What Are Rainforests?

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1 What Are Rainforests?

2 Where are tropical rainforests located? Tropical rainforests are located close to the Equator between the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn. This means that it is always hot between 70 and 85 o F. Map by Scholastic, Inc.

3 Rainforests are forests where more than 100 inches of rain fall each year so they are always green and full of life. More than half of the world s plant and animal species live in rainforests. Photo by David Dudenhoefer

4 Rainforests have 4 Layers of Life. Different plants and animals live in each layer. Why? Plants need sunlight to grow. At the top of the rainforest, there is more sunlight and so there are more plants. Some animals can live in the trees while other animals can only live on the ground Science Museum of Minnesota /

5 THE FOREST FLOOR Very little sunlight reaches the forest floor so few plants can grow. However, there are thousands of species of insects such as ants, beetles and termites crawling around. This agouti paca lives on the forest floor along with other animals such as jaguars, anteaters and snakes. Photo by Art Wolfe

6 Jaguar Photo by Gerry Ellis

7 Ocellated Turkey Photo by Julianne Schrader

8 Poison Dart Frog Photo by John Netherton

9 Leaf-cutter Ant Each ant in the colony has a different role such as looking for food, keeping predators away, taking care of baby ants and, of course, cutting leaves. They take the leaves underground and use them to make fungus in their gardens. Photo by Art Wolfe

10 UNDERSTORY From the Forest Floor grows the Understory. It is shaded by the top layers of the rainforest. Many common houseplants come from the Rainforest. The plant that you have in your home or your classroom might grow here! You will also find animals such as butterflies and snakes. Photo by Labeeb Abboud

11 Blue Morpho Butterfly Photo by David Julian

12 Bromeliad Bromeliads have bright orange, red, blue or purple flowers. Their leaves catch the rain like buckets. Some small frogs, snails, salamanders and crabs may live their entire lives on a bromeliad. Photo by Chris Wille

13 Red-eyed tree frog Photo by David Julian

14 THE CANOPY The Forest Canopy is like a big umbrella of thick leaves and flowers that shade the parts below it. In these upper layers there is a LOT of sunlight that helps leaves, fruit and seeds grow. Most rainforest animals such as monkeys, bats and birds live up here to be near food and never leave even though the canopy can be 90 feet above the ground! Photo by Chris Wille

15 Scarlet Macaw Photo by Chris Wille

16 Black Howler Monkey Photo by Art Wolfe

17 EMERGENT LAYER Some trees grow so high they peak out from the top of the canopy up to 200 feet. This layer receives the most sun and wind. Animals climb up here to find food, sunbathe or escape from predators. Photo by Daniel Katz

18 White-tailed Hawk Photo courtesy of SalvaNatura

19 Squirrel Monkey M. Alexiades

20 Why are rainforests so important? Tapir Spectacled Bear Toucans Rainforests are home to more than half of the world s plant and animal species. Some animals can only be found in the rainforest.. All photos by Art Wolfe

21 The rainforest plays a big role in the Earth s climate! Trees use carbon dioxide and provide oxygen just the opposite of people. By using a lot of carbon dioxide each day, rainforests keep the temperature, humidity, rainfall and wind levels of the Earth stable. If there is too much carbon dioxide, those things might change. Photo by Klabin

22 Medicines There s a reason why rainforests are called the world s largest pharmacies! We have already developed medicines such as those used to fight cancer, diabetes and heart diseases from rainforest plants. More cures might be found here one day! Bark from the Cinchona tree has been used to produce Quinine, a drug used to prevent and treat malaria. Cinchona comes from South America. Photo by C.H.Lamoureux

23 Do you eat bananas? Do you know someone who drinks coffee? Do you use anything made of wood? All of these things originated in the rainforest! Banana tree photo by Chiquita Brands International, Inc. Coffee photo by Bina Venkataraman Wood photo by Julianne Schrader

24 What did you use today that originated in the rainforest? Oranges Chocolate Wooden furniture Furniture photo courtesy of Gardener s Supply Co. Paper Chocolates photo courtesy of City Bakery NYC Paper photo courtesy of Domtar

25 There are kids just like you who live very close to the rainforest. Like us, they depend on the rainforest every day. This is Romel. He works on his family s farm in the rainforest harvesting cacao, which becomes the chocolate that we eat. Photo by David Dudenhoefer

26 All Photos by David Dudenhoefer

27 Why Rainforests Need Protection The Earth loses: 1 acre of rainforest each second; 60 acres each minute; 3,600 acres each hour; 86,400 acres each day; 2,592,000 acres each month; 31,104,000 acres each year. That means that each second, we are losing enough rainforest to cover an entire football field!!! Photo by Walter Smith

28 Why are rainforests disappearing? It is hard to balance the needs of people and the protection of rainforests. With the world s population growing every day, there is more and more pressure on forests. Many rainforests are cut down for land to live on or to create products that we all need, such as beef or paper. But wait we can still have our rainforest and eat our chocolate, too. Photo by Rebecca Butterfield

29 The good news is that the Rainforest Alliance is working to protect the rainforest, and YOU can, too! By asking your parents to choose products that are made in a way that is safe for the forest and for people, you can help save the rainforest -- and all the plants and animals we depend on and love. Bananas photo courtesy of Chiquita Chair photo by Labeeb Abboud

30 You can also write a thank you letter to companies that are doing a great job making their products rainforest-friendly. Here are just some of them: Chiquita Bananas Reybanpac Bananas Gibson Guitars Kraft Foods, Inc. Favorita Fruit Company Green Mountain Coffee Roasters Domtar Paper For more companies, visit: Photo by David Dudenhoefer

31 Reduce! Reuse! Recycle! Try using less paper every day. You can also re-use or recycle paper. Ask your parents and teachers how they recycle. Photo courtesy of Mohawk Paper

32 Most importantly, the more you learn about rainforests, the more you can teach other people how important they are! Photo by David Dudenhoefer

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