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Tuesday, August 2, 2011

RAINFOREST



WHAT IS A RAINFOREST
A Rainforest and its waterfall
Rainforests are the Earth's oldest living ecosystems. 
They are so amazing and beautiful.

These incredible places cover only 6 %of the Earth's surface but yet they contain MORE THAN 1/2 of the world's plant and animal species!

A Rainforest can be described as a tall, dense jungle.  The reason it is called a "rain" forest is because of the high amount of rainfall it gets per year.  The climate of a rain forest is very hot and humid so the animals and plants that exist there must learn to adapt to this climate.

Rainforests basically have four layers to them.
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Strata of the Rainforest
Different animals and plants live in different parts of the rainforest. Scientists divide the rainforest into strata (zones) based on the living environment. Starting at the top, the strata are:
  • EMERGENTS: Giant trees that are much higher than the average canopy height. It houses many birds and insects.
  • CANOPY: The upper parts of the trees. This leafy environment is full of life in a tropical rainforest and includes: insects, birds, reptiles, mammals, and more.
  • UNDERSTORY: A dark, cool environment under the leaves but over the ground.
  • FOREST FLOOR: Teeming with animal life, especially insects. The largest animals in the rainforest generally live here.


LAYERS OF A RAINFOREST
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EMERGENT LAYER
The tallest trees are the emergents, towering as much as 200 feet above the forest floor with trunks that measure up to 16 feet around.   Most of these trees are broad-leaved, hardwood evergreens. Sunlight is plentiful up here.  Animals found are eagles, monkeys, bats and butterflies.
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CANOPY LAYER
This is the primary layer of the forest and forms a roof over the two remaining layers.   Most canopy trees have smooth, oval leaves that come to a point. It's a maze of leaves and branches.  Many animals live in this area since food is abundant.   Those animals include: snakes, toucans and treefrogs.
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UNDERSTORY LAYER
Little sunshine reaches this area so the plants have to grow larger leaves to reach the sunlight.   The plants in this area seldom grow to 12 feet.  Many animals live here including jaguars, red-eyed tree frogs and leopards.  There is a large concentration of insects here.
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FOREST FLOOR
It's very dark down here.  Almost no plants grow in this area, as a result.  Since hardly any sun reaches the forest floor things begin to decay quickly.  A leaf that might take one year to decompose in a regular climate will disappear in  6 weeks.   Giant anteaters live in this layer.

Monkeys are skillful climbers who leap and scamble among the branches
As many as 30 million species of plants and animals live in tropical rainforests. 


At least two-thirds of the world's plant species, including many exotic and beautiful flowers grow in the rainforests.
This pink plant grows on rainforest trees - it is an epiphytic air plant which means it grows on the tree but is not a parasite.
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Where are Rainforests?
Tropical rainforests are found in a belt around the equator of the Earth. There are tropical rainforests across South America, Central America, Africa, Southeast Asia and Australia (and nearby islands).








Where are tropical rainforests? Tropical rainforests are located in a band around the equator (Zero degrees latitude), mostly in the area between the Tropic of Cancer (23.5° N latitude) and the Tropic of Capricorn (23.5° S latitude). This 3,000 mile (4800 km) wide band is called the "tropics."
The equator is an imaginary circle around the earth, halfway between the north and south poles. Temperatures at the equator are high. These high temperatures cause accelerated evaporation of water, which results in frequent rain in forested areas in the tropics.

There are rainforests in South and Central America, Africa, Oceania (the islands around Australia), and Asia. Tropical rainforests cover only about 7% of the Earth's surface.

The largest rainforests are in the Amazon River Basin (South America), the Congo River Basin (western Africa), and throughout much of southeast Asia. Smaller rainforests are located in Central America, Madagascar, Australia and nearby islands, India, and other locations in the tropics.

There are only two seasons in a tropical rainforest, the wet season and the dry season. 





Temperate rainforests are found along the Pacific coast of the USA and Canada (from northern California to Alaska), in New Zealand, Tasmania, Chile, Ireland, Scotland and Norway. They cover less area than tropical rainforests.

The Olympic rain forest (located on the Olympic peninsula in the state of Washington, United States of America) is a temperate rain forest near the Pacific ocean. 


Rainfall
It is almost always raining in a rainforest. Rainforests get over 80 inches (2 m) of rain each year. This is about 1 1/2 inches (3.8 cm) of rain each week.
The rain is more evenly distributed throughout the year in a tropical rainforest (even though there is a little seasonality). In a temperate rainforest, there are wet and dry seasons. During the "dry" season, coastal fog supplies abundant moisture to the forest. 


Temperature
The temperature in a rainforest never freezes and never gets very hot. The range of temperature in a tropical rainforest is usually between 75° F and 80° F (24-27° C). Temperate rainforests rarely freeze or get over 80° F (27° C). 


The Soil in a Rainforest
The soil of a tropical rainforest is only about 3-4 inches (7.8-10 cm) thick and is ancient. Thick clay lies underneath the soil. Once damaged, the soil of a tropical rainforest takes many years to recover.
Temperate rainforests have soil that is richer in nutrients, relatively young and less prone to damage. 


There are two types of rainforests -- tropical and temperate. Tropical and temperate rainforests share certain characteristics. For example, most trees flare at the base. Vegetation is dense, tall and very green. Both types of rainforests are rich in plant and animal species, although the diversity is greater in the tropical rainforest.
Montane forests are found in mountainous areas and may contain plants such as oaks, rhododendrons, and pines, which are characteristic of temperate deciduous forests. At higher altitudes, temperatures are cooler. Even close to the equator, frost and snow can occur. 
Precipitation and Climate
Both tropical and temperate rainforests are very lush and wet. Rainfall falls regularly throughout the year. The tropical rainforest receives 80-400 inches of rainfall per year. It rains a lot in the temperate rainforest, too -- about 100 inches per year. And even more moisture comes from the coastal fog that hovers among the trees. 
Tropical rainforests are warm and moist; while temperate rainforests are cool.



TropicalTemperate
Temperatureswarmcool
Number of tree speciesmany (hundreds)few (10-20)
Types of leavesbroadleafneedles
Age of trees50-100 years500-1000 years
Epiphyteslots of different kinds including orchids and bromeliadsmostly mosses and ferns
Decomposition raterapidslow





The Importance of Rainforests


Tropical rainforests cover about 7% of the Earth's surface and are VERY important to the Earth's ecosystem. The rainforests recycle and clean water. Tropical rainforest trees and plants also remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and store it in their roots, stems, leaves, and branches. Rainforests affect the greenhouse effect, which traps heat inside the Earth's atmosphere.
Some of the foods that were originally from rainforests around the world include cashew nuts, Brazil nuts, Macadamia nuts, bananas, plantains, pineapple, cucumber, cocoa (chocolate), coffee, tea, avocados, papaya, guava, mango, cassava (a starchy root), tapioca, yams, sweet potato, okra, cinnamon, vanilla, nutmeg, mace, ginger, cayenne pepper, cloves, oranges, grapefruit, lemons, limes, passion fruit, peanuts, rice, sugar cane, and coconuts (mostly from coastal areas). 


People Living in Tropical Rainforests


There are many indigenous groups of people who have live in the tropical rainforests. Many of these groups, like the Yanomamo tribe of the Amazon rainforests of Brazil and southern Venezuela, have lived in scattered villages in the rainforests for hundreds or thousands of years. These tribes get their food, clothing, and housing mainly from materials they obtain in the forests.

Forest people are mostly hunter-gatherers; they get their food by hunting for meat (and fishing for fish) and gathering edible plants, like starchy roots and fruit. Many also have small gardens in cleared areas of the forest. Since the soil in the rainforest is so poor, the garden areas must be moved after just a few years, and another part of the forest is cleared.
Most indigenous populations are declining. There are many reasons for this. Their primary problems are disease (like smallpox and measles, which were inadvertently introduced by Europeans) and governmental land seizure.
The Disappearing Rainforests
  • We are losing Earth's greatest biological treasures just as we are beginning to appreciate their true value. Rainforests once covered 14% of the earth's land surface; now they cover a mere 6% and experts estimate that the last remaining rainforests could be consumed in less than 40 years.
  • One and one-half acres of rainforest are lost every second with tragic consequences for both developing and industrial countries.
  • Rainforests are being destroyed because the value of rainforest land is perceived as only the value of its timber by short-sighted governments, multi-national logging companies, and land owners.
  • Nearly half of the world's species of plants, animals and microorganisms will be destroyed or severely threatened over the next quarter century due to rainforest deforestation.
  • Experts estimates that we are losing 137 plant, animal and insect species every single day due to rainforest deforestation. That equates to 50,000 species a year. As the rainforest species disappear, so do many possible cures for life-threatening diseases. Currently, 121 prescription drugs sold worldwide come from plant-derived sources. While 25% of Western pharmaceuticals are derived from rainforest ingredients, less that 1% of these tropical trees and plants have been tested by scientists.
  • Most rainforests are cleared by chainsaws, bulldozers and fires for its timber value and then are followed by farming and ranching operations, even by world giants like Mitsubishi Corporation, Georgia Pacific, Texaco and Unocal.
  • There were an estimated ten million Indians living in the Amazonian Rainforest five centuries ago. Today there are less than 200,000.
  • In Brazil alone, European colonists have destroyed more than 90 indigenous tribes since the 1900's. With them have gone centuries of accumulated knowledge of the medicinal value of rainforest species. As their homelands continue to be destroyed by deforestation, rainforest peoples are also disappearing.
  • Most medicine men and shamans remaining in the Rainforests today are 70 years old or more. Each time a rainforest medicine man dies, it is as if a library has burned down.
  • When a medicine man dies without passing his arts on to the next generation, the tribe and the world loses thousands of years of irreplaceable knowledge about medicinal plants.
The Wealth of the Rainforests




  • The Amazon Rainforest covers over a billion acres, encompassing areas in Brazil, Venezuela, Colombia and the Eastern Andean region of Ecuador and Peru. If Amazonia were a country, it would be the ninth largest in the world.
  • The Amazon Rainforest has been described as the "Lungs of our Planet" because it provides the essential environmental world service of continuously recycling carbon dioxide into oxygen. More than 20 percent of the world oxygen is produced in the Amazon Rainforest.
  • More than half of the world's estimated 10 million species of plants, animals and insects live in the tropical rainforests. One-fifth of the world's fresh water is in the Amazon Basin.
  • One hectare (2.47 acres) may contain over 750 types of trees and 1500 species of higher plants.
  • At least 80% of the developed world's diet originated in the tropical rainforest. Its bountiful gifts to the world include fruits like avocados, coconuts, figs, oranges, lemons, grapefruit, bananas, guavas, pineapples, mangos and tomatoes; vegetables including corn, potatoes, rice, winter squash and yams; spices like black pepper, cayenne, chocolate, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, sugar cane, tumeric, coffee and vanilla and nuts including Brazil nuts and cashews.
  • At least 3000 fruits are found in the rainforests; of these only 200 are now in use in the Western World. The Indians of the rainforest use over 2,000.
  • Rainforest plants are rich in secondary metabolites, particularly alkaloids. Biochemists believe alkaloids protect plants from disease and insect attacks. Many alkaloids from higher plants have proven to be of medicinal value and benefit.
  • Currently, 121 prescription drugs currently sold worldwide come from plant-derived sources. And while 25% of Western pharmaceuticals are derived from rainforest ingredients, less than 1% of these tropical trees and plants have been tested by scientists.
  • The U.S. National Cancer Institute has identified 3000 plants that are active against cancer cells. 70% of these plants are found in the rainforest. Twenty-five percent of the active ingredients in today's cancer-fighting drugs come from organisms found only in the rainforest.
  • Vincristine, extracted from the rainforest plant, periwinkle, is one of the world's most powerful anticancer drugs. It has dramatically increased the survival rate for acute childhood leukemia since its discovery.
  • In 1983, there were no U.S. pharmaceutical manufacturers involved in research programs to discover new drugs or cures from plants. Today, over 100 pharmaceutical companies and several branches of the US government, including giants like Merck and The National Cancer Institute, are engaged in plant research projects for possible drugs and cures for viruses, infections, cancer, and even AIDS.
Rainforest Action




  • Experts agree that by leaving the rainforests intact and harvesting it's many nuts, fruits, oil-producing plants, and medicinal plants, the rainforest has more economic value than if they were cut down to make grazing land for cattle or for timber.
  • The latest statistics show that rainforest land converted to cattle operations yields the land owner $60 per acre and if timber is harvested, the land is worth $400 per acre. However, if these renewable and sustainable resources are harvested, the land will yield the land owner $2,400 per acre.
  • If managed properly, the rainforest can provide the world's need for these natural resources on a perpetual basis.
  • Promoting the use of these sustainable and renewable sources could stop the destruction of the rainforests. By creating a new source of income harvesting the medicinal plants, fruits nuts, oil and other sustainable resources, the rainforests is be more valuable alive than cut and burned.
  • Sufficient demand of sustainable and ecologically harvested rainforest products is necessary for preservation efforts to succeed. Purchasing sustainable rainforest products can effect positive change by creating a market for these products while supporting the native people's economy and provides the economic solution and alternative to cutting the forest just for the value of its timber.






The following has been excerpted from the book, The Healing Power of Rainforest Herbs (Square One Publishers, Inc. Garden City, NY 11040, © Copyrighted 2004) By Leslie Taylor
 


THE IMPORTANCE OF THE RAINFOREST

The beauty, majesty, and timelessness of a primary rainforest are indescribable. It is impossible to capture on film, to describe in words, or to explain to those who have never had the awe-inspiring experience of standing in the heart of a primary rainforest.
Rainforests have evolved over millions of years to turn into the incredibly complex environments they are today. Rainforests represent a store of living and breathing renewable natural resources that for eons, by virtue of their richness in both animal and plant species, have contributed a wealth of resources for the survival and well-being of humankind. These resources have included basic food supplies, clothing, shelter, fuel, spices, industrial raw materials, and medicine for all those who have lived in the majesty of the forest. However, the inner dynamics of a tropical rainforest is an intricate and fragile system. Everything is so interdependent that upsetting one part can lead to unknown damage or even destruction of the whole. Sadly, it has taken only a century of human intervention to destroy what nature designed to last forever.
The scale of human pressures on ecosystems everywhere has increased enormously in the last few decades. Since 1980 the global economy has tripled in size and the world population has increased by 30 percent. Consumption of everything on the planet has risen- at a cost to our ecosystems. In 2001, The World Resources Institute estimated that the demand for rice, wheat, and corn is expected to grow by 40% by 2020, increasing irrigation water demands by 50% or more. They further reported that the demand for wood could double by the year 2050; unfortunately, it is still the tropical forests of the world that supply the bulk of the world's demand for wood.
In 1950, about 15 percent of the Earth's land surface was covered by rainforest. Today, more than half has already gone up in smoke. In fewer than fifty years, more than half of the world's tropical rainforests have fallen victim to fire and the chain saw, and the rate of destruction is still accelerating. Unbelievably, more than 200,000 acres of rainforest are burned every day. That is more than 150 acres lost every minute of every day, and 78 million acres lost every year! More than 20 percent of the Amazon rainforest is already gone, and much more is severely threatened as the destruction continues. It is estimated that the Amazon alone is vanishing at a rate of 20,000 square miles a year. If nothing is done to curb this trend, the entire Amazon could well be gone within fifty years.
Massive deforestation brings with it many ugly consequences-air and water pollution, soil erosion, malaria epidemics, the release of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, the eviction and decimation of indigenous Indian tribes, and the loss of biodiversity through extinction of plants and animals. Fewer rainforests mean less rain, less oxygen for us to breathe, and an increased threat from global warming.
But who is really to blame? Consider what we industrialized Americans have done to our own homeland. We converted 90 percent of North America's virgin forests into firewood, shingles, furniture, railroad ties, and paper. Other industrialized countries have done no better. Malaysia, Indonesia, Brazil, and other tropical countries with rainforests are often branded as "environmental villains" of the world, mainly because of their reported levels of destruction of their rainforests. But despite the levels of deforestation, up to 60 percent of their territory is still covered by natural tropical forests. In fact, today, much of the pressures on their remaining rainforests comes from servicing the needs and markets for wood products in industrialized countries that have already depleted their own natural resources. Industrial countries would not be buying rainforest hardwoods and timber had we not cut down our own trees long ago, nor would poachers in the Amazon jungle be slaughtering jaguar, ocelot, caiman, and otter if we did not provide lucrative markets for their skins in Berlin, Paris, and Tokyo.

  


Did you know there are two types of Rainforest producing plants in thetropical rainforest?
First there are temperate rainforest plants and the tropical, and that all most all exotic house plants are plants of the rainforest and amazon rainforest plants from around the world and are low light house plants because they are used to canopy’s of large trees that protect these plants from direct sunlight that’s why tropical rainforest biome plants do so well indoors out of their natural rainforest biome.
Tropical rainforest are found close to the equator where the humidity is high and it gets very warm if not very hot, these are the conditions and rainforest soil that tropical rainforest plants and flowers love best.
Temperate rainforests are found along coasts in the temperate zone, such as in the Pacific Northwest of the USA. The rainforest are so important to the air we breathe by producing clean oxygen purifying the air also the ozone layers and both producing rich rainforest soil that aid in the vegetation of these lush plants in the tropical rainforest.
There are also many medicinal plants of the rainforest that are used to help with diseases, infections, and ailments.
Both tropical rainforest and temperate rainforest are unfortunately endangered due to the environment changing and humans invading these beautiful wetlands and tropical rainforest to build expanding new cities.
Besides giving you information on rainforest plants that are best grown as exotic house plants I will give you a list of tropical rain forest locations around the world, and information on how the plants of the tropical rainforest are affected by the tropical rainforest biome and the climate fortropical rainforest, also rainforest soil what’s best to grow your house plants.
I will provide a list of name of plants, information on how to grow plants, plant identifier and flowering plant identification and house plants pictures to help you with all this.
This information should help you to choose well when getting the plants in the rainforest into your home and staying healthy. 





THE BIODIVERSITY OF THE RAINFOREST

Why should the loss of tropical forests be of any concern to us in light of our own poor management of natural resources? The loss of tropical rainforests has a profound and devastating impact on the world because rainforests are so biologically diverse, more so than other ecosystems (e.g., temperate forests) on Earth.
Consider these facts:
  • A single pond in Brazil can sustain a greater variety of fish than is found in all of Europe's rivers.
  • A 25-acre plot of rainforest in Borneo may contain more than 700 species of trees - a number equal to the total tree diversity of North America.
  • A single rainforest reserve in Peru is home to more species of birds than are found in the entire United States.
  • One single tree in Peru was found to harbor forty-three different species of ants - a total that approximates the entire number of ant species in the British Isles.
  • The number of species of fish in the Amazon exceeds the number found in the entire Atlantic Ocean.
The biodiversity of the tropical rainforest is so immense that less than 1 percent of its millions of species have been studied by scientists for their active constituents and their possible uses. When an acre of topical rainforest is lost, the impact on the number of plant and animal species lost and their possible uses is staggering. Scientists estimate that we are losing more than 137 species of plants and animals every single day because of rainforest deforestation.
Surprisingly, scientists have a better understanding of how many stars there are in the galaxy than they have of how many species there are on Earth. Estimates vary from 2 million to 100 million species, with a best estimate of somewhere near 10 million; only 1.4 million of these species have actually been named. Today, rainforests occupy only 2 percent of the entire Earth's surface and 6 percent of the world's land surface, yet these remaining lush rainforests support over half of our planet's wild plants and trees and one-half of the world's wildlife. Hundreds and thousands of these rainforest species are being extinguished before they have even been identified, much less catalogued and studied. The magnitude of this loss to the world was most poignantly described by Harvard's Pulitzer Prize-winning biologist Edward O. Wilson over a decade ago:




"The worst thing that can happen during the 1980s is not energy depletion, economic collapses, limited nuclear war, or conquest by a totalitarian government. As terrible as these catastrophes would be for us, they can be repaired within a few generations. The one process ongoing in the 1980s that will take millions of years to correct is the loss of genetic and species diversity by the destruction of natural habitats. This is the folly that our descendants are least likely to forgive us for."
Yet still the destruction continues. If deforestation continues at current rates, scientists estimate nearly 80 to 90 percent of tropical rainforest ecosystems will be destroyed by the year 2020. This destruction is the main force driving a species extinction rate unmatched in 65 million years.



THE AMAZON RAINFOREST . . . THE LAST FRONTIER ON EARTH

If Amazonia were a country, it would be the ninth largest in the world. The Amazon rainforest, the world's greatest remaining natural resource, is the most powerful and bioactively diverse natural phenomenon on the planet. It has been described as the "lungs of our planet" because it provides the essential service of continuously recycling carbon dioxide into oxygen. It is estimated that more than 20 percent of Earth's oxygen is produced in this area.
The Amazon covers more than 1.2 billion acres, representing two-fifths of the enormous South American continent, and is found in nine South American countries: Brazil, Colombia, Peru, Venezuela, Ecuador, Bolivia, Guyana, French Guiana, and Suriname. With 2.5 million square miles of rainforest, the Amazon rainforest represents 54 percent of the total rainforests left on Earth.

The Amazon River

The life force of the Amazon rainforest is the mighty Amazon River. It starts as a trickle high in the snow-capped Andes Mountains and flows more than 4,000 miles across the South American continent until it enters the Atlantic Ocean at Belem, Brazil, where it is 200 to 300 miles across, depending on the season. Even 1,000 miles inland it is still 7 miles wide. The river is so deep that ocean liners can travel up its length to 2,300 miles inland. The Amazon River flows through the center of the rainforest and is fed by 1,100 tributaries, 17 of which are more than 1,000 miles long. The Amazon is by far the largest watershed and largest river system in the world occupying over 6 million square kilometers. Over two-thirds of all the fresh water found on Earth is in the Amazon Basin's rivers, streams, and tributaries.
With so much water it's not unusual that the main mode of transportation throughout the area is by boat. The smallest and most common boats used today are still made out of hollowed tree trunks, whether they are powered by outboard motors or more often by human-powered paddles. Almost 14,000 miles of Amazon waterway are navigable, and several million miles through swamps and forests are penetrable by canoe. The enormous Amazon River carries massive amounts of silt from runoff from the rainforest floor. Massive amounts of silt deposited at the mouth of the Amazon River has created the largest river island in the world-Marajo Island, which is roughly the size of Switzerland. With this massive freshwater system, it is not unusual that life beneath the water is as abundant and diverse as the surrounding rainforest's plant and animal species. More than 2,000 species of fish have been identified in the Amazon Basin - more species than in the entire Atlantic Ocean.

Largest Co

llection of Plant and Animal Species

The Amazon Basin was formed in the Paleozoic period, somewhere between 500 million and 200 million years ago. The extreme age of the region in geologic terms has much to do with the relative infertility of the rainforest soil and the richness and unique diversity of the plant and animal life. There are more fertile areas in the Amazon River's flood plain, where the river deposits richer soil brought from the Andes, which only formed 20 million years ago.
The Amazon rainforest contains the largest collection of living plant and animal species in the world. The diversity of plant species in the Amazon rainforest is the highest on Earth. It is estimated that a single hectare (2.47 acres) of Amazon rainforest contains about 900 tons of living plants, including more than 750 types of trees and 1500 other plants. The Andean mountain range and the Amazon jungle are home to more than half of the world's species of flora and fauna; in fact, one in five of all the birds in the world live in the rainforests of the Amazon. To date, some 438,000 species of plants of economic and social interest have been registered in the region, and many more have yet to be catalogued or even discovered.


Scarring and Loss of Diversity

 Once a vast sea of tropical forest, the Amazon rainforest today is scarred by roads, farms, ranches, and dams. Brazil is gifted with a full third of the world's remaining rainforests; unfortunately, it is also one of the world's great rainforest destroyers, burning or felling more than 2.7 million acres each year. More than 20 percent of rainforest in the Amazon has been razed and is gone forever. This ocean of green, nearly as large as Australia, is the last great rainforest in the known universe and it is being decimated like the others before it. Why? Like other rainforests already lost forever, the land is being cleared for logging timber, large-scale cattle ranching, mining operations, government road building and hydroelectric schemes, military operations, and the subsistence agriculture of peasants and landless settlers. Sadder still, in many places the rainforests are burnt simply to provide charcoal to power industrial plants in the area.




Sinharaja Rain Forest
Located in south-west Sri Lanka, Sinharaja Rain Forest is the country's last viable area of primary tropical rainforest. More than 60% of the trees are endemic and many of them are considered rare. There is much endemic wildlife, especially birds, but the reserve is also home to over 50% of Sri Lanka's endemic species of mammals and butterflies, as well as many kinds of insects, reptiles and rare amphibians.
Sri Lanka's tropical rain forest, the Sinharaja is a UNESCO World Natural Heritage Site. One of the few virgin forests left in the world. Streams, springs, rivers, waterfalls, leopard, monkeys, butterflies and moths, rare trees, valuable shrubs and medicinal herbs are all found within its green canopy. A trek along prescribed paths would provide nature lovers with a never to be forgotten experience of sights and sounds.
The largest mammal in the Sinharaja Rain Forest is the rarely spotted leopard, also infrequently glimpsed are the rusty spotted and wild fishing cats. Sambhur, barking deer and wild boar browse on the forest floor. The more common troops of purple-faced langur monkeys will chatter and move through the trees above you, but you're more likely to hear them than actually see them. There are also rats, shrews, giant squirrels, porcupines, civets, mongooses, venomous snakes, 20 species of birds and 45 species of reptiles!.










Why Preserve Rainforest Habitat?

Rainforests are some of the world's most ancient and complex ecosystems. They cover a mere 2% of the Earth, yet more than half of all plant and animal species live there. The rainforest is home to creatures as famous as the jaguar and poison dart frog, as well as lesser-known and even unidentified species.
These amazing resources are quickly slipping away. The rainforest is where many modern food staples originated, including tomatoes, corn, and chocolate, but we use a mere fraction of the edible plants available there. Although one quarter of modern medicines come from plant species, Western science has analyzed less than one percent of rainforest plants for medicinal compounds, and the indigenous tribes that use these plants are rapidly disappearing. 


The high rate of species extinction is a significant problem. As the forests are burned for short-term farming, grazed, and harvested for wood and other compounds at an unsustainable rate, we lose the very species that may someday provide needed cures or disease-resistant crops. With them, we lose an extraordinary number of unique creatures found nowhere else in the world.
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