Rainforests of the world

The weather in a rainforest is hot all the year round — usually between 20 degrees Celsius and 28 degrees Celsius every day. The weather is always wet, too; most rainforests have more than 200 mm of rain in a month. In Belem, in Brazil, it rains on about 243 days each year. And the rain is heavy! On a rainy day in a rainforest 20 mm of rain can fall. (On a rainy day in London, about 5 mm of rain falls.

The Amazon rainforest is about a hundred million years old, and has more species of animals and plants than any other place on Earth. People have now cut down much of this rainforest to plant coffee and sugar. Angel Falls in Venezuela, the highest waterfall in the world (979 metres), is in one part of this Latin American forest.

There are different kinds of rainforest. Some are high in the mountains and others are near the sea. Mangrove swamps grow by the sea, often at the mouths of great rivers.

Before 1950, Indonesia had twice as much rainforest as it has today. Indonesia sells most of the wood from its forests to japan and other rich countries. The Rajah Brooke’s birdwing butterfly lives in these forests. It is one of the world’s largest butterflies.

Madagascar has been an island for millions of years, cut off from the rest of the world. Its animals and plants have changed very little in those years — most of them live in no other place. In Adohahela, there are twelve species of lemurs living in 760 square kilometres.

The sifaka, a lemur with very long legs, can jump from one tree to another and travel a long way without touching the ground.

The kangaroo is Australia’s most famous animal. In 1988, someone found a new species of kangaroo in the rainforest of Australia. Most kangaroos jump across the land, but the Bennett’s tree kangaroo, which has strong arms and wide feet, lives in trees.

Australia’s forests disappearing fast. How many species of animals are disappearing, too? We shall never know.


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