WHERE IN THE WORLD
Over half of the world’s rainforests are
in South and Central America. The
remainder can be found in parts of
Africa, Asia and Australia. Almost all
rainforests lie between two imaginary
lines north and south of the equator,
called the ftopic of Cancer and the
fropic of Capricorn. This is why they
are often called tropical rainforests.
It has been hot and wet in the tropics
for millions of years. These constant
conditions have made it possible for
rainforests to develop into the most
diverse and complex environments
in the world. Some scientists
rainforest, each with its own variety of
plant and animal life.
Rainforests once formed a wide,
green belt around the planet but today
pictures taken from space tell a
different story. All around the world
large areas of rainforest are vanishing
as people clear the way for crops,
homes and businesses. Many species
of wildlife are disappearing too.
► In the tropics, the only change in weather
conditions is from wet to wetter during the
rainy season. This means that rainforest trees do
not need to flower in spring or shed their leaves
cycl^ The varying tree cycles guarantee a
regular supply of flowers, fruits, nuts and seeds
for rainforest creatures.
▼ The largest rainforest in the world stretches
across the Amazon Basin in South America. It
covers an area nearly as big as Australia. The
Amazon River snakes through the rainforest. It
is the largest river system in the world. During
the rainy season, parts of the rainforest are
flooded by the Amazon and fish swim among the
giant tree trunks.