The term “rainforest” refers to a tall, hot, and dense forest close to the equator, which is said to be the oldest living ecosystem on Earth and receives the most rainfall.
A tropical rainforest consists of evergreen trees and plants that have adapted to live under high humidity, heavy rainfall, and temperatures above 80 degrees Fahrenheit. These ecosystems are home to a wide variety of fauna, including primates, amphibians, reptiles, birds, butterflies, bees, wasps, and moths.
If you don’t know a lot about tropical rainforests, you might be shocked to learn that there are some interesting but little-known facts about this rather unique biome.
30 Interesting Facts about the RainForest
Fact 1: A tropical rainforest is home to hundreds of different types of trees, covering about 6% of Earth’s surface.
Fact 2: Tropical rainforests represent only 2% of the world’s remaining rainforests despite containing 8-13% of the planet’s terrestrial mammal biomass.
Fact 3: It can take ten minutes for a falling raindrop to travel from a rainforest’s thick canopy to the floor.
Fact 4: A tree known as the idiot fruit grows in Australia‘s Daintree rainforest.
Fact 5: Rainforests are the forests that receive a high amount of rainfall. The tropical rainforest is very rainy, as its name implies. Rainforests get at least 250cm of rain a year. Sometimes it’s almost double that at 450cm. The water rainforests produce is evaporated and then used as rain in other areas.
Fact 6: The Amazon rainforest in South America is so big that if it were a country, it would be the ninth biggest in the world. It covers lots of countries including Brazil, Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, Venezuela, Guyana, Suriname and French Guiana. However, the Amazon mainly covers Brazil.
Fact 7: Nearly 121 prescription drugs sold worldwide come from tropical rainforest plant-derived sources and 25% of Western pharmaceuticals are derived from rainforest ingredients; yet less than 1% of these tropical trees and plants have been tested by scientists.
Fact 8: By controlling global temperatures and weather patterns, absorbing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, storing the carbon, and producing oxygen for us, rainforests serve as the planet’s thermostat. They serve as one of the planet’s main carbon sinks and contribute to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, which can prevent a significant quantity of carbon from entering the atmosphere.
Fact 9: At least 80% of the diet in the developed world comes from tropical rainforests. Fruits including avocados, coconuts, figs, oranges, lemons, grapefruit, bananas, guavas, pineapples, mangoes, and tomatoes are among its offerings to the globe. Vegetables like corn, potatoes, winter squash, and yams have also been produced, as well as coffee, vanilla, sugar cane, tumeric, black pepper, cayenne, chocolate, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, and Brazil and cashew nuts.
Fact 10: The rainforest ground is a very dark place.The canopy above blocks out most of the sunlight from hitting the floor and so because of this there are a lot of dead plants and leaves. Around 2% of sunlight actually reaches the ground.
Fact 11: It has 2.5 million insects, 1,300 species of birds, 3,000 species of fish and 430 different mammals.
Fact 12: The two types of rainforest are temperate and tropical. Temperate rainforests are cooler than tropical rainforests. They are usually near cooler coastal areas. While Tropical rainforests are very hot and are found near the equator.
Fact 13: Rainforests play an essential role in maintaining the Earth’s limited supply of fresh water. Scientists estimate that about 15% of the world’s freshwater flows from the Amazon Basin alone.
Fact 14: Global Forest Watch claims that each year, tropical forestland the size of Bangladesh is lost from the earth. 15.8 million hectares of tropical forests were lost in 2017 alone, and overall, humans have eliminated roughly half of the world’s natural forest cover.
Fact 15: You can find rainforests in many countries, not just in South America. They can be found in Alaska and Canada, as well as Asia, Africa and Latin America.
Fact 16: There are 750 different tree species and 1500 flowering plant species inside the four square miles of tropical rainforest, and many of these plants can fight cancer. In Tasmania’s temperate rainforests, some pine trees can live for two thousand years!
Fact 17: Only the world’s tropical rainforests contain at least 70% of the plants used to treat cancer. Over 60% of anticancer medications come from natural sources, including rainforest plants, according to research in the International Journal of Oncology.
Fact 18: Rainforests are threatened each and every day, especially by practices such as agriculture, ranching, logging and mining.
Fact 19: In the beginning, there were around 6 million square miles of rainforest; today, less than half of that is still present in the world due to deforestation.
Fact 20: Every ten years, 5–10% of the species in the rainforests will become extinct if the current rate of decrease is maintained.
Fact 21: The rainforest is home to a wide range of various animal species. Despite taking up less than 3% of the surface of the world, tropical rainforests are home to more than half of the terrestrial animal species.
Fact 22: The tropical rainforests, despite being thousands of kilometres away, provide a significant portion of the oxygen that is present in our atmosphere thanks to the abundance of trees there.
Fact 23: On the Caribbean island of Dominica, a lake inside a rainforest sizzles at about 88°C.
Fact 24: Some tropical rainforests have existed on Earth since the time of the dinosaurs. As one of the planet’s oldest biomes, tropical rainforests are home to a wide range of animals.
Fact 25: Animal species are surprisingly diverse. Rival strawberry poison dart frogs may wrestle for up to 20 minutes in the rainforests of Central America! The Southeast Asian rhinoceros hornbill bird has a horn-like structure on its head that resembles an additional beak. Nearly 5 kilometres away, you may hear the black howler monkeys’ cries in the forests of Latin America.
Fact 26: Incredibly diverse plant life can be found in rainforests. The tropical rainforest is home to more than 2,500 distinct varieties of vines. Some even have a thickness that is equal to a person’s diameter. In the tropical rainforest, an epiphyte plant known as an orchid grows on top of other plants. While, up to nine inches can develop on giant bamboo plants every day. In tropical jungles, there is a fungus called veiled stinkhorn that smells like decaying food. In the tropical rainforest, new plants sprout from bird droppings. And this list can just go on….
Fact 27: Sloths move so slowly in the damp rainforests of South and Central America that algae can grow in their fur and they can even carry bugs and cockroaches in their fur!
Fact 28: About 80% of the flowers found in Australian rainforests are not found anywhere in the world.
Fact 29: 1 out of 4 people worldwide depend on forests for their livelihoods. According to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, about 1.6 billion people—more than 25% of the world’s population—rely on forest resources for their livelihoods, and the majority of them—1.2 billion—use trees on farms to provide food and money.
Fact 30: Tropical rainforests act as a reservoir of biodiversity, protecting a number of rare and endangered species.
Today, Tropical Forest is under threat due to deforestation and human consumption. In fact, we lose between 10 to 30 thousand hectares of forest daily. The destruction of these ecosystems and their associated biodiversity, puts the whole planet at risk!
Rainforest conservation can only be done when we learn how to live harmoniously with nature in order to maintain balance between us and our planet. We should respect nature’s laws and not take away her wealth, including air, water and land. We need to work side-by-side with nature to preserve rainforests and stop deforestation. We should teach ourselves about the environment, its laws, and all wildlife that inhabits it.
If you really want to do something to help conserve our rainforests and promote a cleaner environment, consider volunteering somewhere that helps to preserve them. Your contribution may not seem significant at first, but if everyone took action by doing little things, together we can make a big change!
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