As the name implies, Rainforests are forests that receive a lot of rain—also spelled rain forest, luxuriant forest, generally composed of tall, broad-leaved trees. Rainforests, made up of millions of different ecosystems, represent the planet’s central biodiversity, a powerhouse of evolution, life, and diversity.

Tropical rainforests, where rainfall is adequate, and temperatures are always warm, are the most biologically varied and complex ecosystems on the planet. Cloud forests are another kind of rainforest found high up in the mountains, where they are almost always in the cloud. The weather is relatively cold yet very, extremely wet.

Rainforests are found in Africa, Asia, Australia, Central and South America. Many countries have tropical forests like Brazil, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Indonesia, Peru, Colombia, etc., with the largest tropical forest areas.

The Amazon, the world’s most significant remaining tropical rainforest, covers Argentina, Peru, Paraguay, and Uruguay, although it is dominated by Brazil, representing 60% of the Amazon. The Congo Basin in central Africa is the second biggest, with the Democratic Republic of Congo accounting for two-thirds of the total.

When it’s not raining, clouds keep the rainforest humid and warm because moisture may help create the thick cloud that covers most rainforests. Due to the process of transpiration, rainforest often partly shows self-watering.

Rainforests also help regulate the temperature, provide habitat for a diverse range of plants and animals, and deliver nourishing rains worldwide.

Rainforest is important because it provides a home and sustainable livelihood to its inhabitants. It is the biggest pool of biodiversity and is essential to the rest of the planet. Because of their role in absorbing carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas, and boosting local humidity, rainforests are also known as the planet’s lungs.

Ten facts about rainforests are with this!!

1. Types of Rainforest

Rainforests | Video Credit – National Geographic

The two types of rainforests are tropical and temperate rainforests. Tropical rainforests are found closer to the equator, where the climate is warmer. 

Temperate rainforests can be found near the equator’s more excellent coastal areas to the north and south.

Due to the climate being more equable, with a moderate temperature range and well-distributed annual rainfall, temperate rainforests covered with evergreen and deciduous trees are lower and less dense than other rainforests types.

Tropical rainforests are the most well-known, although rainforests can also be found in sub-tropical and temperate climates. 

For example, dense forests in the United States’ Pacific Northwest and parts of Japan receive as much rainfall as areas of the Amazon, Borneo, and the Congo. 

Rainforests vary greatly even within the tropics, depending on soils and geology, precipitation patterns, and even the species that live there (elephants can significantly impact forest structure by trampling seedings and creating meadows, for example). As a result, a rainforest in Indonesia may differ significantly from one in Brazil.

2. Natural climatic solution

Natural Climatic Solution
Natural climatic solution | Image Credit – Flickr

Rainforests control global temperatures, reduce and regulate local weather systems, and decrease Earth’s reflectivity, which helps keep ocean currents, wind, and rainfall patterns in balance.

They provide a large portion of the world’s oxygen. Also, absorb carbon dioxide produced by human activities and produce oxygen, essential for all humans and animals’ survival.

3. Largest rainforests on the Earth 

Aerial view of the Amazon Rainforest
Aerial view of the Amazon Rainforest | Image Credit – Flickr

The Amazon basin has the world’s largest rainforest, which occupies around 40% of South America, and it’s size is of the continental United States. Nearly two-thirds of the Amazon rainforest is located within Brazil’s boundaries.

The Congo Basin in Central Africa is home to the world’s second-biggest rainforest. Then there’s New Guinea’s rainforest.

Brazil has the most rainforest cover. The Democratic Republic of Congo, Indonesia, Peru, and Colombia are the following countries.

4. Livelihood

Tribes in Rainforests | Image Credit – Flickr

Forests provide:

  • A variety of resources and benefits to human beings.
  • Ranging from agricultural land to timber agroforestry.
  • Non-timber forest products.
  • Ecosystem services.

Also, forests give nutrients to the soil and feed cattle. They help to reduce soil erosion, crop pollination, and environmental protection.

5. Food and herbal medicine

Cocoa Plantation in Rainforests
Cocoa Plantation in Rainforests | Image Credit – Flickr

Bananas, avocados, mangos, cocoa, coffee, and papaya are just a few of the items we eat regularly that originated in tropical jungles. For medicines, the same may be said: indigenous shamans have employed plants to diagnose and treat illness for generations.

Some medicinal plants have been turned into modern medications to treat various ailments, including cancer and parasite infections.

6. Home of terrestrial animal species

Rainforest Animals
Rainforest Animals | Image Credit – Pxfuel

Tropical rainforests are considered home to more than half of the world’s terrestrial species, although covering less than ten percent of the Earth’s landmass. 

The climate, vegetation structure, and species competition are all factors that contribute to the diversity of rainforests.

The rain forest is the habitat of more species of plants and animals than any other terrestrial ecosystem.

Rainforests can have a startling number of species compared to temperate forests. A tropical rainforest, for example, may have more than 480 tree species in a single hectare, whereas temperate jungles may have only a half-dozen (2.5 acres). 

More than 1,300 butterfly species have been reported in a single Peruvian park, compared to less than 400 on the entire European continent.

7. Covers about 3 % of Earth

Rainforest by countries
Rainforest by countries | Image Credit – Flickr

The methods used to identify a forest, including the density of canopy cover and tree height, effect estimates of forest cover. A 10 percent canopy cover can be categorized as “forest” in dry climates. 

However, 10 percent canopy cover may not resemble a typical forest in the tropics. In 2015, the United Nations projected that tropical forests encompassed 1.77 billion hectares or 6.8 million square miles of land, according to that broad definition. 

In 2014, forests covered around 1.3 billion hectares (5 million square miles) if the canopy cover requirement was raised to 75%. Tropical forests cover at least 8% of the Earth’s surface area or 2.5 percent of its total surface area.

8. Controls global warming

Rainforests and Global Warming | Video Credit – Michael DiSpezio

Photosynthesis is how plants take atmospheric carbon in their tissues as they grow. Rainforests store vast amounts of carbon due to their abundance of giant trees and other vegetation. 

However, much of that carbon is lost in the environment as carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gasses when burned or chopped down (nitrous oxide, methane, and other nitrogen oxides). 

Tropical forest and peatland removal and burning contribute to around ten percent of anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions.

9.  Maintain water cycle

Water cycle
Water cycle | Image Credit – Flickr

Rainforests are vital to the survival of water bodies all around the world. The large tree covers to boost the amount of precipitation in the air, ensuring a good rainfall and nourishing all water bodies, mainly freshwater. 

Rainforest decline will not only imperil a sufficient water supply for increasing people, but it will also put them at risk of contamination.

10.  Proposition for saving the rainforest 

Today, only about half of the world’s tropical forests survive, with deforestation, fires, fragmentation, mining, and hunting on much of the remaining forest cover.

Replanting is the most prevalent method of restoring primary forests lost. However, to maintain the original ecosystem of the primary woods, native plants must be used for rehabilitating and recovering the degradation rather than alien or foreign species.

To protect the remaining surviving primary rainforests, such as those in Indonesia, Madagascar, and even the Amazon, governments must ensure that laws are adopted, and that law enforcement is maintained. 

Conclusion

Proper land demarcation, stiffer penalties for human encroachment, regulating deforestation for industries like tea and coffee plantations, and banning species trafficking would all help to safeguard the remaining natural rainforests and their critically endangered and endemic biodiversity.

Tropical forest loss and degradation have severe consequences for biodiversity, climate regulation, and the well-being of rural and urban communities.

Conservation and restoration are urgently needed to reduce anthropogenic impacts on tropical forests and their contributions to people in terms of ecosystem services essential to human well-being.

Rainforests take millions of years to form. That is why preserving the natural rainforests rather than recovering and rewilding them is more beneficial. Understanding and preserving their economic value would enable greener and more inclusive economies, resulting in a better society.

(Last Updated on May 18, 2022 by Sadrish Dabadi)

Ranjana Regmi is a highly energetic and responsible graduate with a master’s degree in Environment Science. She has a sound academic and professional record of exploring the world of climate change and its dynamics related to vegetation and wildlife. She has developed analytical skills during a few years of work exposure and scientific coherence. She is undoubtedly a bright star for ecosystem preservation with an immense empathy towards biodiversity.