.
Rainforests are forests that grow near the equator. They have many trees and the climate is warm and has lots of rain. Due to all of the rain, the trees grow very tall and so the sunlight has a hard time reaching the ground.
The climate of the rainforest does not change much so with the rain and the hot temperatures it is a busy place for animals, especially those that live in trees.
Rainforests are very warm and are very humid. They usually have a temperature of 70-90 degrees Fahrenheit.
Most rainforests have over 75 inches of rain in a year and some of the areas get over 100 inches of rainfall per year. A rainforest can get so much rain in one year that it would be deeper than two men standing on top of each other.
Types of Rainforests
There are two different types of rainforests:
- Tropical rainforest-this type of rainforest is hot because it is found near the equator and it has a lot of rainfall.
- Temperate rainforest-this type of rainforest is found in cooler regions, but there is still a huge amount of rainfall.
There are many different types of rainforests such as lowland rainforests, flooded rainforests, swamp rainforests, cloud forests and montane forests.
Lowland Tropical Rainforest
A lowland tropical rainforest is a rainforest where there are huge trees with lots of rain. In this type of rainforest, you will probably see many different birds and other animals such as monkeys. There also are other animals that walk along the ground.
A lowland tropical rainforest has many features such as:
- Many colors
- Trees of all sizes
- Many different animal habitats
A flooded rainforest is a place where there is a lot of water and where there is flooding that happens each year. When there is a flooded rainforest, it means that the area is under a lot of water for a lot of the year.
A swamp rainforest is similar to a flooded rainforest except this type of rainforest happens more when the area does not have a good drainage system and it causes water to flood part of the area.
A cloud rainforest is a rainforest that is cooler in temperature than other rainforests and this type of rainforest can be found in higher areas such as on mountains.
A Montane Rainforest is similar to a cloud rainforest but is most likely covered in mist. This type of rainforest is also found higher up and has different types of animals than other rainforests.
Where are Some of the Rainforests Located?
The rainforests are found in many different areas. Tropical rainforests, for example, are found close to the equator, where it is very warm. Most of the tropical rainforests are located between the tropics of Cancer and Capricorn which are imaginary lines that run parallel to the equator.
Some tropical rainforests are found in:
- North America
- South America
- Southeast Asia
The largest rainforest in the world is found in South America and it is the Amazon Rainforest. This rainforest is double the size of India and it covers parts of:
- French Guiana
Temperate rainforests are found in places that are further from the equator. These rainforests are cooler and are found in areas that are close to the coast.
The largest temperate rainforest is the Pacific Temperate Rainforest Ecoregion and it is located on the western coast of north America and runs from Alaska to California. There are also other temperate rainforests in:
- New Zealand
- South America
Parts of the Rainforest
The rainforest comes in different layers: the emergent layer, the canopy, the forest floor and the understory.
- Canopy-this is where the top layers of the trees are. The trees are usually over 100 feet tall and they have branches and leaves that are shaped like an umbrella and cover the other areas in the forest. Many animals such as monkeys and birds live in this part of the rainforest.
- Emergent Layer-this is the layer of the rainforest that is the highest layer of all of the forest. This is the part of the trees that are higher than the other things that are growing. The Emergent layer is the layer where birds such as eagles will perch.
- Forest floor-this layer does not get a lot of sunlight because of the canopy and so there are very little plants here. Many spiders and other insects live in this area and other animals like snakes and pigs live here even though it is darker than other areas in the forest.
- The understory-this area is where there are smaller trees and some shrubs that grow here. This is where most of the tree’s trunks are so there are many animals that live in this area such as leopards, snakes, bats, frogs and other animals.
Animals of the Rainforest
The rainforest is home to many insects and animals. Because the trees are so tall, most of the sunlight does not hit the ground so most plants that grow, grow in the trees. The roots of the trees are wide, and the trees grow in layers, but the plants have poor nutrition because the trees take up most of the soil nutrients.
There are more than 1.5 million different species that have been found in the rainforest and there are still millions of species that have not even been discovered yet.
The largest numbers of animals live in the rainforest because of the warmth and the constant water. Many of the animals are poisonous and they camouflage themselves. Some of the animals of the tropical forest include:
- venomous snakes
These animals eat fruit from the trees and leaves and some insects. Spiders are also known to be in the rainforest. Some say that spiders are so big that they eat birds. Bats and other animals are oftentimes found in large numbers in the tropical forest.
Many of the animals are found in different areas of the rainforest. In the canopy, some of the animals include:
- Howler Monkeys
- Tree frog
- Red eyed tree frog
- Spider monkeys
- Harpy Eagles
In the Understory layer, the animals include:
- Northern Tamandua
- Boa Constrictors
Animals of the Forest Floor include:
- Sloth Bears
- Ant Eaters
Plants of the Rainforest
Because there is so much rain, there is a lot of different plants and vegetation that grows in the rainforest. Most of these plants and trees have features that help them to be able to gather water needed to grow and survive. Some of these plants and trees do not get the sunlight that they need and so they depend on other ways to survive. Some of these plants and trees are:
- Short trees
- Plants with large leaves
- Plants with waxy leaves
- Plants with pointed tips
- Very tall trees
People of the Rainforest
There are different tribes that live in the rainforests including ones in:
- New Guinea
These people are Native Tribes and they follow different traditions that they have learned. No one really knows how many people live in the rainforest.
Rivers and Streams of the Rainforest
A lot of rainforests have rivers and streams that run through them or are close to them. These rivers and streams are important because they help to provide water for animals that are living there. The rivers and streams also provide a place for fast swimmers to be able to hunt for their food.
Why is the Rainforest Important?
The rainforest is an important place because it is home to so many species of plants and animals. The rainforest also helps to give us plants that provide medicine to us. The rainforest can also give us:
Another important reason that the rainforest is so important is because it helps to soak up much of the carbon dioxide that is in the atmosphere. The plants and trees use photosynthesis to make oxygen while getting rid of some of the harmful carbon dioxide.
More Facts About the Rainforest:
- Scientists sometimes think there is a fourth layer in the rainforest, and they call it the emergent layer. This is the trees that grow above the canopy.
- The rainforest is important because it helps to produce oxygen for the whole world.
- Soil in the rainforest does not have many nutrients.
- There are thousands of butterfly species found in the rainforest.
- The rainforest is getting lost because people cut it down to build on.
- The rainforest only makes up around 6% of the Earth’s surface.
- There are more than half of the plant and animal species that live in the rainforest.
- Most of the animals that are in the rainforest live in the canopy area.
What Did You Learn?
- What is a rainforest?
The rainforest is the area where it mostly has tall trees, many plants, animals and insects.
- What is different about the weather in the rainforest?
In the rainforest, there is a lot of rain. The average rainfall per year is 75-100 inches.
- What are the three layers of the rainforest?
The three layers of the rainforest are the canopy, the understory and the forest floor.
- Why does the forest floor get very little rain and have very few plants?
The forest floor does not get much rain or sunshine because the canopy blocks it. This is why there are less plants that are found on the ground.
- Are there many animals found in the rainforest?
More than half of the animals in the world live in the rainforest.
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