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What do you picture when you hear the term rainforests?  Do you think of a hot, steamy, wet area with lots of trees?  Let's learn about rainforests!


What is a rainforest?


There are two types of rainforests, tropical and temperate.

Tropical rainforests are forests that receive more than 80 inches of rain a year.  Some rainforests receive as much as 200-400 inches of rain a year!  Rainforests also have large amounts of humidity, or water vapor in the air.

Temperate rainforests are forests that have distinct seasons and moderate climate. The rain occurs evenly throughout the year.

Look at the chart below to compare tropical and temperate rainforests.





Amount of rain  About 200" - 400" rain per year About 100" of rain per year
Types of leaves Broadleaf Needle
Number of tree species Many (hundreds of species) Few (10 - 20 species)
Temperature 20șC to 25șC (stays constant)  Ranges -30șC to 30șC
Endangered YES! YES!

Where are rainforests located?

World map of rainforests

Tropical Rainforests are located near the equator, between the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn.  Over 1/2 of the tropical rainforests are located in Latin America. About 1/3 of earth's tropical rainforests are located in Brazil, in South America.

Temperate Rainforests are usually located along coastlines.  The largest temperate rainforest is located along the western coast of North America.


Why are rainforests endangered?

Rainforests are being destroyed at an alarming rate.  About 6% of Earth's land is rainforest land. Humans are using rainforest land to build their homes on, farm, or sell the wood. Only 3% of the original temperate rainforests remain. Scientists estimate that 50 million acres of rainforest land are being destroyed every year.


Why are rainforests important?

  • Rainforests are home to about half of the plant and animal species on Earth.

  • There are still many plant species that have not been discovered.

  • Approximately 1/4 of medicines come from rainforest plants.

  • Many of the foods we eat originated in the rainforests: bananas, avocado, oranges, papaya, paprika, peanuts, pineapple, rice, to mention a few.

  • Rainforests help maintain global rain and weather patterns.

It is very important to try to SAVE THE RAINFORESTS.


What can we do to help save rainforests?

There are things that you can do:

  • Learn more about rainforests

  • Reduce paper usage and wood usage

  • Be careful not to purchase wood products from rainforests

  • Reduce usage of oil

  • Do not eat as much beef

  • Support rainforest protection groups

  • Write to your Senators and Congressmen

If we all work together, we CAN make a difference!

Key points to remember about rainforests:
  • About 6% of Earth's surface is rainforest land
  • Two types of rainforests
    • Tropical Rainforests
      • 200" - 400" rain per year
      • Constant warm temperature
      • Located between the Tropic of Cancer and Tropic of Capricorn
      • Home to about 1/2 of plant and animal species on Earth
    • Temperate Rainforests
      • About 100" of rain per year
      • Found near coasts
      • Have four distinct seasons
  • Rainforests are endangered
    • Humans cutting down trees
  • Important to try to save rainforests
    • Home to many plants & animal species
    • Many medicines come from rainforest plants
    • Rainforests help maintain global rain & weather patterns
  • We can help save rainforests
    • Learn about rainforests
    • Write to congressional leaders
    • Support rainforest protection groups
    • Do not buy wood products made from rainforest trees
    • Reduce paper and wood usage
    • Reduce oil usage
    • Do not eat as much beef


    Please, help save rainforests!

    Click on the toucan below to show what you've learned about rainforests!


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