Rainforests constitutes some of the globe’s most important ecosystems and environments. The globe’s rainforests covers nearly 2% of the earth’s total surface area and hosts more than 50% of the of the world’s animals and plants. The rainforests are also regarded as the planet’s regulators of weather and environmental temperatures.
In the past couple of decades however, the rainforest have been facing major challenges due to the effects of deforestation and degradation due to anthropogenic activities. Even amidst such environmental problems, the globe still has lots of reason to recognize and protect the existent rainforests. In this article, we look at the 14 biggest and popular rainforests in the world.
1. Amazon Rainforest
It is the world’s largest tropical rainforest, also known as Amazonia or Amazon Jungle. It has an area of 5,500,000 km2 and covers most of the Amazon Basin of South America and runs through Brazil, Peru, Colombia, Venezuela, Ecuador, Bolivia, Guyana, Suriname, and French Guiana. The Amazon River also runs through the forest. About 60 percent of the forest is contained in Brazil.
The forest is estimated to be covered by 390 billion individual trees divided into 16,000 species. Some of the species found in this region include 2.5 million insects, about 2,000 mammals and birds, and tens of thousands of plants. To date, an estimated 438,000 species of plants of economic and social interest have been registered in the region with many more remaining to be discovered. The rainforest also contains several species and among the largest are predatory creatures including the jaguar, cougar, and anaconda.
In the Amazon River within the forest, electric eels can produce an electric shock that can stun or kill, while the piranhas are known to bite and injure humans. Various species of poison dart frogs produce toxins through their flesh. There are also numerous parasites and disease vectors. Vampire bats dwell in the rainforest and can spread the rabies virus. Malaria, yellow fever, and Dengue fever can also be contracted in the Amazon region.
2. Congo Rainforest
The Congo rainforest is the second largest in the world and covers a total area of 1,780,000 km2. It is found in Central Africa and also has one of the longest rivers running from within it. The rainforest covers a bigger part of Northern Congo.
The Congo River is the world’s second largest river by volume, draining an area of 3.7 million square kilometers known as the Congo Basin. Nine countries; Angola, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Republic of the Congo, Burundi, Rwanda, Tanzania, Zambia have part of their territory in the Congo Basin.
They are conventionally six countries with extensive forest cover in the region, which are generally associated with the Congo rainforest: Cameroon, the Central African Republic, the Republic of Congo, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Equatorial Guinea, and Gabon. The Congo rainforest is also widely recognized for its high levels of biodiversity, characterized with more than 600 tree species and 10,000 animal species. Some of its most famous residents include forest elephants, gorillas, chimpanzees, okapi, and lions.
3. Valdivian Temperate Rainforest
This forest spreads over an area of about 248,100 km2, found in west coast of southern South America in Chile and Argentina. Angiosperm trees, bamboos, ferns, conifer trees, narrow coastal strips, ice sheets, glaciers, and a central valley highlight the forest. The temperature is usually humid due to heavy rains. It’s normally very foggy.
The rainforest is named after Valdivia, in Southern Chile and named after the city’s founder Pedro de Valdivia. The forest is famous for the endemic plants and 150 foot tall trees in addition to rare species of animals. Some of the old tree species are alerce and olivilo.
4. Daintree Rainforest
This tropical rainforest is found at the north east coast of Queensland in Australia, named after Richard Daintree. It covers around 2,600 km2. The area between Bloomfield River and Mossman Gorge is entirely covered by the forest and also has the Daintree National Park. Its main river is Daintree River.
The forest is home to some of the earliest plants on Earth, such as the Lycopsida and Psilotopsida. It contains the highest number of animals and plant species that are very rare to find.
5. Southeast Asian Rainforest
The forest is found in Asia covering Indonesia, Laos, Cambodia, and the Malay Peninsula. It once covered even a greater area in Asia but deforestation destroyed most regions of the rainforest. The forest is home to many rare birds, mammals, amphibians, and reptiles.
At one point there were 200 different species of trees in a hectare but the deforestation has put those species in danger. One interesting feature of the rainforest is the dominance of one family of trees, with numerous species of animals, such as Bengal Tiger, Dawn bat, king cobra, and proboscis monkey among others.
6. Tongass National Forest
It is the biggest national forest in the United States. It extends to an area of 17 million acres. It is home to rare and endangered species of fauna and flora. It covers the peaks of the Coast Mountains, fjords, glaciers, and islands of the Alexander Archipelago. Wildlife is abundant throughout iss with two main predators being wolf and brown bear. Marine mammals are also found along the shores.
7. Kinabalu National Park
Also known as Tama Kinabalu, it is found in west coast of Sabah, Malaysian Borneo. It was established in 1964 and the first national park of Malaysia. It is Malaysia’s first World Heritage Site. It is a home to more than 4,500 species of flora and fauna including 100 different species of mammals. Mount Kinabalu is the highest mountain on the island of Borneo, attracting many visitors and climbers to the park.
8. Santa Elena Cloud Forest Reserve
This a forest in the Costa Rican reserve found along Cordillera de Tilaran in Alajuela and Puntarenas provinces. It consists of about 26,000 acres of cloud forest. It’s also known as a “terrain of cloud forest.” The forest is covered with a lush garden of mosses, flowers, ferns and epiphytes on nearly every tree.
The forest consists of six ecological zones, over 2000 plant species, 80 species of mammals, 400 species of birds, about 100 amphibian and reptile species and thousands of insects.
9. Sinharaja Forest Reserve
The forest covers a total area of 8,864 square kilometers. The forest which is located at Sri Lakethe reserve is home to about 830 endemic species such as trees, insects, birds, reptile, mammals, and amphibians. It was declared a World Biosphere Reserve in 1978 by UNESCO. It has a dense vegetation hence it’s hard to see wildlife. Some of the wildlife found in this forest includes leopards and elephants.
10. Pacific Temperate Rainforest
It is found in North America along the western side of the Pacific Coast Ranges and it’s the largest temperate rainforest in the world. Its Eco regions are predominantly composed of conifers. Red woods trees dominate southern limit in northern California and they are the tallest, biggest and the longest living trees on earth.
It is estimated that most of the redwood trees have been in existence for more than 2,000 years, reaching heights as high as 90 meters. It also has different and numerous animal species including black bears, grizzly bears, endangered spotted owl, wolfs, sitka dear, and bald eagle.
11. Sundarbans Researve Forest
The Sundarbans Researve Forest is within the Bangladesh area and covers 40 percent of India. The entire land area covered by the forest is 10,000 km2. It is one of the natural mysteries of the word because of its location in the Padma, Brahmaputra, and Meghna river basins. Mangrove trees dominate the forest and it also serves as a habitat to the Bengal tiger.
12. Monteverade Forest
Located in Costa Rica, the forest is named after Monteverade and covers an area of more than 10,500 hectares. Tropical green vegetation covers most of the area with nearly 2,500 plant species, 120 amphibian and reptilian species, thousands of insects, 400 varieties of birds, and 100 different mammals.
The forest also has natural rivers, medicinal herbs, streams, and waterfalls and because of these natural resources it’s always referred to as “the virgin forest.”
13. Papua New Guinea
Papua rainforest is among those with the most diverse and unique animal and plant species on earth because of its dense mangrove trees. It is shared by two countries – Indonesia provinces of West Irian Jaya and Papua to the west and Papua New Guinea on the eastern side.
Two thirds of the plant and animal species in the forest are in New Guinea. The unique animals include carnivorous mice, giant pigeons, kangaroos with the ability to climb trees, and big rats. The forest also hosts the largest number of orchip species on the planet.
14. Sapo National Park Rainforest
Sapo National Park Rainforest is located in southwest Liberia, Sinoe County. It covers an area of 1,804 kilometers square and is the country’s largest protected area. It’s also the only national park. In terms of the area covered, it is the second largest in West Africa.
According to conservation international, it has the most numerous mammal species diversity of any area in the world and is regarded as an ecoregion since it’s located in Western Guinean lowland forests area. Animal species here include elephants, pygmy hippopotamus, african golden cat, african grey parrot, great blue turaco, monkeys, bee-eaters, sunbirds, crocodiles, and the endangered Diana monkey among many others.