Rainforests of the World
The Amazon Rainforest
The Amazon Rainforest covers significant amounts of land and extends over Brazil, Colombia, Bolivia, Suriname, Peru, Ecuador, Venezuela, Guyana and French Guyana, which represents about 40% of the South America and may be compared to the size of the 48 states situated on the North American continent. The Amazon rainforest is encompasses the Amazon River Basin, where the second longest river globally after the Nile and the largest globally, comprising more than 1100 tributaries which are an important source of sustenance for plants, animals and human beings. Though the Amazon rainforest has been accessed by man and impacted by their presence, the importance of this rainforest to the earth continues to be recognised. There are several types of vegetation and ecosystems in the Amazon rainforest, some of which are savannas, deciduous forests, rainforests, flooded forests and flooded forests.
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The most important rainforest in Africa now lies in the Congo basin. Congo’s rainforests are second in size to the Amazon rainforest and extends over other countries like Gabon, Equatorial Guinea, the Central African Republic and Cameroon. About two-thirds of the rainforest still preserved but the rainforest is under threat of human intervention. Congo rainforest is home to gorillas, bonobos, peacocks, chimpanzees, elephants and a wide variety of birds, insects; in all, about 600 species of trees and about 10,000 species of animals; making up 70% of Africa’s biodiversity, ecosystems and rainforests. More than half the people of the Democratic Republic of Congo which has a population of roughly 60 million people depend on the rainforest for survival. The rainforest is integral to culture, diet, spiritual belief, housing and traditional practices. The Congo rainforests also have a very long and interesting historical background for tribal warfare, ethnic violence, the ivory and Arab slave trade. Commercial logging and land clearing for communities are a major threat to the rainforest.
Central America Rainforests
Once upon a time, rainforests covered extensive portions of land in Central America, making practically of the region covered with deep rainforests. Central America rainforests are endowed with many rare and peculiar species of plants, trees and animals. The southwest of Costa Rica, for example, the Osa Peninsula is known for its diverse flora and fauna and animals such as the Harpy Eagle, jaguars, tapirs, macaw, pumas, dart frogs and the fer-de-lance, Costa Rica’s deadliest snake. Some of the birds in this rainforest are rare and were declared endangered species. The rainforest of the Osa Peninsula was described by National Geographic as ‘one of the biologically intense places on earth’.
Southern Asian Rainforests
Rainforests in the southeast of Asia are known as the oldest rainforests in the world, with a history that goes back as far as millions of years ago. Throughout the different periods of climate changes that the world has undergone, the climate of rainforests in this region remained stable; explained to be as a result of the rainforests location on the equator and surrounding rivers. Southern Asian rainforests extend over 20,000 islands making up the chain of islands located between Asia and Australia. Rainforest coverage is therefore calculated at about 1,112,000 m² and measured to be nearly two times the size of Alaska. Rainforests in south Asia have a northeastern monsoon season between the months of October and February and the southwestern season from April to August. The rainforest is considered to have a tropical wet climate, falling into the Köppen climate zone, and influenced by maritime winds which come from the South China Sea and the Indian Ocean.
The main rainforests in Australia is categorized as warm temperate rainforests. The rainforest is found in a sheltered valley and is home to over 200 rainforest species, including over 20,000 species of plants and flowers 15,000 of which are usually found in tropical rainforests, sub-tropical rainforests, cool temperate rainforests and warm temperate rain forests. The rainforest has rainfall over 1000mm every year and at times rainfall may increase to 200mm as well.