Rainforest Facts: Tree Canopy
Did you know that in the rainforest, the trees are sometimes so tightly packed together that rain can take ten minutes to reach the ground? This is just the beginning of all the fun rainforest facts for kids in this slideshow!
Rainforest trees are generally quite tall, and the leaves of several trees mix with each other at the top creating what is called the 'canopy'. Like a canopy on a bed covers the whole bed, this canopy of leaves covers the whole rainforest. Rain has to trickle down through the canopy one drop at a time.
South America has a lot of rainforests, which is an important rainforest fact for kids. Did you know that in the rainforests of South America there are more than 2,000 species of butterflies?! Would you like to go there to see them?
New Type of Frog
Have you ever seen a red frog before? What about a flying frog? In the rainforests of Asia, there are several animals that fly that we wouldn't normally think of as flying animals. In Asia there are not only flying frogs, but also flying snakes and flying squirrels!
Medicines from the Rainforest
One reason why it's important to preserve the world's rainforests is because so many of our modern medicines contain ingredients from the rainforests.
Did you know that 70% of the plants that are used in medications for cancer are plants that only grow in the rainforests? That means that if these plants die out, these cancer medications will no longer be available.
Remember that 70% of cancer medicine plants are from the rainforest? Consider this:
Only ONE percent (1%) of the plant species of the tropical rainforests have been tested for their possible medical benefits. Can you imagine how many new medicines could be made if more of these exotic plant species were tested to see if they can help cure medical problems?
It could be that valuable medicines for cancers, heart disease and AIDS are hidden away in all those exotic species of plants.
Have you ever been to a football game in person? Remember how huge the football field is and how long it takes to walk around it?
Every second, a football-field-sized piece of the rainforest is cut down. That's 60 football fields a minute, and 3,600 football fields an hour!
Several conservation groups are trying to limit destruction to the world's rainforests, but the rainforests are still disappearing at an alarming rate.
As the rainforests disappear, the number of native peoples who can survive in the rainforests is also declining. For example, in the South American Amazon, the population of native people has fallen from more than six million to only a few hundred thousand. This woman is one of the remaining Amazon natives.
In addition to the amount of native peoples who are still able to survive in the world's rainforests going down, there are also fewer and fewer animal species who can survive in the rainforests. Every year, plant and animal species go extinct in the rainforest, upsetting the natural cycle of life in the rainforest. Scientists estimate that 5-10 percent of species in the rainforest go extinct every 10 years.
Everything on this planet needs fresh water in order to survive. It's interesting to know that 1/5 (20%) of Earth's fresh water is found in the Amazon Basin of Brazil!
Preserving the Rainforest
If you've enjoyed these rainforest facts for kids and would like to learn more about the rainforest, ask an adult to help you find some books at the library to learn more about the rainforest. The rainforest is a fascinating and beautiful place, and it's on its way to disappearing if we don't stop destroying it.
You can also find out more about the rainforest's weather and how the water cycle of the Earth works by doing some fun science activities. Learning how things work is the first step to making sure that they keep working that way for years and years to come.