- Definition: Forest with a high annual rainfall
- Animals: Mammals, reptiles, birds, invertebrates
- Plants: Herbs, vines, shrubs, trees
- Biome: Temperate, tropical
- Ecosystem: Oldest living ecosystem on Earth
- Location: All continents except Antarctica
- Size: 6% of the Earth’s land surface
- Climate: Moist, dependent on the location
- Layers: Emergent, canopy, understory, forest floor
- Function: Plants, animals, global climate
- Effects: Rainforests Regulate Climate
- Life: Rainforests Are Home to More Than Half the Plants and Animals in the World
- Oxygen: Rainforests Produce 20% of All Oxygen on Earth
- Location: Brazil Is the Country with the Largest Area of Rainforests
- Effects: Humanity Is Rapidly Destroying Earth’s Rainforests
- Spread: The Amazon Rainforest is Not the Only Rainforest on Earth
- Climate: All Rainforests Get between 60 and 180 Inches of Rainfall Annually
- Food: Rainforests Have Provided over 25% of Natural Medicines and 80% of Food
- Water: 20% of Our Fresh Water Comes from the Amazon Rainforest
- Light: Rainforests Are Very Dark Places
- 70% of Plants Used for Treating Cancer Originate from Rainforests
- Rain Sometimes Takes 10 Minutes to Reach the Rainforest Floor
- There Are More Than 3,000 Fruits to Be Found in Rainforests
- Fewer Than 200,000 Natives Live in the Amazon Rainforest Today
- The Term “Amazon” Derives from a War between Europeans and Native Tribes
- The Amazon Rainforest Spans 9 Countries
- Anacondas Are One of the Deadliest Predators in Rainforests
- The Amazon Rainforest Is Fertilized by the Dust from the Sahara
- 1 Hectare of Amazon Rainforest Is Worth only $1,000 If Used for Timber
- The Amazon River is the Biggest River on the Planet
Rainforests Regulate Climate
Rainforest facts show that rainforests absorb and emit vast amounts of carbon dioxide and therefore have a very important effect on the global climate. They regulate temperature and weather patterns, and could cause a shocking change in the Earth’s climate if they were to disappear (or grow smaller).
Rainforests Are Home to More Than Half the Plants and Animals in the World
It is estimated that 40 – 70% of all animal and plant species are indigenous to the rainforests. And, although the current statistics clearly show that rainforests are already the undisputed kingdoms of life, experts estimate that they hide about a million additional species of plants, insects and microorganisms that haven’t been discovered yet.
Rainforests Produce 20% of All Oxygen on Earth
While the flora of the rainforests certainly produces vast amounts of oxygen from carbon dioxide through photosynthesis, the life that is present in these ecosystems also consumes a large part of it. Rainforests are often misinterpreted as the greatest oxygen producer on Earth, but, while still extremely important, their oxygen production is nothing compared to the oxygen production of microorganisms living in oceans, which produce nearly 80% of all oxygen on our planet.
Brazil Is the Country with the Largest Area of Rainforests
Brazil covers more than 60% of Amazonia, and its Amazon rainforest represents more than half of all remaining rainforests on Earth. Brazil boasts over 400 million hectares of tropical forests, but its forests are disappearing at an alarming rate…
Humanity Is Rapidly Destroying Earth’s Rainforests
Rainforest facts show that rainforests once covered 14% of the Earth’s land surface, but that the figure is now only 6%. If deforestation of rainforests continues at the same pace as in recent years, we could lose practically all rainforests on Earth in only a few more decades. About 1.5 acres of rainforest is destroyed every second, which causes almost 50,000 species to become extinct each year according to experts’ estimates.
The Amazon Rainforest is Not the Only Rainforest on Earth
Although certainly the biggest (2,100,000 square miles) and the most famous, the Amazonian rainforest is not the only one. Tropical rainforests are also found in Asia, Central America, Africa, Australia, and on many Pacific, Caribbean and Indian Ocean islands, while temperate rainforests are found in North America, Europe, Asia, Africa, Australia and South America. But all these continents are sadly rapidly losing these majestic natural habitats!
All Rainforests Get between 60 and 180 Inches of Rainfall Annually
You don’t have to be an expert to figure out that rainforests need a lot of rain – their name makes that perfectly clear. The exact amount of rain a specific rainforest gets is dependent on its location on Earth.
One of the other popular rainforest facts states that rainforests also have a very hot climate. That is not necessarily true, at least not for temperate rainforests. While tropical rainforests certainly have high temperatures all year round, most temperate forests thrive in an average temperature of 39 – 54 °F.
Rainforests Have Provided over 25% of Natural Medicines and 80% of Food
That’s right – one of the most shocking rainforest facts reveals that 80% of the food we consume originates from rainforests all over the world. Avocados, coconuts, figs, oranges, lemons, grapefruits, bananas, guavas, pineapples, mangos, tomatoes, corn, potatoes, rice, black pepper, chocolate, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, various kinds of nuts, and many animals whose meat we consume, all originate from these fruitful natural wonders. In addition to being the greatest natural treasure trove for food, rainforests are also responsible for more than 1 in 4 natural medicines we use today, or have used in the past.
20% of Our Fresh Water Comes from the Amazon Rainforest
More precisely, 20% of our planet’s fresh water is located in the Amazon basin, the area which drains all the water from the rain above the Amazon rainforest, filling the Amazon River and its tributaries. If the rainforest continues to be destroyed, the yearly rainfall will decrease (since rainforests affect cloud formation and cause rain), consequently limiting the supply of fresh water, and possibly endangering the existence of the entire planet.
Rainforests Are Very Dark Places
Not because of the various kinds of deadly predators that hide among the rich flora of rainforests, but because only 1 – 2% of natural light reaches the bottom layer of the rainforests: the forest floors. The rest is absorbed by the tree canopy above, making rainforests very dark and dangerous habitats.
70% of Plants Used for Treating Cancer Originate from Rainforests
This shows the great potential these natural habitats have for helping the human race in the long-term, but we are usually too blind to see that and instead concentrate on short-term benefits that rainforests bring – building materials and food. In addition to various plants with anti-cancer properties, rainforests also offer a variety of plants that have other health benefits. For example, the Cinchona tree, found in the rainforests of South America, is used for treating malaria, and wild jams from Central America are used for the active ingredient in birth control pills.
But rainforest facts reveal that it takes 10 – 15 years from the point of discovering a medicinal plant to getting it patented as an actual drug, so we might not get the chance to put most of these plants to use if we keep destroying the rainforests at such an alarming rate.
Rain Sometimes Takes 10 Minutes to Reach the Rainforest Floor
Not because the gravity works in a different way in rainforests, but simply because the trees are so tall and dense that the raindrops travel to the ground extremely slowly, delayed by countless leaves and branches on their way.
There Are More Than 3,000 Fruits to Be Found in Rainforests
And Westerners only use about 200 of them! For comparison: native tribes living in big rainforests use more than 2,000! There is certainly a lot to be learned from these tribes.
Fewer Than 200,000 Natives Live in the Amazon Rainforest Today
That may seem like quite a number, but only to those who don’t know that there were approximately 10 million of them just 500 years ago. Some were killed, forced to leave or left of their own accord due to pressures from the outside. Many medicine men (or shamans) used to live among them, but they are also thin on the ground nowadays – every time one of them dies, precious knowledge about the medicinal plants of the rainforest dies with them.
The Term “Amazon” Derives from a War between Europeans and Native Tribes
Francisco de Orellana was a famous Spanish explorer from the 16th century who was the first European to navigate the entire length of the majestic river that is now known as the Amazon River. He fought various native tribes along the way and noticed that women were fighting alongside men. Therefore, the people were named Amazons after the fearless female warriors from Greek mythology.
The Amazon Rainforest Spans 9 Countries
The biggest rainforest in the world spreads through Brazil, Colombia, Peru, Venezuela, Ecuador, Bolivia, Guyana, Suriname, and French Guiana. In fact, it is so big that only the 8 largest countries in the world cover a greater area.
Anacondas Are One of the Deadliest Predators in Rainforests
Rainforest facts show that anaconda is the name used for various snake species found in South America, but the biggest among them (and the deadliest) are definitely green anacondas. Although not venomous, they can grow to over 16 feet in length, weighing in at over 200 pounds. They hunt and eat pretty much everything they can overpower, even other members of their species.
The 1997 box office hit Anaconda with Jennifer Lopez, Jon Voight and Ice Cube will give you a healthy fear of these monstrous snakes…
The Amazon Rainforest Is Fertilized by the Dust from the Sahara
This is truly one of the most unbelievable rainforest facts, but it is certainly real! The Bodele Depression in Chad, a tiny area compared to the Amazon or the whole of the Sahara, in which it is located, is responsible for more than a half of the mineral dust that covers the Amazon rainforest, providing it with precious minerals that enable the rainforest to thrive. Although about 3,000 miles away, 40 million tons of this dust are blown over the Atlantic from Chad to South America every year.
1 Hectare of Amazon Rainforest Is Worth only $1,000 If Used for Timber
Researchers have calculated that it is worth even less than this if used for cattle breeding. What is interesting is the fact that if it is used for sustainable production, such as growing fruits or producing latex, it is worth about $6,000 per hectare. This can be interpreted as a clear sign that we are not destroying rainforests out of greed for money, but out of sheer stupidity.
The Amazon River is the Biggest River on the Planet
Well, it actually depends on how you measure rivers. Rainforest facts reveal that the Amazon River is not the longest, but that it certainly has the most water. During the dry season, the Amazon discharges about 800 billion gallons of water per day. During the wet season, the amount is 3-4 times that. For comparison: the Nile River, the longest river on Earth, on average discharges only about 80 billion gallons of water per day. That’s what happens when a river doesn’t have a huge rainforest nearby…
Rainforest Facts — Facts about the Rainforest Summary
Rainforests are one of the most precious ecosystems on Earth. Home to more than a half of all animal and plant species on our planet, these natural habitats carry out important functions that make life on Earth possible, including producing oxygen, regulating the climate, offering food and serving as a basis for various kinds of precious medicine. But the human race is carelessly destroying these natural wonders for short-term profit, overlooking the bigger picture. The Amazon rainforest is by far the biggest rainforest on Earth, spanning 9 countries, and holding various other records connected to life and the destruction of life in rainforests.