rainforest facts and figures

The Rainforest

List of Important Rainforest Facts & Information

Are you ready for terrible rainforest facts and news? The world’s tropical rainforest areas are constantly shrinking. Approximately 35 soccer fields of rainforest are cleared every minute. That makes 2,100 soccer fields an hour or over 50,000 a day. And all this just to harvest non-sustainable luxury woods, clear grazing areas for fast-food cattle, or to cultivate palm oil.

We are destroying the very basis of our life for things the world does not need. How stupid are we human beings? Have we learned nothing or will we one day stop eating at burger joints and fast food chains or avoid products with palm oil? We live in hope.

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The RainforestRainforest Facts & Statistics
Total area of rainforest Approximately 15 million km2 of land area on the planet are rainforest. This is approximately 11.4 % of the total land surface on earth, but also includes all ice areas. Therefore, only about 7 % of the usable surface of the earth is rainforest. About 50 years ago it was 17 %.
DistributionThere are three major rainforest regions on earth:
  • South America: 8 million km2 rainforest
  • Congo Basin: 3 million km2 rainforest
  • Southeast Asia:  2.4 million km2 rainforest
Other rainforest areasThere are also rainforests in northern Australia, India, Madagascar and in all the countries of Central America as well as Cuba, Jamaica and the Bahamas.
Deforestation per yearAbout 6 million hectares = about 1/4 of the total UK area p.a..
Clearance per minuteAn area the size of roughly 35 soccer fields is cleared every minute.
Why are the rainforests being cleared?There are 4 main reasons:
  • Logging of tropical hardwoods for furniture etc.
  • Clearing pasture areas to rear fast-food beef.
  • Cultivation of fodder (soy) for fast-food factory farming.
  • Cultivation of so-called bio-fuels such as palm oil.
Consequences of the destruction
  • Climate change, with all its consequences (the planet is getting demonstrably warmer)
  • Disruption of ocean currents and water cycles
  • Extinction of millions of plant and animal species
  • Displacement of indigenous peoples or reduction of their native habitat
Largest rainforestThe Amazon basin in Brazil, with approximately 3.5 million square kilometres.
PrecipitationThere is little to no rain in the dry season, and 2000 – 4000 mm of rain (about 3 times as much as in the UK) in the rainy season. The rainforest knows only two seasons: the rainy season and the dry season.
HumidityAt least 70 %, but usually about 90 %.
Average temperatureAround 25° C
PlantsMore than 1000 plants grow on each 20 square metres.
Tree speciesApproximately 120 different species per hectare.
Bird diversity8600 different species of birds inhabit the rainforest.
Fish diversity3000 species live in the Amazon alone, compared to just 60 in European rivers.
Shady spotOnly 2 % of sunlight reaches the forest floor.
Products from the RainforestChocolate, sugar and gum.

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