Tropical rainforests are forests mostly found close to the equator. Tropical rain forests are highly common in Africa, Asia, Central America, South America and on many Pacific Islands. Within the classification scheme of World Wide Fund’s biome, these forests are identified as a kind of tropical wet forest or tropical moist broadleaf forest and can also be denoted as lowland equatorial evergreen forests.
Characteristics of Tropical Rainforests
- Tropical Rainforests are marked by high rainfall which is approximately 50 to 260 inches or 125 to 660 cm rainfall every year.
- The topical forests do not consist of the most unusual plants or largest plants but they do comprise of different types of plants which are available nowhere else in the world. The types of animals mainly insects are even more diverse.
- The tropical rain forests are made up of three layers:
- The Canopy – the canopy layer is constituted by large trees which form a continuous and tight layer over the ground. The canopy houses 90% of the organisms in the rainforest.
- The Understory – this layer is relatively open and dark and it consists of shrubs and smaller trees.
- The Forest Floor – the forest floor does not receive much sunlight since it is at the bottom, therefore not many plants are found here. The plants which are found are the one’s which are adapted to low level of light.
- Soils in tropical rainforests are very infertile and poor. Due to years of weathering the nutrients of the soil have washed out. In spite of the vegetation in the rainforest there is less organic matter as compared to the temperate forests. This is due to the warm humid conditions that encourage fast decay and recycle of nutrients back to the living forests.
Human Uses of Tropical Rainforests
At present, tropical rainforests support only sparse population of human beings. It’s because of the fact that food resources in these forests are extremely dispersed. But still tribes of people live deep within some forests.
Pharmaceutical and biodiversity resource
Tropical rainforests are termed as the “largest pharmacy of the world” due to the large amounts of natural medicines found here. To mention, rainforests consist of the basic ingredients of cocaine, hormonal contraception methods, tranquilizing drugs and stimulants.
The largest economic value of tropical rainforests is in the field of tourism. These tropical rainforests attract tourists from all over the globe.
Not only these there are many other aspects of tropical rainforests which benefit human beings and they cannot be summarized here.