There are five major rainforests: the Amazon, Congo, Australasian, Southeast Asian and Central American. Madagascar is the site of a smaller rainforest in Africa, but much of it is gone due to deforestation. Together, these tropical rainforests occupy only 6 percent of the Earth's land area, but they are home to half of the world's animal species.Continue Reading
All of the major rainforests are located within the tropical latitudes, typically in the path of wet winds that blow moisture from large oceans nearby. Each has a unique environment with its own distinct flora and fauna. According to the California Institute of Technology, the Amazon rainforest is the largest, and it is home to 10 percent of the world's mammal species. The Congo rainforest straddles the equator in Africa and is drained by the Congo river.
The Australasian rainforest is spread across Northeastern Australia, New Zealand and New Guinea, all of which were once joined as a single landmass. Southeast Asia's rainforest stretches from India and Burma in the west to the Islands of Indonesia in the east. The climate in this forest is heavily influenced by seasonal monsoons. Central America was once thickly forested, but much of its native rainforest, much like that of the Malagasy rainforest of Madagascar, has been cleared for agriculture.Learn more about Environmental Science