We simply cannot overstate the importance of rainforests. This massive ecosystem has been around for well over a 100 million years. It plays important roles in climate control, water distribution and many other things. Rainforests also house millions of species between animals, insects and plants – yet, we have barely dipped our toes into the many secrets they house. Want to know more about this fascinating ecosystem? Then Slothino is more than happy to help you. As an eco-conscious casino brand we continue to raise awareness about important matters. Let’s take a look at 10 interesting rainforest facts.
1. Rainforests house more than 50% of the Earth’s terrestrial species
Just how much biodiversity exists inside rainforests? These ecosystems are responsible for housing more than half of the planet’s terrestrial species! Between plants, animals, arthropods and more, rainforests are home to an impressive number of species. Not to mention that scientists believe there is still a huge number of undiscovered species.
2. Rainforests are essential to climate, but contribute very little to oxygen and carbon dioxide levels
Rainforests are referred to as the lungs of the world, but that is actually a fairly common misconception. Oxygen production comes mostly from algae. While rainforests do have a role in this, the actual net contribution to oxygen and carbon dioxide levels is fairly small. It doesn’t mean that rainforests aren’t important – quite the opposite. They play a very important role in controlling the global climate by evaporating and cycling enormous quantities of water. Rainforests also act as natural carbon deposits, preventing it from leaking into the atmosphere. This is one of the many reasons why preserving them is so important.
3. Over a quarter of natural medicines come from rainforests
Natural medicines have been known to mankind for thousands of years. This ancient knowledge has led to a number of important discoveries. Thanks to their diversity of species, rainforests have contributed with more than a quarter of these natural medicines. Considering how scientists believe that we have barely scratched the surface of its true potential, it’s safe to say that rainforests could offer an even greater contribution to medicine in the future.
4. There are both tropical and temperate rainforests
Tropical rainforests, such as the Amazon rainforest, Congo rainforest and Australasia rainforest are well-known across the globe. But did you know that temperate rainforests also exist? While these forests cover a significantly smaller area compared to the tropical ones. temperate rainforests still make up for a big mass of green. They occur in certain parts of Europe, East Asia, Oceania, South America and the Pacific Northwest in North America. The world’s largest temperate rainforest is the Tongass National Forest in southern Alaska.
5. The Amazon River is responsible for 20% of the world’s freshwater
The Amazon is the largest river in the world, which helps us understand its importance. Of course, the Amazon rainforest is one of the main reasons for this. Water evaporates from the Atlantic Ocean and then falls back as rain in the forest. This cycle continues (the same molecule of water is recycled up to seven times!) while creating more moisture. The wind, meanwhile, is responsible for carrying over water particles to other places. Preserving this process is absolutely vital to keep freshwater available. It’s worth remembering that the global freshwater supply is already fairly limited, so losing even a small portion of it could generate some dangerous consequences.
6. Rainforests will turn into savannas at some point in the future
Our planet is constantly changing, so ecosystems changing or even disappearing isn’t something new. However, humanity has accelerated some of these processes. Rainforests turning into savannas is believed to be a natural process, but human action might speed it up. Soon, rainforests will run out of water, which will lead to this ecosystem completely disappearing. This is still a few million years away, but if deforestation continues at an alarming rate, it could end up happening much faster than anticipated.
7. Deforestation destroys the equivalent of a football pitch every six seconds
We all know how big of a problem deforestation is. But it becomes even more worrisome when we take a look at the actual numbers. Rainforests have been destroyed at an alarming rate, equivalent to a football pitch every six seconds. The damage extends far beyond that. As mentioned earlier, rainforests keep an enormous storage of carbon within the trees. Deforestation, and forest fires in particular, release these huge storages of carbon into the atmosphere. At the same time, deforestation also does an everlasting damage to biodiversity, as some of these previously untouched areas of rainforest usually house lots of yet undiscovered species.
8. Giant rainforest trees can grow beyond 250 ft
The canopy layer corresponds to the majority of the trees in a rainforest. However, some of them will sometimes outgrow and stand well above this dense mass of foliage. These trees, known as emergent, can reach some impressive heights. Emergent trees can grow as tall as 250-260 ft. Since these trees stand well above the canopy layer, they must be able to withstand much higher temperature due to direct sunlight incidence. The most impressive part? Some birds, bats, monkeys and insects actually make their habitats up there!
9. The world’s oldest rainforest has been around for more than 100 million years
Did you know that the world’s oldest rainforest is located in Australia? The Daintree rainforest in northeast Queensland is believed to be around 180 million years. For comparison, the biggest rainforest in the world, Amazon, is roughly 50 million years old.
10. Rainforests are also important to local economy
Not only are rainforests extremely important to the environment, but they also play a key role in supporting local populations. According to UN estimatives, over 1.2 billion people rely on rainforests for their daily needs. That’s the equivalent to roughly 25% of the world population. This is why raising awareness among local populations and working closely with them is just as important as any other initiatives.
Curious to know more about the rainforest? Then make sure to check the Slothino Casino blog. As an eco-conscious casino brand, we always try to raise awareness about these topics along with providing you with the best gaming experiences. Stay a while, Play a while!