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Rainforest ecosystems for kids

Updated April 17, 2017

An ecosystem comprise all of the living and nonliving things in an area that interact. Soil, rainfall, lakes, plants and animals are all part of an ecosystem. The tropical rainforest is a complicated system of plants, animals and geography that depends on heavy rainfall and sunlight to continue. Rainforest ecosystems are becoming smaller every day through deforestation for farming, building, logging and cattle ranching.

Geography

Rainforests are found in the region between the Tropic of Capricorn and the Tropic of Cancer. This tropical section of the earth, or geological region, receives the most sunlight. It is close to the equator, which is the imaginary line that divides the earth into two halves called the Northern and Southern Hemispheres. The tropical region receives a lot of solar energy from the sun, which makes it between 22.2 and 33.9 degrees Celsius (72 and 93 degrees Fahrenheit) all year long.

Precipitation

Precipitation occurs when clouds form water and drop it onto the earth. Precipitation can come in many ways, such as rain, snow or hail. Since tropical rainforests are warm all year, precipitation only comes in the form of rain. It can rain from 200 to 1,075 cm (80 to 430 inches) a year in a rainforest. The high rainfall causes the forests to be very humid, which means that there is a lot water vapour in the air. The amount of rain and sunlight in the tropical region allows trees and plants grow in every season.

Layers

The rainforest is separated into layers, which describe the different sections of rainforest life from the forest floor to the treetops. The three main layers are the forest floor, the canopy and the overstory. The forest floor is shaded by the canopy and is home to many animals. It is where dead leaves and plants decompose, or break down. Above the forest floor is the canopy, or treetops. It is home to about 70 to 90 per cent of rainforest life, like birds and monkeys. The overstory is the area above the canopy, which is made up of the tallest trees.

Biodiversity

Biodiversity means the number and type of all the different species of plants, animals and insects in an area. Tropical rainforests have a lot of biodiversity, since they are home to about 50 per cent of all life on the earth. There are millions of species in the rainforest, many of them still undiscovered. Animals like sloths, jaguars and anteaters live in tropical rainforest. There are also many species of parrots, predatory birds and owls. Insects are everywhere in the rainforest, and one square mile of rainforest may have more than 50,000 insect species, such as beetles and butterflies.

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About the Author

Residing in Bristol, Va., Mitchell Land began writing for various websites in 2010. He worked as a writing center tutor at Baylor School for three years, where he also contributed music reviews to "Baylor Notes." He attends Greensboro College in North Carolina and studies theater and French.