RAINFOREST DIVERSITY - ORIGINS AND IMPLICATIONS
By Rhett Butler | Last updated July 27, 2006
Tropical rainforests support the greatest diversity of living organisms on Earth.
Although they cover less than 2 percent of Earth's surface,
they house an estimated 50 percent of all life on the planet. The immense
numbers of creatures that inhabit the tropical rainforests are so great--an estimated 5-50 million species--they are almost
incomprehensible. The sheer range of numbers alone suggests the limited
extent of our knowledge of these forests. For example, whereas temperate
forests are often dominated by a half dozen tree species or
fewer that make up 90 percent of the trees in
the forest, a tropical rainforest may have more than 480 tree species
in a single hectare (2.5 acres). A single bush in the Amazon may have
more species of ants than the entire British Isles. This diversity of
rainforests is not a haphazard event, but is the result of a series
of unique circumstances.
Portraits of Diversity
Countries with the Highest Biodiversity
What is biodiversity?
Biodiversity -- short for biological diversity -- is the the number and types of organisms in an ecosystem, region or environment,
- Most of the plant and animal species live in what level of the rainforest?
- What are epiphytes?
- What is an example of an epiphyte? (Hint: think of a popular kind of flower)
- What are lianas?
- What is a symbiotic relationship?
- What is a keystone species?
- Why are agoutis important in the rainforest ecosystem?
Other versions of this page
print version | spanish | french | portuguese
| chinese | japanese
Continued / Next:
Other pages in this section: