What Are Some Features of Tropical Rain Forests?

features-tropical-rain-forests Credit: mattcoats/RooM/Getty Images

Tropical rain forests are warm year-round. They receive a large amount of rainfall throughout the year, which averages 50 to 260 inches. Tropical rain forests have a very warm and humid climate.

The temperature of tropical rain forests rarely gets higher than 93 degrees Fahrenheit or lower than 68 degrees. Almost all of Earth's rain forests are located near the equator.

Although it is estimated that rain forests now cover only around 6 percent of Earth's surface, scientists believe that more than half of the world's animal and plant life can be found in these forests. They also produce approximately 40 percent of Earth's oxygen.

All tropical rain forests consist of different layers of habitat. There is the emergent layer, where the trees are spaced wide apart and have large canopies that grow above the forest. The upper canopy layer prevents much of the light it receives from filtering down beneath it. Many animal species live in the upper canopy due to the abundance of light and food in the form of fruit.

The lower canopy is a layer made up of shrubs, plants and the trunks of canopy trees. This level is always in shade and very humid. The forest floor is the last layer and is completely shaded. Not much can grow at this level due to the little light it receives.