February 18th, 2013
Rainforests are the oldest living ecosystems on earth. They only cover about 6% of the Earth surface but they contain more than half of the world’s animal and plant species. Rainforests are described as a tall but dense jungle. It is called a “rain” forest because of the high amount of rainfall it gets per year.
There are two different types of rainforests Tropical and Temperate. A tropical rainforest is located near the equator and is warm and moist. A temperate rainforest is generally located around coastal areas and is cooler than a tropical rainforest. This chart shows the differences and similarities between the two rainforests.
Rainforests have 4 different layers to them. Each layer contains a different animal species and a different part of the plant system. The tallest layer is called the Emergent Layer. It has the tallest trees, containing trees as much as 200 feet above the forest floor with trunks as big as 16 feet around. Some, if not most, of these trees are broad-leaved, hardwood evergreen’s. This layer gets the most sun out of the 4 because they are the highest layer. Some of the animals that are found in this layer are eagles, monkeys, bats and butterflies probably because of the high tree level.
The second tallest layer, also known as the primary layer, is the Canopy Layer. It is called the Canopy Layer because it forms a roof over the two remaining layers, like a canopy. The canopy trees have oval, smooth leaves that come to a point. It is basically a maze of leaves and branches. A lot of animals live in this area since food is not very scarce. Some of those animals are snakes, toucans and tree frogs.
The second smallest layer of the rainforest is the Understory Layer. Most plants in this area grow to be 12 feet or even higher. This is because not much sunlight reaches this area so plants have to grow larger to reach the sunlight. Many animals live