Climate Change Life on Land Life in the Water Protecting Wildlife Space
Rainforest facts for kids

5 Stunning Rainforest Facts For Kids

June 22, 2022 - Martina Igini

Happy World Rainforest Day! On this day, we celebrate the importance of tropical rainforests. From providing the habitat to millions of plants and animal species to influencing weather patterns and ensuring that our air is clean, here are 5 stunning rainforest facts for kids to learn. 

5 Rainforest Facts for Kids

1. Rainforests Take Their Name from the Abundant Rainfall They Experience

Rainforests experience between 200 to 1,000 centimetres (79 to 394 inches) of rain every year. However, rain is not the only factor that influences the climate in these areas. Plants also have a self-watering mechanism: they release water into the atmosphere through a process known as transpiration. The moisture they generate helps create a thick cloud cover that hangs over the forest, guaranteeing constant humid and warm conditions even when it’s not raining.

2. The Amazon Rainforest is More than Half the Size of the US

Spread across nine countries in South America – including Brazil, Peru, and Colombia – for a total of 2.3 million square miles (6 million square kilometres), the Amazon Rainforest is by far the largest rainforest in the world. In fact, it is three times bigger than the next-largest rainforest, the Congo Basin.

3. Rainforests are Home to Half of the World’s Plant and Animal Species

Rainforests cover just about 2% of the planet’s total surface area. Yet, they are home to millions of animal and plant species. The Amazon rainforest alone includes at least 10% of the Earth’s total biodiversity, including around 40,000 plant species, nearly 1,300 birds, 3,000 types of fish, more than 400 species of mammals, and a staggering 2.5 million different insects.

4. Deforestation Contributes Nearly 5 Billion Tonnes of Carbon Dioxide A Year

The equivalent of 10% of annual human emissions is a direct result of deforestation. Besides oceans, rainforests are considered the world’s largest carbon sinks for their capacity to absorb more carbon from the atmosphere than they release through a process known as photosynthesis. However, as a result of climate change and human activities such as logging and cattle ranging, rainforests are shrinking and thus losing their power to absorb carbon. The 

Amazon rainforest, the world’s most important carbon sink, is now emitting a greater amount of carbon dioxide than it is absorbing, nearly one billion tonnes a year, equivalent to the annual emissions of Japan.

5. An Average of 137 Species of Plants and Animals are Driven Into Extinction Every Day in the World’s Tropical Rainforests

Deforestation and increasing wildfire events are destroying more natural habitats every day, threatening the survival of many important and rare species. Human activities are further shrinking tropical rainforests, contributing to the loss of millions of hectares every year. As trees are cut down, animals lose their habitat and struggle to survive. In the Amazon alone, over 10,000 species are threatened with extinction

Check This Out Next: 3 Facts About Deforestation for Kids 

About the Author

Martina Igini

Martina is an environmental journalist based in Hong Kong. She holds two Bachelor's degrees, one in Journalism and one in Translation and Interpreting Studies as well as a Master's degree in International Development. Passionate about writing and languages, her interests include sustainability and the role of public policy in environmental protection, especially in developing countries. She has extensive experience working as a journalist and in 2020, she joined the outreach team of the United Nations Global Communication Department. She currently works for Earth.Org and is the website's main writer and editor.