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Tropical rainforests

Tropical rainforests have heavy rainfall, high humidity and lush vegetation. Watch the video to find out more.


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Key points

  • Tropical rainforests are found in hot, humid environments either side of the equator.
  • They contain the most diverse range and highest volume of plant and animal life anywhere on earth.
  • The dense vegetation is typically in four levels; the shrub layer, the under canopy, the canopy and emergents.
  • The rainforest is very humid. As it heats up, water from the plants and trees evaporates into the atmosphere forming clouds to make the next day's rain. This is called convectional rainfall.
  • Dead plant material decomposes on the forest floor, providing nutrients for plant roots. However, because these nutrients are in very high demand they do not stay in the soil long. This means if the rainforest gets cleared for agriculture, it will make bad farmland.

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Ecosystems - the living world index

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