The Rainforest: A Guide for Young People


The Rainforest: A Guide for Young People

The rainforest is a habitat that is defined by a high degree of rainfall that occurs there. A forest qualifies as a rainforest if the minimum amount of yearly rainfall is at least between 68 and 78 inches. Something known as the monsoon trough plays a big part in creating the climatic conditions that are vital for all rainforests on the planet. Up to 75 percent of all species on Earth are naturally at home in a rainforest. The following will provide information on the background, present and future of rainforests.

A rainforest is a giant ecosystem that features animals and plants. So vast is a typical rainforest that scientists have estimated that there are perhaps millions of undiscovered microorganisms, insects and plants in rainforests around the world. Rainforests across the globe have been credited with being the largest pharmacies on the planet because more than 25 percent of all natural medicines were discovered in them.

A rainforest features a few different layers in its structure. A rainforest can be split up into four, distinct layers, with each layer featuring animals and plant life that are unique to each layer. The first layer in any rainforest is called the emergent layer. The emergent layer features a small quantity of huge trees that are referred to as emergents, which can get up to 80 meters in height. These emergents grow beyond the general canopy of the rainforest.

The majority of the biggest trees can be found in the canopy layer. In the canopy layer of the rainforest, the biggest trees only grow to up to 45 meters tall. Biodiversity’s densest sections can be found in this canopy layer, which is a consistent foliage cover made from adjacent treetops. Some estimates claim that up to 50 percent of all life on Earth is found in the canopy layer.

The understorey layer is in between the rainforest floor and the canopy layer. Lizards, birds, snakes and predators like jaguars make their home there. Insect life is also plentiful, and the leaves are a lot bigger on this rainforest level. The understorey layer is home to many of the seedlings that end up growing all the way to the canopy level.

The rainforest floor is the lowest level of the rainforest. It only gets 2 percent of sunlight. The only plants that are able to grow here are those that have adapted to a kind of low light. The fungi at this level help to decay the waste of plants and animals.

There is a lot of animal, as well as plant life, in a rainforest. Some kinds of animals that thrive in a rainforest are the okapi, the jaguar, the sloth, the lemur and the Harpy eagle. The okapi lives in the Ituri Rainforest and possesses zebra-like markings, even though it is closely related to a gazelle. The jaguar is the third-biggest cat after the tiger and the lion. The sloth is related to the anteater and the armadillo, and they are tree-dwellers. The lemur is a primate, which is endemic to Madagascar; it is also nocturnal in its habits in some species.

Some examples of plants that are found in the rainforest are the curare, the Suma, the Trumpet tree and the Cocoa tree. The curare is a plant that is used as an arrow poison and which is grown in three main types. The Suma is known as the root of the ground vine. It is located in South American and used for tonic and medicine. The Trumpet tree is a tree that is found from Mexico to Florida and even to Argentina and the Caribbean Islands. The Cocoa tree is a tiny evergreen tree whose seeds are utilized for making chocolate and cocoa powder.

Deforestation is a problem for rainforests across the globe. It is defined as the destruction of a forest for the purpose of claiming the land for non-forest use. For a rainforest, deforestation means destruction because so many trees are being uprooted and killed. As a consequence, so many types of plant life and animal life that are dependent on the rainforest ecosystem are themselves threatened and destroyed during deforestation.

Efforts at deforestation today include programs that are administered by none other than the United Nations. In parts of Asia, there are even reforestation efforts being pursued to counteract deforestation. All people can help, even in small ways by, for instance, making a donation to an organization that fights deforestation. It is important to protect the environment to ensure a better future for people and future generations.

To learn more about rainforests, see these links.