All About Rainforests

Global rainforests took millions of years to develop and are mainly located on three continents – South America, Africa and Asia. The largest continuous rainforest is near South America’s Amazon River.

Rainforests account for less than 2% of the Earth but are home to over 50% of the world’s plants and animals. It is believed there may also be millions of undiscovered species. Plants flourish in its hot, humid and rainy climate.

The average temperature year-round is 80 degrees Fahrenheit and it rains several hundred inches a year. Rain forests help regulate temperatures and weather patterns around the world. They also help maintain our supply of drinking water and fresh water, so they are critical to our sustainability. Tropical rain forests have been called the jewels of the Earth and the world’s largest pharmacy because over one-quarter of all natural medicines have been discovered there. Rain forests supply a lot of the world’s oxygen, even though they are many miles away.

Only three million square miles of rain forest are left on the planet. Large scale deforestation for commercial gain is a major reason for this loss. These practices have contributed to the greenhouse effect and global warming, and at this rate, the rain forests will disappear completely in the 21st century. But, there are ways to raise awareness and help this cause. Examples include: educating yourself, using less firewood, recycling, and contributing to campaigns that buy and protect acres of rainforest land.

Did you know? Over 70% of the plants that are used to treat cancer are found only in Earth’s tropical rainforests.

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