Article: What is a rainforest? Print

rainforests-300A rainforest is a forest near the equator (the invisible line that runs around the fattest part of the planet) that gets a lot of rain. The equator doesn’t have seasons, because is doesn’t tilt toward or away from the sun, like the north and south parts of the Earth do. The equator is warm (more than 60 degrees Fahrenheit /16 degrees Celsius) all year round. Around 400 inches (1,016 centimeters) of rain fall on the average throughout the year. There are rainforests in South and Central America, as well as in Africa, Asia and Australia.

This combination of warmth and rain is exactly what plants need, so the trees can grow big and tall. The canopy (the leafy roof) of a rainforest can reach 150 feet (64 meters) high. Some extra-tall trees grow higher than the canopy — up to 250 feet (76 meters). Lower down, where less sun can reach, there is less green, but more types of plants and animals than any other place on Earth.

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