The significance that tropical rainforests play in preserving life on Earth, makes them one of the most significant ecosystems in the world.
It is interesting to know that the tropical rainforest hosts the oldest and largest diversification of living things here on earth and is the largest biome
Although the tropical rainforest is the most famous, different forest vegetation exists and is classified based on latitudinal location, there are three types of forest vegetation which are boreal, temperate, and tropical.
This article presents interesting facts about the rainforest.
What is a Tropical Rainforest?
The tropical Forest is the oldest type of vegetation, it once occupies 14% of the earth’s land surface but currently, only 6% of it remains
The rainforest can be found on every continent except Antarctica.
The tropical rainforest is located mainly at the equator where Sunlight strikes the Earth at about 90° and the temperatures are at an average of 28 degrees Celsius throughout the year it receives a high measure of rainfall of about 2000 mm of rainfall each year.
The largest rainforest can be found in Brazil which is the Amazon followed by that in so also in the Congo River in Africa, Australia, and the tropical islands of Southeast Asia.
The tropical Rain forest is dominated by broad evergreen leave trees which grow to outstanding heights of 100 meters.
Interesting facts about the tropical rainforest
Some interesting facts about the Tropical Rainforest are:
- Very High Annual Rainfall
- A Large percentage of rainfall in the rainforest is stored by epiphytes
- It has the highest biodiversity in the world
- Poor Soil Nutrition
- High temperature
- Dampened and limited sunlight reaches the forest floor
- The tropical forest floor is free contrary to popular belief
- It is dominated by Canopy Trees
- An estimated 60-90% of Life is found on Canopy Trees
- The tropical rainforest regulates the global climate
- The tropical rainforest contributes massively to local annual rainfall
- The tropical rainforest host immense untapped medicinal benefits
- If the tropical rainforest is not preserved it would soon be lost
- The tropical rainforest contributes to the global emission of carbon dioxide
- The tropical rainforest is in danger of losing more life
- Most of the food eaten today were derived from the tropical rainforest
- A source of livelihood for indigenous dwellers
1. Very high annual rainfall
The tropical rainforest as the name goes experiences lots of rainfall with an estimated range of 1800mm to 2500mm (that is about 70 – 100 inches annually.
Throughout the year rain falls in tropical rainforests and during the season when rainfall is less cloud cover prevents the leaves from drying out and these seasons don’t last for too long.
2. A large percentage of rainfall in the rainforest is stored by epiphytes
This is one interesting fact about the rainforest, a large percentage of rainfall is absorbed by epiphytes (these are plants growing on other plants to access sunlight, nutrients, and water) in some cases as much as 90% of rainfall is absorbed by them.
When rain falls canopy trees deflect raindrops and the wind and persons on the forest floor won’t know, it takes approximately 10min. for raindrops to touch the ground, so visitors would most often not know when it starts
3. It has the highest biodiversity in the world
The tropical rainforest has the largest biological diversification in the world, no one knows the exact number of species found in it, with over 2.5 million different insects, 427 species of mammals, 3000 types of fishes, 40,000 plant species and1300 bird species.
It is estimated that over 50% of life on earth is found in the tropical rainforest
4. Poor soil nutrition
One would naturally think that due to the constant rainfall and decomposing material in the tropical rainforest the soil would be very fertile this is one Interesting fact about the tropical rainforest. The reverse is the case.
The soils of the tropical rainforest are typically nutrient-poor and infertile due to high levels of rainfall and rapid nutrient uptake by plants from decomposing organic materials.
Oxisols and Ultisols, which are soils rich in iron and aluminum oxides (typically red) but low in natural fertility, are the main soil orders found in tropical rainforests.
This soil hardly holds nutrients for long without it being washed away.
The forest floor is full of organisms that readily take advantage of decomposing matter, in a matter of minutes decomposing matter is identified and fed upon rapidly
5. High temperature
Because the rainforest is located mainly in the equatorial regions, it enjoys constant sunlight of 12 hours daily and all year round and the weather is regularly hot.
The average annual temperature of the tropical rainforest lies between 20 to 29 degree Celsius, and the high level of humidity is above 50% during the day and nearly 100%.
6. Dampened and limited sunlight reaches the forest floor
Because the rainforest is filled with canopy trees, it is interesting to know that in the tropical rainforest sunshine hours are between 4 to 6 hours daily on the forest ground and only about 2% of sunshine penetrates through the forest cover to the ground.
7. The forest floor is free contrary to popular belief
Rarely is the forest floor of a primary tropical rainforest the dense, tangled jungle of adventure tales, and videos. Contrary to popular belief, the ground is largely devoid of plants because of the dense cover of trees that rises approximately 100 feet (30 meters) above it and the poorly nourished soil.
8. It is dominated by canopy trees
The vertical stratification of trees in the rainforest can be classified into 5 different layers which are the overstory, the canopy, the understory, the shrub, and the forest floor.
The overstory trees also known as the emergent trees refer to trees that break above the normal height of the Prevalent height of trees in the rainforest (The canopy layer), They are very tall trees with a height reaching up to 210 feet(65 m).
Overstory trees are subject to violent winds but this is not to a disadvantage because they take advantage of this to spread their seeds,
The next layer of trees below the overstory is called the canopy trees these form the vast majority of what is seen from above when looking at the tropical rainforest, trees in this region grow between 20 to 50 meters and are compacted together.
One interesting fact about canopy trees is that their branches and leaves don’t meet, they stay a few feet separate from each other,
The reason for this separation could be because the trees have developed this as a means to avoid being infected by the neighboring tree.
9. An estimated 60-90% of life is found on canopy trees
The largest percentage of life in the tropical rainforest is found in the canopy layer and not on the forest floor.
This is because Canopy trees have a high rate of photosynthesis, therefore producing more flowers, seeds, and fruits than plants underneath them, this attracts life in the rainforest.
The rainforest’s canopy structure offers a wide variety of habitats for both plants and animals. The canopy facilitates interactions between various species by providing food, shelter, and hiding places.
10. The tropical rainforest regulates the global climate
Tropical forests absorb about 25% of the world’s terrestrial carbon.
Also, Research has shown that the tropical rainforest cools the earth by 1 degree Celsius.
11. The tropical rainforest contributes massively to local annual rainfall
Rainfall contributes immensely to the total percentage of rainfall on the planet, through transpiration water vapor is released which becomes a critical component of the water cycle and essential in Cloud formation.
Tress in the rainforest are incredible absorbers of rainwater, it is estimated that the Amazon forest holds about half of the total world’s rainwater.
They are excellent recyclers of water supplying water to lakes and rivers.
It is estimated that the Amazon rainforest contributes a total of about 70% of the total rainfall in Southern Brazil and water vapor from the rainforest in Africa condenses as rain in the Americas.
12. The tropical rainforest host immense untapped medicinal benefits
One-fourth of medicines produced today can be sourced in the rainforest and an estimated 70% of plants in the rainforest have anti-cancer properties, although scientific analysis to determine the potential medicinal benefits that can be derived from the rainforest has been carried out in less than 1% of the species of plants in the rain forest.
With each rainforest species testing out various chemical defenses to ensure survival in the highly competitive and dangerous predators, the rainforest has been considered the ultimate chemical laboratory.
For millions of years, they have been creating chemicals to defend themselves from pests, diseases, infections, and predators. As a result, rainforest species serve as a good source of medications and chemical building blocks for the development of novel therapies.
Tree barks, roots, and leaves contain important phytochemicals that can be used to treat malaria, rheumatism, diabetes, arthritis, dysentery, etc.
For example, the Cola de Raton (Rat’s tail) is useful in digestion, Canellila for conception, Brazillian Ginseng (Suma) has numerous health benefits as it can be used as a healing tonic, enhance the immune system and an anticancer property and the Wasai root is excellent for maintaining kidney health
13. If the tropical rainforest is not preserved it would soon be lost
The Tropical rainforest is under the threat of being wiped out because of the intense activity of deforestation. 95% of Deforestation happens in tropical forests.
Through urbanization, infrastructure development, logging for products like timber and paper, and land clearing for agricultural farming the tropical rainforest is being destroyed
Originally, there were about 6 million square miles of rainforest but currently, less than this remains of it with the amazon forest occupying over half of the total size of the global rainforest.
According to the global forest watch, 15.8 million hectares of tropical forest were lost and every year it is estimated that forest of more than 10 million hectares is being lost yearly
14. The tropical rainforest contributes to the global emission of carbon dioxide
The Tropical rain Forests now emit more carbon dioxide than they absorb because of the activity of deforestation and forest fire.
The carbon that trees store is released back into the environment when they are cut down, primarily as carbon dioxide. Globally, the loss of tropical forests between 2015 and 2017 produced 10 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide or around 10% of all annual human CO2 emissions.
15. The tropical rainforest is in danger of losing more life
The 10 million species of living things found in the tropical rainforest are under the threat of extinction, many would be classified as endangered in the next quarter of this century due to the large losses of their habitat as a result of deforestation and wildfire.
With the current rate of deforestation 5-10 percent of life in the rainforest would be lost.
In the amazon rainforest the Golden Lion Tamarin, Giant otters, and Jagua are classified as endangered and the Uakari Monkey, for example, has become extinct.
16. Most of the food eaten today were derived from the tropical rainforest
At least 80% of the food consumed in the developed world comes from tropical rainforests. Fruits and vegetables like corn, potatoes, rice, winter squash, and yams, as well as spices like black pepper, cayenne, cocoa, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, sugar cane, turmeric, coffee, and vanilla, as well as nuts like Brazil nuts and cashews, are just some of its abundant offerings to the globe.
There are at least 3000 fruits that can be found in rainforests, yet only 200 of them are currently consumed in the West. Over 2,000 are used by the Indians of the jungle.
Experts’ opinions suggest that the tropical rainforest has greater economic worth when it is left uncut and its numerous nuts, fruits, oil-producing plants, and medicinal plants are harvested rather than when they are cut down to provide grazing ground for cattle or timber.
17. A source of livelihood for indigenous dwellers
The tropical rainforest has become an important source of shelter, food, and medicine for indigenous people depend on, the encroachment of loggers to this location destroys their source of livelihood and introduces various diseases to their community which they aren’t resistant to.
Top tropical rainforest facts for kids
- The tropical rainforest is over 70million years
- The amazon rainforest is the biggest tropical rainforest in the world
- Over 50% of the total atmospheric carbon dioxide is absorbed by plants in the tropical rainforest
- It is said that Humans evolved in the tropical rainforest of Africa
- Man is known as a higher animal, the closest biological and physical relative to man lives in the tropical rain forest which are the gorillas and the chimpanzees
- Most of the fruits we cultivate and eat today come from the rainforest
- Birds such as the eagle are the most successful and dominantly seen vertebra predator in the tropical rainforest
- The amount of CO2 in the atmosphere would be lowered by one billion pounds a year if each family in America planted only one tree. This amounts to roughly 5% of the annual amount that human activity adds to the atmosphere.
- Plants in the tropical rainforest are very medicinal supplying more than 25% of raw material for producing modern medicine and an important component of herbal medicine
The tropical rainforest is among the earth’s most valuable resources and focus must be placed on ensuring it is preserved from deforestation to preserve what is left of it
Interesting Facts About The Tropical Rainforest – FAQs
What is unique about tropical rainforests?
Tropical rainforests are unique to other rainforests due to their location being located near the equator between the Tropics of Cancer and Capricorn. It has the largest biome of living things on earth and the oldest living ecosystem. Also, it has the highest rainfall of all types of forest.
How many rainforests are there in the world?
There are 13 famous tropical rainforests, these are: Amazon Rainforest Congo Rainforest Daintree Rainforest Southeast Asian Rainforest Tongass National Forest Kinabalu National Park Sinharaja Forest Reserve Sundarbans Reserve Forest Monteverde Forest Papua Rainforest Sapo National Park Rainforest Bosawás Biosphere Reserve Perućica, Sutjeska National Park
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