Rainforests are forests characterized by high rainfall, with annual rainfall between 250 and 450 centimetres (98 and 177 in). There are two types of rainforest: tropical rainforest and temperate rainforest. The monsoon trough, alternatively known as the intertropical convergence zone, plays a significant role in creating the climatic conditions necessary for the Earth's tropical rainforests.
Around 40% to 75% of all biotic species are indigenous to the rainforests. It has been estimated that there may be many millions of species of plants, insects and microorganisms still undiscovered in tropical rainforests. Tropical rainforests have been called the "jewels of the Earth" and the "world's largest pharmacy", because over one quarter of natural medicines have been discovered there. Rainforests are also responsible for 28% of the world's oxygen turnover, sometimes misnamed oxygen production, processing it through photosynthesis from carbon dioxide and consuming it through respiration.
The undergrowth in some areas of a rainforest can be restricted by poor penetration of sunlight to ground level. If the leaf canopy is destroyed or thinned, the ground beneath is soon colonized by a dense, tangled growth of vines, shrubs and small trees, called a jungle.
Tropical rainforests are characterized by a warm and wet climate. Mean monthly temperatures exceed 18 °C (64 °F) during all months of the year. Average annual rainfall is no less than 168 cm (66 in) and can exceed 1,000 cm (390 in) although it typically lies between 175 cm (69 in) and 200 cm (79 in).
Many of the world's rainforests are associated with the location of the monsoon trough, also known as the intertropical convergence zone. Tropical rainforests are located in the tropics, i.e., in the equatorial zone between the Tropic of Cancer and Tropic of Capricorn. Tropical rainforests exist in Southeast Asia (from Myanmar (Burma) to the Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia, Papua New...
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