The tropical rainforest is one of the most interesting ecosystems on the planet, especially for children, as it represents the densest and most populated jungles on the planet, which helps to feed their imagination and curiosity about the environment around them.
In fact, the flora and fauna of this ecosystem are 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 that of children.
What is the Tropical Rainforest?
The tropical rainforest is one of the richest ecosystems in both flora and fauna that can be found on our planet. Although they represent only 6% of the earth’s surface, it is estimated that they constitute more than half of the planet’s flora and fauna species. This is because they are places with a very high biological richness.
This type of ecosystem is characterized by abundant vegetation that reaches very high levels, as well as constant and equally abundant rainfall throughout the year. Their distribution in the world is mainly centered around the equator.
More than half (approximately 57% of the tropical rainforests) are located in Latin America, especially in Brazil. Geographic areas with this type of rainforest can also be found in Southeast Asia, numerous islands in the Pacific and Indian Oceans, as well as in some western regions of Africa.
Tropical Rainforest: Flora
When talking about the flora of the tropical rainforest, 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 heights that the rainforest develops when talking about vegetation.
This means that the species found at one altitude are different from those found at another, which is common in many ecosystems, but, in the case of the rainforest, it is especially representative.
First of all, 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 on itself and ends up creating a real “canopy of leaves,” which is one of the most characteristic features of tropical rainforests.
In addition to the trees common to these ecosystems, at this altitude one can also find a multitude of:
- Climbing plants and creepers.
On a second level, we find the so-called “undergrowth,” which is located between the ground and the aforementioned canopy. It must be taken into account that, precisely because of the canopy, only approximately 5% of the sunlight that bathes the tropical rainforests reaches the undergrowth. This means that plants growing at this altitude are accustomed to indirect light, as they are always protected by the canopy.
In this case, we can talk about:
- Some climbing plants.
- low palm trees.
- Fig trees.
- Mosses and fungi of different types.
Finally, the flora of the tropical rainforest has a third level, which would be the one at ground level, where only 2% of sunlight reaches, so the flora of this level is especially sensitive to light. Thus, the most common vegetation at this last level is usually fungi, which seek cool, moist, and dark places.
Tropical Rainforest: Fauna
The fauna of the tropical rainforest is vast and it would take several books to document it completely. Regardless of the geographical location of the rainforest, we can find abundant species of insects and arachnids, as well as amphibians, reptiles, and mammals of many types.
One of the curiosities of the tropical rainforest, which is used by many animals to protect themselves from predators, is that, due to its high altitude, species can be found that never touch the ground, the place where they are most vulnerable and where the presence of these predators is greatest.
Some of the best-known examples of fauna in the Amazon rainforest are amphibians and reptiles, such as the poison dart 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 top predator in the food chain in the 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 the Pacific islands).