What are Tropical Rainforests?
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. The largest rainforest in the world is the Amazon rainforest in South America.
Where are rainforests located?
Rainforests are found in the tropics, the region between the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn, just above and below the Equator. In this tropic zone, the sun is very strong and shines about the same amount of time every day, all year long, keeping the climate warm and relatively stable.
Many countries have tropical forests. The countries with the largest areas of tropical forest are (in order):
- Congo (Democratic Republic)
Other countries that have large areas of rainforests also include:
- Central African Republic
- Papua New Guinea
- Republic of Congo
What make up a rainforest?
Each rainforest is unique, but there are certain features common to all tropical rainforests.
Location – Rainforests lie in the tropics.
Rainfall – Rainforests receive at least 80 inches (200 cm) of rain per year.
Canopy – Rainforests have a canopy, which is the layer of branches and leaves formed by closely spaced rainforest trees. Most of the plants and animals in the rainforest live in the canopy. The canopy may be 100 feet (30 m) above the ground.
Biodiversity – Rainforests have a high level of biological diversity or “biodiversity”. Biodiversity is the name for all living things—like plants, animals, and fungi—found in an ecosystem. Scientists believe that about half of the plants and animals found on Earth’s land surface live in rainforests.
Symbiotic relationships between species – Species in the rainforest often work together. In a symbiotic relationship, two different species benefit by helping each other—you can think of it as a partnership. For example, some plants produce small housing structures and sugar for ants. In return the ants protect the plants from other insects that want to feed on the plant’s leaves