Here are ten facts about rainforests.
- A rainforest is defined as a forested area receiving at least 68 inches (or 173 cm) of rain per year. They usually also have a warm or tropical climate and feature a wide range of animal and plant species.
- Temperate rainforests are located on the coast, especially in North and South America, Australia and New Zealand. Tropical rainforests are located generally along the equator, in Central and South America, Africa and Asia.
- Rainforests once covered about 14 percent of the Earth’s land; today, it is about 6 percent today. It is estimated that almost 140 species of insect, animal and plant vanish every day, because of forests being destroyed.
- Despite the destruction, over half of the 10 million species of plants, animals and insects live in tropical rainforests. About 3,000 varieties of fruit are found in the forests, although only 200 are widely eaten.
- There are more species of fish in the Amazon River than in the entire Atlantic Ocean. A single tree in a rainforest can contain over 40 different species of ants.
- About 70 percent of the plants known to be effective at fighting cancer are found in rainforests. About 25 percent of the medicines we use regularly come from ingredients found there.
- The Amazon Rainforest is the largest in the world, covering over a billion acres. If the forested area were its own country, it would be the 9th largest country in the world.
- The Amazon rainforest is home to more plant and animal species than anywhere else. In just a few square acres there are about 1500 plant species and over 700 types of tree.
- The Amazon River, the world’s second longest river, runs through the heart of the Brazilian rainforest. Over 66 percent of all the fresh water in the world is in the Amazon Basin, and the river is fed by over 11,000 tributaries.
- Although rainforests are threatened by changes in the climate, they are also being affected by deforestation. The trees are cut down for timber, to make room for arable farming and mining, and to create pastures for grazing cattle.