World Rainforest Day was created in 2017 by Rainforest Partnership, World Rainforest Day celebrates the importance of healthy rainforests for climate, biodiversity, culture, and livelihoods!
Let’s start with the basics, what are rainforests? They are beautifully dense forest ecosystems that have high levels of humidity and rainfall (hence the name!). They are found in warm, tropical regions and are known for their rich biodiversity and services to our planet! There are several major rainforest regions, the most famous of course, being the Amazon Rainforest. Others include the Congo Basin Rainforest, the Madagascar Rainforest, and the West African Rainforest.
Here are some of the key features and characteristics of rainforests, and why they are so important:
Rainforests are home to an incredible amount of plant and animal species. About half of the world’s known plant and animal species live in the rainforest. They provide safe habitats for numerous animals including jaguars, orangutang, toucans, and poison dart frogs!
Climate and Rainfall
Rainforests receive between 150 to 1000cm of rainfall annually – to put that into context, in the UK we receive between 80-140cm per year, and we are considered a rainy country! This consistent rainfall isn’t a bad thing though, it helps the growth of diverse plant species which in turn supports all the animals and insects that live there.
Rainforests play a vital role in regulating the Earth’s climate – they can absorb huge amounts of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere through a process called photosynthesis (bet this takes you back to your school days). This carbon is then stored in the trees, plants, and soil for hundreds of years. The more carbon there is stored in our rainforests, the less in our atmosphere.
Finally, our rainforests are not only home to plants and animals, but indigenous communities too. Rainforests are home to millions of people who represent knowledge, tradition, and cultural diversity! However, human activities such as deforestation, clearing land for agriculture and development for infrastructure are just a few reasons as to why our rainforests have been in decline. Addressing the decline of these vital rainforests require a combination of conservation efforts, sustainable land management and international cooperation. Together we can raise awareness about the importance of rainforests, and the crucial steps requirement in protecting these invaluable ecosystems!