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Tropical Rainforest

Toucan from the rainforest
One of the most fascinating biomes on planet Earth is the tropical rainforest. It is filled with tall trees, interesting plants, giant insects, and all sorts of animals.

What makes a forest a rainforest?

As you might have guessed from the name, rainforests are forests that get a lot of rain. Tropical rainforests are located in the tropics, near the equator. Most rainforests get at least 75 inches of rain with many getting well over 100 inches in areas.

Rainforests are also very humid and warm. Because they are close to the equator, the temperature stays between 70 and 90 degrees F for most of the year.

Where are the world's rainforests?

There are three major areas of tropical rainforests:
Rainforest biome map

The tropical rainforest has the most biodiversity of all the land biomes. Despite only covering around 6% of the Earth's surface, scientists estimate that around half of the planet's animal and plant species live in the world's rainforests.

Layers of the Rainforest

The rainforest can be divided up into three layers: the canopy, the understory, and the forest floor. Different animals and plants live in each different layer. Sometimes scientists refer to a fourth layer called the emergent layer. This is made up of tall trees that grow above the canopy.

What makes this biome so important?

The rainforests are important to the world for many reasons. One reason is that they act as the Earth's lungs by producing around 40% of the world's oxygen. Since all of us need oxygen to live, that reason ranks pretty high. The rainforests also provide a number of important drugs to help sick people and cure diseases. It is believed by many that there are even cures for cancer waiting for us to discover in the rainforest. The rainforest is also home to many species of animals and is a beautiful and irreplaceable part of nature.

The Disappearing Rainforests

Unfortunately, human development is killing off much of the world's rainforest. Around 40% of the world's rainforests have already been lost. Environmentalists are doing what they can to help countries preserve this vital biome.

Facts About Tropical Rainforests Activities

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