The rainforest is one of the most interesting and eye-catching ecosystems, especially for children, as they represent the densest and most populated jungles on the entire planet, which helps fuel their imagination and curiosity about the environment that surrounds them. In fact, the flora and fauna of this ecosystem is so abundant and varied that, despite representing only a small region of the earth’s surface, it constitutes some of the most widespread examples of plants and animals in the collective imagination, including also the of the kids.
What is the rainforest?
The tropical forest is one of the richest ecosystems in both flora and fauna that we can find on our planet. Although they represent only 6% of the earth’s surface, it is estimated that they constitute more than half of the species of flora and fauna on the planet. This is because they are places with a very high biological wealth.
These types of ecosystems are characterized by having abundant vegetation that becomes very high, as well as constant and equally abundant rainfall throughout the year. Its distribution in the world is mainly centered around the equator . More than half (approximately up to 57% of the tropical forests) are located in Latin America, especially in Brazil. Likewise, geographic areas with this type of jungle can also be found in Southeast Asia, numerous islands in the Pacific and Indian Oceans, as well as some western regions of Africa.
When talking about the flora of the tropical forest, it is necessary to explain that it is usually divided into several strata and, depending on the stratum in which we find ourselves, we can speak of one type of flora or another. This is due to the great height that the tropical forest develops when speaking of vegetation. This makes the species found at one height different from those found at another, which is usually common in many ecosystems but, in the case of the tropical forest, it is especially representative.
First, we will have to talk about the so-called ” canopy “. This level of the rainforest flora represents the leaves and branches of the tallest trees . At this level, the vegetation becomes entangled in itself and ends up creating a true “roof of leaves”, which is one of the most characteristic features of tropical forests. In addition to the common trees of these ecosystems, at this height you can also find a multitude of:
- Climbing plants and vines.
At a second level, we find the so-called ” understory “, which is located between the ground and the aforementioned canopy. It must be taken into account that, precisely because of the canopy, only about 5% of the sunlight that bathes the tropical forests reaches the understory . This means that the plants that grow at this height are used to indirect light, since they are always protected by the vegetal roof that constitutes the canopy. In this case, we can talk about:
- Some climbing plants.
- Low palm trees.
- Mosses and fungi of different types.
Finally, the flora of the tropical forest would have a third level that would be the one that we would place at ground level , which only reaches 2% of the sunlight , so the flora at this level is especially sensitive to light. In this way, the most common vegetation in this last level is usually only fungi , looking for cool, humid and dark places.
The fauna of the rainforest is vast and it would take several whole books to be able to document it completely. Regardless of the geographical location in which the tropical forest is located, we can find species of insects and arachnids in abundance, as well as amphibians, reptiles and mammals of many types. One of the curiosities of the tropical forest, and that is used by many animals to protect themselves from predators, is that, due to its high height, you can find species that never touch the ground , the place where they are most vulnerable and where the presence of these predators is greater.
Some of the best known examples of fauna in the Amazon rainforest would be amphibians and reptiles such as the poison frog or the anaconda snake. Likewise, in these same regions you can also find mammals such as the sloth, which spends most of its life in the treetops feeding on leaves, or carnivorous mammals such as the jaguar , which is the highest predator in the chain. trophic in American rainforests.
On the other hand, if we move to the African rainforests, we can find examples such as gorillas and chimpanzees , as well as lemurs in various rainforest regions located on the island of Madagascar. Finally, in the area of Southeast Asia and large regions of Indonesia and northern Australia, we can also find large species such as tigers and orangutans (Southeast Asia), or various types of rodents and kangaroos (northern Australia and Pacific islands).