Places of Interest in the Tropical Rainforest

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Tropical rainforests are full of life.
Tropical rainforests are full of life. (Image: rainforest image by Egor Ukoloff from Fotolia.com)

A tropical rainforest is very biodiverse, or full of different species of plants, animals and insects. Trips into a tropical rainforest are always exciting as there are always things to see in an area of the world that hosts the most life forms. Specific parts of the rainforest are more noticeably active than others. Many countries have rainforests, including Peru, Panama, Belize, Thailand, Malaysia and Brazil.

Canopy

The canopy, or tops of the trees, of the rainforest is very active. According to Mongabay.com, over 70% of all life in the rainforest lives in the canopy. The canopy can be hundreds of feet above the forest floor, and is home to birds, insects, monkeys and other animals. Until fairly recently, it has been very difficult for non-natives to access the canopy because it is so far above the ground. Now, many tourists and scientists use canopy walks, or bridges that span between trees, to walk in the canopy and view the many animals and insects that live in the trees of the rainforest.

Forest Floor

The forest floor hosts relatively few species of plants and animals compared to the canopy layer, but it is nonetheless a fabulous place to explore. The forest floor of a primary tropical rainforest, or a rainforest that has not been cut down and regrown recently, is generally clear of vegetation and quite dark, as all light is obscured by the canopy layer. The darkness is a reason why so many species of animals and insects live in the canopy, that is so they can get more sun. The forest floor is home to many types of fungi and mold, as well as beetles and other insects that decompose dead plant and animal matter, such as rotten tree trunks or dead animal carcasses. The moist, dark environment allows these species to thrive on the forest floor. Many animals that live in the canopy, such as larger monkeys, sloths and even cats, such as leopards, will use the forest floor to travel short distances or stalk prey.

Indigenous Villages

People have lived in the rainforests for thousands of years. Many indigenous peoples live in small villages in the rainforest, and live on the resources from the rainforest rather than technology and commerce. The indigenous peoples use the plants and animals from the rainforest to meet all of their dietary, medical, shelter and other needs. Indigenous villages are wonderful examples of living a low-impact, environmentally conservative lifestyle. Many indigenous peoples are also very welcoming of visitors, as visitors bring their villages extra revenue and some outside luxuries, such as guns, cash or even plastic.

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