• More than two thirds of the world's plant species are found in the tropical rainforests: plants that provide shelter and food for rainforest animals as well as taking part in the gas exchanges which provide much of the world's oxygen supply.
• Rainforest plants live in a warm humid environment that allows an enormous variation rare in more temperate climates: some like the orchids have beautiful flowers adapted to attract the profusion of forest insects.
• Competition at ground level for light and food has lead to evolution of plants which live on the branches of other plants, or even strangle large trees to fight for survival.
• The aerial plants often gather nourishment from the air itself using so-called 'air roots';. The humidity of the rainforest encourages such adaptations which would be impossible in most temperate forests with their much drier conditions.
What is the main vegetation in the rainforest?
• A tropical rain forest has broadleaf evergreen trees that form a closed canopy, and abundance of vines and plants that grow on the trees called epiphytes, a relatively open forest floor, and a large number of species of plants and animals. The largest areas of this type of rain forest are in the Amazon basin of South America, the Congo basin and other lowland equatorial regions of Africa, and on the mainland and islands off Southeast Asia.
• Temperate Rain Forests grow in higher-latitude regions that have wet, maritime climates. They are less extensive than the tropical rain forests, but have some of the most valuable timber in the world. The trees often exceed those of tropical forests in height, but the diversity of species is not as vast.
• The rain forests of the world are estimated by scientists to contain 80% of the green flowering plants in existence and it is estimated that 2.5 acres of tropical...