Close your eyes for a minute and try to picture a forest that has been unchanged for the last 60 million years or so, where giant trees can reach the sky, and all of their leafy branches block out sunlight to the vast forest floor. A place where the seasons rarely change and the rain clouds hang in the heavy air and downpours are very common. Welcome to the rainforest!
Rainforests are jungles filled with tall, densely growing, evergreen trees. It has a wall averaging 20 feet thick that is made up of a tangle of vines that love light. Tropical rainforests are found in 85 countries around the world.
The Amazon is one of the world's great rainforests. The Amazon River runs 3,000 miles from the Andes to the sea, and longer than any other river but the Nile, in Egypt! The vast Amazon basin covers more than two and a half million square miles, more than any other rainforest.
About fifty percent of the world's animal species make their homes in the rainforest. Over half of the world's insects live there, too. In fact there are more insects in the forest than any other type of animal. Many species have not been discovered yet. Because the rainforest is so warm many of these insects grow quite large. These are an important part of the food chain.
To give you a good idea of the large number of species found in the rainforest, consider this:
In an area of about four square miles of rainforest, the following estimated numbers of living things could be found:
1. 400 species of birds
2. 150 species of butterflies
3. 100 species of reptiles
4. 125 species of mammals
5. 60 species of amphibians
6. 40,000 species of insects
There are approximately 100 square miles of rainforest being destroyed each day. At this rate of destruction, the losses in terms of all living things are just mind boggling! Why? What can we do to save it?
I hope that you will read on and perhaps one day, YOU will make a difference!!