Southeast Asia Rainforest Facts

Written by jenny molberg
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Introduction
  • Introduction

    Southeast Asia Rainforest Facts

    As of 2010, Southeast Asia is home to the fastest-disappearing equatorial rainforests. These rainforests are also the oldest rainforests on Earth---about 70 million years old. Southeast Asia is a string of islands between mainland Asia and Australia and is always humid and warm, but the rainforests are quickly becoming obsolete.

    The rainforests of Southeast Asia are quickly disappearing. (rainforest image by Aleksander from Fotolia.com)

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    Climate

    The Southeast Asian rainforests are in a tropical wet climate that experiences two monsoon seasons a year---from October to February and from April to August. The rainforests get a median 79 inches of rain each year. There is very little change in temperature all year---it always stays around 26.7 degrees C in Southeast Asia, with higher temperatures in the rainforest. There is often rain in the afternoons in the rainforests.

    There are two monsoon seasons in the Southeast Asian rainforests. (rain drops 2 image by Stanislav Halcin from Fotolia.com)

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    Flora

    The flora in the Southeast Asian rainforests is broadleaved evergreen. As with many other rainforests, epiphytes such as orchids or ferns grow on trees. Many species thrive in the shade, growing underneath the rainforest's canopy. Plants and animals quickly decompose in the rainforests by fungi and insects, and many of the soil's nutrients remain shallow. The roots of trees aren't able to grow very deep and have adapted by growing in other directions. The trees and plants of the Southeast Asian rainforests are home to many different species such as bats, bees, wasps and other mammals and birds.

    The Southeast Asian rainforests are home to many orchids. (orchid image by Earl Robbins from Fotolia.com)

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    Fauna

    There are many species living in the Southeast Asian rainforests, and a lot that are on the verge of extinction. These include species such as the Sumatran rhinoceros, the Sumatran tiger, the white-handed gibbon, the orang-utan and the Malayan tipir.

    The orang-utan, a resident of the Southeast Asian rainforests, is an endangered species. (orang-utan image by PETER LAKOMY from Fotolia.com)

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    People of the Southeast Asian Rainforests

    Today few of the original inhabitants of the rainforest remain. These people are Australoids that live mostly in remote areas of Borneo, the Philippines, New Guinea and the Malay. Few of them continue to live their traditional way of life, but many of them continue their indigenous religions that appreciate the spiritual interaction of animals and humans. Because of industry and immigration, many of the tribal people have been relocated.

    The original inhabitants of the Southeast Asian rainforest have been largely displaced because of rainforest destruction and immigration. (halong bay, Vietnam image by JJAVA from Fotolia.com)

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    Rainforest Destruction

    Many of the flora and fauna of the Southeast Asian rainforests are becoming extinct because of human destruction of their natural habitat. Logging, dams, mining, industry, poaching, ranching and agriculture have destroyed much of the Southeast Asian rainforest. Indonesia, the Philippines, Malaysia and Papua New Guinea exported large quantities of timber to Japan that resulted in the clearing of a lot of rainforest area. The rainforests have also been threatened by changes in climate, such as the 1998 El Nino, which caused a decrease in rainfall.

    Because of logging, pollution, construction and industry, much of the Southeast Asian rainforest land has been destroyed. (rainforest image by Egor Ukoloff from Fotolia.com)

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