The 10 Largest Rainforests In The World
Rainforests are often immense and diverse ecosystems filled with a massive array of life as the warmth, high rainfall and vegetation all provide an aspect to the life and nature of these spectacular places.
Here, we go around the world to take a look at the largest of these rainforests and what they hide amongst their lush greenery.
10. Pacific Temperate Forests - North America
Running down the North West Coast of North America through both the USA and Canada, it is the largest temperate rainforest as delineated by the World Wildlife Fund (other definitions do exist) and roll along the Pacific coastal ranges of North America which opens it up to an immense array of wildlife due to the proximity of the ocean as well.
A subregion of the Cascadia bioregion, its forests are predominantly populated by conifers but also features broadleaf trees, ferns, and shrubs.
9. Sinharaja Forest Reserve - Sri Lanka
A national park in Sri Lanka, it is recognized as a Biosphere Reserve and World Heritage Site by UNESCO due to its importance to the global state of the environment. Its vegetation is extremely dense and thick, and thus it is hard to see much of the wildlife that resides within it.
That said, things like elephants and leopards exist amongst the brambles and bushes that entwine the trees and forest floor.
8. Santa Elena Cloud Reserve - Costa Rica
Consisting of over 2,500 plant species (including the most orchid species in a single place), 100 species of mammals, 400 bird species, 120 reptilian and amphibian species, and thousands of insects this reserve is high up in the hills of Monteverde (meaning green mountain) and shows the true diversity of rainforests.
The high level of the region means that the trees are under an almost constant layer of cloud which, in turn, provides a constant moisture for the flora and fauna that live there.
7. Kinabalu National Park - Malaysia
Established in 1964 it is Malaysia's first National Park as well as being its first World Heritage Site. It has over 4,500 species of flora and fauna within its limits, but its most impressive claim is the 110 species of land snail within the forest.
Surrounding Mount Kinabalu, the park is 754 square miles of tropical vegetation on the island of Borneo.
6. Tongass National Forest - USA
The largest national forest in the USA sits on the South-Eastern tip of Alaska where it encompasses the islands of the Alexander Archipelago, fjords, glaciers and peaks of the Coast Mountains as well as being home to many endangered species of flora and fauna.
17 million acres in size, it is immense, beautiful and mysterious.
5. Southeast Asian Rainforest - Southeast Asia
The oldest consistent rainforests on Earth, they were once thought to be the most ecologically diverse places on Earth with around 200 different species of tree within a hectare, but due to logging and pollution, this is no longer the case.
Home to many rare birds, mammals, amphibians, and reptiles, deforestation now threatens many of these species.
4. Daintree Rainforest - Australia
This tropical rainforest can be found on the North East coast of Queensland. Covering some 2,600 square kilometers, it is home to some of the earliest known species of plant-life making it extremely important to global conservation and natural history.
Along the coastline north of the Daintree River, tropical rainforest grows right down to the edge of the sea, and it is the largest continuous rainforest on the continent of Australia.
3. Valdivian Temperate Rainforest - Argentina & Chile
Angiosperm trees, bamboos, conifer trees, narrow coastal strips, ice sheets, glaciers and a central valley highlight the forest and its range of biodiversity which stretches around 248,100 square kilometers. Typically very foggy, the forest is protected by several conservation groups and is usually very humid due to heavy rains.
Part of the Neotropic ecozone, the forests are under threat from extensive logging.
2. Congolian Forests - Central Africa
A broad belt of lowland tropical moist broadleaf forest ecoregion, these forests extends across the basin of the Congo River and its tributaries meaning that it has one of the largest rivers to run within a rainforest.
Hunting has put a lot of the species that live in these forests at risk, but other parts remain largely safe for the wildlife that lives there.
1. Amazon Rainforest - South America
A moist broadleaf forest that covers most of the Amazon basin of South America, parts of it cover Brazil, Peru, Suriname, Colombia, Venezuela, Ecuador, Bolivia, Guyana and French Guiana. Covering 5,500,000 square kilometers, it is the largest and most biodiverse rainforest on the planet, and due to its combatting of carbon dioxide and in the atmosphere and oxygen production, it is often referred to as 'the lungs of the planet'.
With an estimated 390 billion individual trees divided into 16,000 species, it represents over half of Earth's remaining rainforests.