The dynamic variety of species in the rainforests is called biodiversity. Fossils show that rainforests have been around for 70 million years. Rainforest species survive by adapting in unique ways to their special habitats and to each other. Each species of plant and animal in the forest is connected to every other species in a complex web of life. This community of animals and plants is called an ecosystem.
Tropical rainforests circle the world near the Earth’s equator, where sunlight and rainfall concentrate. Rainforests grow on four continents: South America, Africa, Asia and Australia. More than half the world’s rainforest are located in three countries on three continents: Brazil in South America, Democratic Republic of the Congo in Africa, and Indonesia in Asia. South America has the largest area of rainforest in the world.
Rainforests are alive with plants, insects, birds, and other animals from the tops of the trees to the moist soil surrounding the roots. Like tall buildings, rainforests have something different happening on every floor.
We help to protect the green, oxygen-rich rainforests because we understand they are the lungs, or the “breathing capacity” of the planet, and therefore critical to the survival of the web of life that supports all inhabitants of planet Earth.
Year after year, new species of plants and animals are discovered in rainforests. Indigenous cultures that have lived harmoniously within the confines of the rainforest for thousands of years - some of whom have never been contacted by civilization - continue to be discovered as well. As we work together to expand the areas where it is illegal for the large-scale harvesting of lumber and mining of minerals to take place, we help protect these plants, animals and people.