Rainforest Facts

A rainforest (or rain forest) is a forest that gets a lot of rain. The most notable rainforests are tropical or sub-tropical. A typical rainforest is the Amazon Rainforest. Most of it is in Brazil, though Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, Bolivia have parts of it. Biologists say over half of all plant and animal species live in the rainforest. See the fact file below for more information about rainforests.

  • Rainforests have evolved over millions of years. They are very complex environments and upsetting one part of that environment can have destructive consequences.
  • Rainforests represent a store of living and breathing renewable natural resources. They are rich in animal and plant species. They also provide a wealth of resources for the survival and well-being of humankind. These resources have included basic food supplies, clothing, shelter, fuel, spices, industrial raw materials, and medicine.
  • Rainforests once covered 14% of the earth’s land surface. They now cover only 6% and experts estimate that the last remaining rainforests could be consumed in less than 40 years. One and one-half acres of rainforest are lost every second.
  • More than 20% of the world’s oxygen is produced in the Amazon Rainforest. That is why the Amazon Rainforest is sometimes called the “Lungs of the Planet”.
  • More than half of the world’s estimated 10 million species of plants, animals and insects live in the tropical rainforests. However, nearly half of the world’s species of plants, animals and microorganisms will be destroyed or severely threatened over the next quarter century due to rainforest destruction.
  • At least 3000 fruits are found in the rainforests.
  • The number of species of fish in the Amazon exceeds the number found in the entire Atlantic Ocean.
  • The U.S. National Cancer Institute has identified 3,000 plants that are active against cancer cells. 70% of these plants are found in the rainforest. Rainforest plants play a huge role in the creation of many other medicines.
  • If managed properly, rainforests can provide the world’s need for these natural resources on a perpetual basis.
  • The biodiversity of the tropical rainforest is so immense that less than 1 percent of its millions of species have been studied by scientists for their active constituents and their possible uses So, when one acre of the rainforest is destroyed the loss is HUGE!

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