Rainforest Facts

Sumatran Rainforest. Source: D. Gilbert, RAN

A typical four square mile patch of tropical rainforest contains as many as 1,500 flowering plants, 750 species of trees, 400 species of birds and 150 species of butterflies.

Rainforests receive more than eight feet of rain per year!

One-third of the world’s oxygen is made by rainforest trees and plants.

Rainforests are important to world weather patterns because they help form rainclouds and regulate temperatures.

One out of four ingredients in medicine come from plants.

The U.S. National Cancer Institute has identified 2000 plants that are active against cancer cells. Seventy percent of these plants are found only in the rainforest.

Zapara People of Ecuador. Source: RAN

In the Brazilian Amazon, 165 Indigenous communities protect 8.5 million acres of rainforest. That’s because they have the legal rights to the land. Unfortunately, a quarter of this land is threatened by illegal logging, mining, oil drilling, dams and large scale agriculture, like soy cultivation.

Paleontologists estimate that rainforest ecosystems are estimated to be more than 70 million years old.

Many of our favorite foods come from the rainforest: coconuts, coffee, bananas, pineapples, mangos, sugarcane, cayenne, chocolate, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, cashews, and cocoa..

Deforestation in Indonesia. Source: D. Gilbert, RAN

Rainforests are threatened by unsustainable agricultural, ranching, mining and logging practices.

Originally, about six million square miles of tropical rainforest existed worldwide. But as a result of deforestation, only 2.6 million square miles remain.

The Komodo Dragon is the biggest lizard in the world! They can grow up to ten feet long, and weigh about 300 pounds. Komodo Dragons live in the tropical forest island of Flores in eastern Indonesia.

Toucan. Source: Wikispaces

Sumatran Tigers have webbed paws, and they love to swim.

Until recently, scientists didn’t know why toucans had such large, bright beaks. Now, they hypothesize these beaks might serve as a type of  ‘air conditioner’ in the hot jungle.

Please see our bibliography for our primary and secondary fact sources.