What is a Rain Forest ?
Rainforests are the Earth's oldest living ecosystems.
Nowhere else on Earth do plants grow so vigorously as in the hot and damp regions near the Equator, in the tropical rain forests. More than half the total living organisms on Earth live in the rain forests!
Tropical rainforests are forests with tall trees, warm climates, and lots of rain. In some rainforests it rains more than one inch nearly every day of the year! Rainforests are found in Africa, Asia, Australia, and Central and South America.
Here, the tallest trees grow to more than 50 meters high and their branches extend all around for tens of meters. Closer to the ground, other trees thickly woven together form the undergrowth of the forest. Between the undergrowth and the ground, climbing plants, creepers trees and bushes often make the forest impassable.
- In the equatorial rain forests the average rainfall is 1500-1400mm every year.
- The temperature swings between 25°c and 35°c.
- In one hectare of rain forest, it is possible to find between 80 and 200 different species of plants.
- The Amazon rain forests cover a large part of the equatorial zone of South America around 6 million Sq Km.
Life in the trees
Lots of mammals which live in the rain forests have adapted to life in the trees. They move from one place to another in search of food.
Some of the animals that live in rain forsets are:
- Anaconda: The biggest snake in the world.
- ASSASSIN BUG: Assassin bugs are insects that eat other insects.
- HOWLER MONKEY: The loudest monkey and the largest New World monkey.
Plants that grow in rain forests
The Mangrove grows in the water salt marshes at the mouth of rivers. Its roots descend from the branches to the water, creating wonderful arched structures. Mangroves are homes for tropical fish and birds.
Epiphytes are plants which grow on branches of other trees. Their roots hang free and absorbs moisture in the air. The orchid belongs to this plant family, as well as bromeliads which includes the pineapple.
The lower layer of the rain forest is inhabited by ferns, which give shade and humidity.