Many bats, birds, and insects prefer the open airspace the understory offers. Amphibians, such as dazzlingly colored tree frogs, thrive in the humidity because it keeps their skin moist. Gorillas, a critically endangered species of primate , are crucial for seed dispersal.
Gorillas are herbivore s that move throughout the dark, dense rainforest as well as more sun-dappled swamp s and jungle s. Their droppings disperse seeds in these sunny areas where new trees and shrubs can take root. In this way, gorillas are keystone species in many African rainforest ecosystems. The forest floor is the darkest of all rainforest layers, making it extremely difficult for plants to grow. Leaves that fall to the forest floor decay quickly. Decomposer s, such as termites, slugs, scorpions, worms, and fungi, thrive on the forest floor.
Organic matter falls from trees and plants, and these organisms break down the decaying material into nutrient s. The shallow roots of rainforest trees absorb these nutrients, and dozens of predator s consume the decomposers! Animals such as wild pigs, armadillos, and anteaters forage in the decomposing brush for these tasty insects, roots and tuber s of the South American rainforest.
Even larger predators, including leopards, skulk in the darkness to surprise their prey. Smaller rodents, such as rats and lowland pacas a type of striped rodent indigenous to Central and South America , hide from predators beneath the shallow roots of trees that dominate the canopy and emergent layer. Rivers that run through some tropical rainforests create unusual freshwater habitats on the forest floor. The Amazon River, for instance, is home to the boto, or pink river dolphin, one of the few freshwater dolphin species in the world. Tropical rainforest s are mainly located between the latitude s of Such humid air produces extreme and frequent rainfall, ranging between centimeters inches per year.
Tropical rainforests are the most biologically diverse terrestrial ecosystems in the world. It is home to around 40, plant species, nearly 1, bird species, 3, types of fish, species of mammals, and 2. Red-bellied piranhas and pink river dolphins swim its waters. Jewel-toned parrots squawk and fly through its trees. Poison dart frogs warn off predators with their bright colors. Millions of mushrooms and other fungi decompose dead and dying plant material, recycling nutrients to the soil and organisms in the understory.
The Amazon rainforest is truly an ecological kaleidoscope , full of colorful sights and sounds.
Temperate rainforest s are located in the mid-latitudes, where temperatures are much more mild than the tropics. Temperate rainforests are found mostly in coast al, mountainous areas. These geographic conditions help create areas of high rainfall. They are also much less sunny and rainy, receiving anywhere between centimeters inches of rain per year.
Rainfall in these forests is produced by warm, moist air coming in from the coast and being trapped by nearby mountains. Temperate rainforests are not as biologically diverse as tropical rainforests. They are, however, home to an incredible amount of biological productivity, storing up to metric tons of leaves, wood, and other organic matter per hectare metric tons per acre.
Cooler temperatures and a more stable climate slow down decomposition, allowing more material to accumulate.
The old-growth forest s of the Pacific Northwest, for example, produce three times the biomass living or once-living material of tropical rainforests. This productivity allows many plant species to grow for incredibly long periods of time.
Temperate rainforest trees such as the coast redwood in the U. The animals of the temperate rainforest are mostly made up of large mammals and small birds, insects, and reptiles. These species vary widely between rainforests in different world regions.
Bobcats, mountain lions, and black bears are major predators in the rainforests of the Pacific Northwest. Rainforests have been home to thriving, complex communities for thousands of years. For instance, unique rainforest ecosystems have influenced the diet of cultures from Africa to the Pacific Northwest. The Mbuti, a community indigenous to the Ituri rainforest in Central Africa, have traditionally been hunter-gatherers. Their diet consists of plants and animals from every layer of the rainforest.
From the forest floor, the Mbuti hunt fish and crabs from the Ituri River a tributary of the Congo , as well as gather berries from low-lying shrubs. The giant forest hog, a species of wild boar, is also frequently targeted by Mbuti hunters, although this species is hunted for sale more often than food.
From the understory, the Mbuti may gather honey from bee hives, or hunt monkeys. From the canopy and emergent layers, Mbuti hunters may set nets or traps for birds. Although they are a historically nomadic society, agriculture has become a way of life for many Mbuti communities today as they trade and barter with neighboring agricultural groups such as the Bantu for crops such as manioc, nuts, rice, and plantains. The Chimbu people live in the highland rainforest on the island of New Guinea. The Chimbu practice subsistence agriculture through shifting cultivation.
Rainforests are forests which grow in areas of high rainfall. Tropical rainforests are found between the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Introduction. Essay about The Importance of Rainforests . Introduction Tropical rainforests are highly important to the global ecosystem and human existence in the world.
This means they have gardens on arable land that has been cleared of vegetation. A portion of the plot may be left fallow for months or years. The plots are never abandoned and are passed on within the family. Crops harvest ed in Chimbu garden plots include sweet potatoes, bananas, and beans.
The Chimbu also maintain livestock , particularly pigs. In addition to their own diet, pigs are valuable economic commodities for trade and sale. The temperate rainforest of the northwest coast of North America is the home of the Tlingit. The Tlingit enjoy a diverse diet, relying on both marine and freshwater species, as well as game from inland forests.
Due to bountiful Pacific inlets, rivers, and streams, the traditional Tlingit diet consists of a wide variety of aquatic life: crab, shrimp, clams, oysters, seals, and fish such as herring, halibut, and, crucially, salmon. Kelps and other seaweed s can be harvested and eaten in soups or dried. In more inland areas, historic Tlingit hunters may have targeted deer, elk, rabbit, and mountain goats. Plants gathered or harvested include berries, nuts, and wild celery.
The Yanomami are a people and culture native to the northern Amazon rainforest, spanning the border between Venezuela and Brazil. Like the Chimbu, the Yanomami practice both hunting and shifting-cultivation agriculture. Game hunted by the Yanomami include deer, tapirs an animal similar to a pig , monkeys, birds, and armadillos.
The Yanomami have hunting dogs to help them search the understory and forest floor for game. The Yanomami practice slash-and-burn agriculture to clear the land of vegetation prior to farming. Crop s grown include cassava, banana, and corn. In addition to food crops, the Yanomami also cultivate cotton, which is used for hammocks, nets, and clothing. Rainforests are critically important to the well-being of our planet. Tropical rainforests encompass approximately 1. Massive amounts of solar radiation are absorbed, helping regulate temperatures around the globe.
Excellent timber is furnished by the mahogany and the Amazonian cedar. Virgin Islands:. Such a shift could have dramatic economic and ecological impacts, including affecting rainfall that currently feeds regions that generate 70 percent of South America's GDP and triggering enormous carbon emissions from forest die-off. According to environmentalists, 99 percent of the forest fires are a result of human actions, either on purpose or by accident. Biologist, Norman Myers, states "rainforests are the finest celebration of nature….
Rainforests provide us with many products that we use every day. Tropical woods such as teak, balsa, rosewood, and mahogany are used in flooring, doors, windows, boatbuilding, and cabinetry. Fibers such as raffia, bamboo, kapok, and rattan are used to make furniture, baskets, insulation , and cord. Cinnamon, vanilla, nutmeg, and ginger are just a few spices of the rainforest. The ecosystem supports fruits including bananas, papayas, mangos, cocoa and coffee beans. Rainforests also provide us with many medicinal products. According to the U.
Rainforest plants are also used in the creation of muscle relaxants, steroid s, and insecticide s. They are used to treat asthma , arthritis , malaria , heart disease, and pneumonia. The importance of rainforest species in public health is even more incredible considering that less than one percent of rainforest species have been analyze d for their medicinal value. A mushroom discovered in the tropical rainforest of Ecuador, for example, is capable of consuming polyurethane —a hard, durable type of plastic used in everything from garden hoses to carpets to shoes.
The fungi can even consume the plastic in an oxygen-free environment, leading many environmentalists and businesses to invest in research to investigate if the fungi can help reduce waste in urban landfill s. Rainforests are disappearing at an alarmingly fast pace, largely due to human development over the past few centuries. Since , the total area of tropical rainforests has probably been reduced by more than half, to about 6.
Rampant deforestation could cause many important rainforest habitats to disappear completely within the next hundred years. Such rapid habitat loss is due to the fact that 40 hectares acres of rainforest are cleared every minute for agricultural and industrial development. In the Amazon rainforest, large-scale agricultural industries, such as cattle ranching , clear huge tract s of forests for arable land. In the Congo rainforest, roads and other infrastructure development have reduced habitat and cut off migration corridor s for many rainforest species.
Throughout both the Amazon and Congo, mining and logging operations clear-cut to build roads and dig mines. Some rainforests are threatened by massive hydroelectric power projects, where dam s flood acres of land.