Vol 4 The Rainforest ... Introduction ... What are rainforests?
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What are rainforests?

Rainforests are being destroyed at the rate of 1,000 acres per day!
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Rainforests occur in both temperate and tropical regions. Tropical rainforests occur in three major regions: Asia, Africa and in Central and South America. Most of the world's rainforests fall either side of the Equator between the Tropic of Capricorn and the Tropic of Cancer. Forests close to the Equator which receive year round drenchings are known as evergreen equatorial rainforests.

Tropical rainforests were first defined in the German language. The name 'tropische Regenwald' (which means 'tropical rainforest') was first used in 1898 by A Schimper, a German botanist.

Rain in these areas falls at a rate of between 160 and 400 inches a year; there is no winter, days and nights are equal in length and a consistently high temperature of around 80 degrees is maintained.

The further a rainforest is from the equator the greater are the changes in temperature and rainfall. Seasonal changes give rise to semi-deciduous rainforests in which most, and sometimes all of the trees lose their leaves during a dry season. There are even rainforests in temperate regions, particularly the Pacific northwest of the USA and Canada.

Tropical 'moist' forests are called monsoon forests in South East Asia. Although extremely rich in wildlife and vegetation they do, however, contain fewer animal and plant species than the evergreen equatorial rainforests. There is no clear line of demarcation between equatorial evergreen forests and the tropical moist forests, as they blend one into the other without noticeable change, although trees tend to be smaller in stature in moist tropical forests.






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