Published Online: 15 JUL 2005
Copyright © 2005 by John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
How to Cite
Conti, A. 2005. Rain Forests. Water Encyclopedia. 4:239–240.
- Published Online: 15 JUL 2005
Rain forests are, by definition, those forests that receive more than 2500 mm of rain each year. Rain forests are characterized by very dense vegetation dominated by tall trees and huge biodiversity. Rain forests exist in many parts of the planet, but most of them are along the equator, where the weather is stable throughout the year and there is never a dry season. Rain forests do not have seasons at all. The amount of rain is almost constant during the year, and the temperature seldom dips below 16°C. Rain forests cover 7% of the earth's land surface and 2% of its total surface, but are home to more than half of all animal and plant species. Despite the fact that rain forests cover less than 10% of the earth, they support a third of its plant matter. The largest tropical rain forest in the world is the Amazon Rain Forest, which lies in the countries of Brazil, Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, and Colombia. There are rain forests in Africa, mainly in the Congo, and in Oceania.