Rainforest facts for kids
A rainforest is a forest that receives heavy rainfall. The most notable rainforests are in the tropics or subtropics. The biggest rainforest is the Amazon rainforest, which is mostly in Brazil. Forests like this have extraordinary biodiversity. Biologists say over half of all plant and animal species live in the rainforest. Also more than 1/4 of all medicines come from here. Even though they only cover 6% of the Earth’s land area they are still an important source of oxygen.
The rainforest gets an average of 50 to 250 inches (1.2-6.3m) of rain through the year. It is warm all year round, rarely getting above 34°C (94 °F) or getting below 20 °C
Tropical rainforests occur in three major geographical areas around the world. These areas are:
- Parts of South and Central America – the Amazon River basin, and Costa Rica.
- Africa – Congo River basin, with a small area in West Africa; also eastern Madagascar.
- South Asia and Australasia – west coast of India, Assam, Southeast Asia, New Guinea, and Queensland, Australia.
The five layers
Tropical rainforests are typically dominated by different plants and animals at different levels. The top layer is the emergent layer. Then there is the canopy layer. Under the tall canopy is the understory. The understory is made up of smaller trees, vines and shrubs. The next layer is called the shrub layer, and has mainly bushes. The bottom layer is the forest floor. This is made up of the small plants on the ground.
From the rainforests: