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5 Weird and Wonderful Facts About Tropical Rainforests

Along the equator, a large area of our world is covered in tropical rainforests. Many countries are home to these diverse habitats. From Fiji to Australia, South and Central America and across Africa, these rainforests can be found anywhere the climate is suitable. The Amazon is the largest, most famous, and it is the focus of most research. As World Rainforest Day approaches on the 22nd of June, join us as we explore some of the interesting facts about these unique places.

It is Lively

Due to only existing between the tropics of Cancer and Capricorn, tropical rainforests cover less than 3% of the planet. Despite this, they are home to a large percentage of the world's animal and plant life. In the Amazon alone there are 40,000 plant species, 4730 animal species and an impressive 2.5 million insect species. Endangered animals like golden lion tamarin, jaguars, blue macaw and poison dart frogs all call these rainforests home too. It is one busy ecosystem.

It is Crowded

The Amazon is estimated to be home to nearly 400 billion individual trees, and other rainforests can get just as dense. There are so many trees so close together that it can take up to 10 minutes for a raindrop to reach the ground. It is also estimated that only 2% of sunlight gets through to ground level in the busiest areas of trees.

It is a Great Producer

Many of the plants we eat, use or make things from originally come from tropical rainforests. Food like pineapples, cinnamon and vanilla all come from these areas of the world. Not forgetting chocolate which comes from tropical cocoa beans. But these aren’t the only important plants found in rainforests. It is thought that 75% of the medicines we regularly use are made from tropical plants. Whether it is for the joints, the muscles or the organs, you can bet the rainforest has a plant which can be developed to help.

It is Essential

Tropical rainforests are important to keeping our world healthy. The rainforest helps out both our water supplies and the planet’s oxygen levels. Rainforests are essential to keep our water clean and fresh. They act as a natural filter and stop debris and pollution from getting into the water supply. It is estimated that 15% of the fresh water in the world flows from the Amazon Basin. The trees in the rainforest are also important for creating oxygen. They convert the carbon dioxide in the air into oxygen for us to breathe and act as the lungs of the world. 20% of all the oxygen we breathe is produced by tropical rainforests.

It is Disappearing

Despite the importance to our wildlife and the earth, tropical rainforests have been disappearing for years. This is due to a process called deforestation. Over 100 million hectares of tropical rainforest are destroyed each year and it has been suggested that 17% of the Amazon has already been lost. Many charities are trying to do their best to save the rainforests. It is essential for us, our wildlife and our planet that this important ecosystem is taken care of.

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