WHY DO RAINFORESTS HAVE SO MANY KINDS OF PLANTS AND ANIMALS? Tropical rainforests support the greatest diversity of living organisms on Earth. Although they cover less than 2 percent of Earthвs surface, rainforests house more than 50 percent of the plants and animals on Earth. Rainforests have 170,000 of the worldвs 250,000 known plant species. the United States has 81 species of frogs, while Madagascar, which is smaller than Texas, may have 500 species. An area of rainforest the size of two football fields (one hectare) may have more than 400 species of trees, while an equal area of forest in the United States may have fewer than 20. Europe has 570 butterfly species, while Manu National Park, a single reserve in Peru, has 1,300 species.
Climate: because rainforests are located in tropical regions, they receive a lot of sunlight. The sunlight is converted to energy by plants through the process of photosynthesis. Since there is a lot of sunlight, there is a lot of energy in the rainforest. This energy is stored in plant vegetation, which is eaten by animals. The abundance of energy supports an abundance of plant and animal species. : the canopy structure of the rainforest provides an abundance of places for plants to grow and animals to live. The canopy offers sources of food, shelter, and hiding places, providing for interaction between different species. For example, there are plants in the canopy called bromeliads that store water in their leaves.
Frogs and other animals use these pockets of water for hunting and laying their eggs. It is important to note that many species in the rainforest, especially insects and fungi, have not even been discovered yet by scientists. Every year new species of mammals, birds, frogs, and reptiles are found in rainforests. Special activity section:
The sloth is a slow-moving mammal that lives in trees. Sloths spend most of their lives hanging upside-down from tree branches; they eat, sleep, mate, and give birth upside-down in the trees. They hold onto tree branches with strong, curved claws that are on each of their four feet. These plant-eaters are more active at night; they eat leaves, tender young shoots, and fruit.
Sloths have a thick brown (and slightly-greenish) fur coat and are about the size of a cat (roughly 2 feet = 61 cm long). Their coloration and their slow actions make them almost disappear in the forest canopy. Some sloths have colonies of green algae encrusting their fur, both adding to the camouflage effect and providing some nutrients to the sloths, who lick the algae. These mostly-quiet mammals live in the tropical rainforests of South and Central America. Sloths may live 10-20 years in the wild. Sloths are hunted by jaguars, eagles, and man. Classification: Class Mammalia, Order Xenarthra, Family Bradypodidae and Megalonychidae.