Rainforests

Rainforests are very rich habitats for a huge variety of animals and plants. The reason they are called so, is because of the frequent downpours (rainfall). Rainforests are dense, sticky, wet and warm.

Different types of Rainforests

There are two types of rainforests: Tropical Rainforests and Temperate Rainforests. While Tropical rainforests are found close to the equator, Temperate Rainforests are found mostly in the Oceanic –moist climates.

Tropical rainforests are mostly found in South and Central America, West Africa and South East Asia. Temperate rainforests are found largely on the stretch from Northern California up into Canada and North America's Pacific Coast.

Life in the Rainforests

Rainforests cover around 7% of Earth’s land but contain over half of the world’s species of plants and animals. Some of the animals that can be found in the rainforests are Gibbons, Pygmy Marmoset, and Ocelots etc. The heavy moisture in the rainforests encourages lush plant growth. Some of the typical rainforest plants are Bromeliads and the Strangler Fig besides others. The world’s biggest flower, Rafflesia is found in the rainforests of Sumatra. Rainforests are also home to a variety of insects like the Glasswig Butterfly, Praying Mantis and Giraffe Beetle. The rainforests have an interesting nightlife too! It’s like the rainforest never sleeps because there are certain varieties of plants, animals and insects in the rainforest that are active during the night, like the Shaving Brush Tree, which only opens at night or the Ocelot which hunts at night etc.

praying mantis is commonly found in rainforests

Praying Mantis 

Courtesy: freedigitalphotos.net

The rainforests of Southeast Asia contain animals that are not found anywhere else in the world like the Sumatran Rhino, the Pangolin, Clouded Leopard and the Tarsier. The rivers of the rainforests are muddied because of the amount of silt that washes into them due to the rains.

The Different layers of Rainforests

There are four main levels or parts of a Rainforest namely:

1. Emergent:  These are the high tree tops and it is very sunny since it’s the topmost level.

2. Canopy Layer: This is like the forest’s leaky roof! It is made up from the majority of the tree tops. The roots of the canopy don’t reach the ground therefore they are called air plants.

3. Understory: This level is made up of shade-loving plants and short trees. There is dense vegetation at this level and so there is not much light.

 4. Forest Floor: The forest floor is a thick carpet of ferns, dead leaves, dead plants and twigs. This level is dark and damp.

Rainforests are always dense, humid and sticky

dense rainforest

Courtesy: freedigitalphotos.net

The Importance of Rainforests:

The plants in the rainforests generate most of the oxygen needed on Earth; therefore rainforests are very important for us. Also many of the things we eat or use like; sugar, cocoa, spices, pineapples, vanilla, certain medicines, rubber and bamboo etc. grow in the rainforests.

FUN FACT

Some tribes in areas such as Brazil and central Africa, who still live in rainforests, have no contact with the outside world.