Wednesday, August 12, 2020 Edition: U.S. & World | Regional

7 of the World’s Greatest Rainforests

When you think of rainforests, you may imagine steamy, faraway jungles but that’s not always the case. Rainforests are not limited to hot climates and there may very well be one closer to you than you think. If you want to explore the beauty of nature in its rawest form, there are no better places to fulfill your dreams. If you have never experienced the wonders of being surrounded by dense fauna, tall trees, and creatures who stir in the night, you’re really missing out.

Here are some of the largest rain forests around the world:
1    Amazon Rainforest

The Amazon Rainforest is perhaps the most widely recognized. It runs through Brazil, Peru, Colombia, Venezuela, Ecuador, Bolivia, Guyana, Suriname, and French Guiana and covers over 2 million square miles. Roughly 60% of the forest is situated in Brazil. This particular rainforest is estimated to contain over 390-billion individual trees and 16,000 different species. There are 2.5-million species of insects, 2000 species of mammals and birds, and thousands upon thousands of plant varieties. Jaguars, cougars, and anacondas are fairly prevalent.

In the Amazon River electric eels capable of stunning or killing a human patrol the waters along with razor-fanged piranha. Poison dart frogs found in the jungle can produce toxins through their skin and vampire bats fly around hungry at night. Malaria, yellow fever, and dengue can be contracted in the jungles.

Exploring the Amazon Rainforest should only be done with an accomplished guide and you don’t have to go that deep into it to enjoy the nature that’s relatively safe around its outer edges. If you wish to experience it via an Amazon River tour, stay in the boat.
Amazon Rainforest
2    Congo Rainforest

Though roughly a quarter of the size of the Amazon Rainforest, the Congo Rainforest is the second largest in the world. It’s located in Central Africa and covers the largest majority of the Northern Congo which includes portions of Angola, Cameroon, Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Republic of the Congo, Burundi, Rwanda, Tanzania, and Zambia.

The Congo River which is the world largest by volume runs through the center of the forest. This rainforest is well-known for its incredible biodiversity, hosting over 600 species of trees and 10,000 species of animals.

Some of the more recognizable animals include forest elephants, chimpanzees, gorillas, lions, and okapi. Needless to say. You’ll need a guide.
Congo Rainforest
3    Valdivian Temperate Rainforest

This one is located on the west coast of southern South America in Chile and Argentina. It’s normally very foggy and humid which is ideal for Angiosperm trees, bamboos, ferns, and conifer trees. Narrow coastal strips, ice sheets, glaciers, and a central valley are all parts of the forests many spellbinding wonders.

Certain trees soar to heights of 150 feet and endemic plants abound. Not as well-known for dangerous creatures who go bump in the night, many areas of this rainforest can be enjoyed without the benefit of a guide though caution should always be exercised.
Valdivian Temperate Rainforest
4    Daintree Rainforest

With the Daintree River running through it, the Daintree Rainforest can be found on the northeast coast of Queensland in Australia, and also includes Daintree National Park. At one time there were over 200 different species of trees but unfortunately, this is a case of deforestation claiming what should have been left alone. Even so, two of the oldest plants known to humankind, the Lycopsida and Psilotopsida, can be found here.

The Daintree Rainforest is known to contain the largest consolidation of rare birds and animals found anywhere on the planet.
Daintree Rainforest
5    Southeast Asian Rainforest

This one runs through Indonesia, Laos, Cambodia, and the Malay Peninsula. It once ran through larger portions of Asia but deforestation has drastically reduced its size, destroying many of its regions. The Southeast Asian Rainforest is home to a huge variety of rare birds, reptiles, amphibians, and mammals.

Some of the forest’s better-known creatures are Bengal tigers, dawn bats, king cobras, and the proboscis monkey. Many species of trees have been wiped out but more than enough remain to make this an incredible rainforest which still ranks as one of the world’s best.
Southeast Asian Rainforest
6    Tongass National Forest

Tongass National Forest is located right here in the U.S.A., it is America’s largest national forest, covering some 17-million acres. It’s in Southeast Alaska and its location is plenty remote enough to support all sorts of varieties of rare and endangered animals, flora, and fauna.

Brown bears, fox, beavers, otters, wolves, bald eagles, salmon spawning upstream, and the most incredible views a person could ever experience are all waiting to be explored. It covers the peaks of the Coast Mountains, fjords, glaciers, and islands of the Alexander Archipelago. Along the shorelines, you can spot humpback and orca whales.
Tongass National Forest
7    Kinabalu National Park

You’ll need to visit the west coast of Sabah, Malaysian Borneo to experience this one. It was established in 1964 and became Malaysia’s very first national park and their first World Heritage Site. Over 4,500 varieties of flora and fauna grow in the forest and over 100 species of animals call it home.

The highest mountain on Borneo, Mt. Kinabalu, attracts thousands of annual climbers but their activity has little impact on the integrity of the forest. The park is free to explore and it’s safe enough to not need a guide unless becoming lost is of concern.
Kinabalu National Park
Rainforest’s cover only 2% of our planets total surface yet they provide over 50% of the Earth’s plants and animals. They help regulate weather and temperature and are vital to the world’s ecosystem.

Efforts to protect these vital resources are underway by environmental groups and agencies around the world, but deforestation and climate change are ongoing threats to these treasures. Hopefully, these forests will remain intact for another couple of decades so we can all literally breathe a little easier. So, if you’ve never been to one, now might be a good time to go.


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