Rainforest facts for kids

Daintree Rainforest
The Daintree Rainforest in Queensland, Australia

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

Rainforest between Kuranda and Cairns, North East Queensland
The Daintree Rainforest in Queensland, Australia

(68 °F).


Campo12Foto 2
Aerial view of the Amazon rainforest, taken from a plane.







Tropical rainforests occur in three major geographical areas around the world. These areas are:

Koppen World Map Af
Worldwide tropical rainforest zones
Satellite image of 2015 Southeast Asian haze - 20150924
Satellite photograph of the haze above Borneo and Sumatra on 24 September 2015.
  • 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

FRIM canopy
The canopy at the Forest Research Institute

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.

Chameleon - Tanzania - Usambara Mountains
West Usambara Two-Horned Chameleon (Bradypodion fischeri) in the Usambara Mountains, Tanzania.

From the rainforests:


Brazil nuts