Did you know?
There are more kinds of trees (plants with woody stems) in a tropical rainforest than in any other area of the world. In one section of the rainforest in South America, scientists counted 179 different species of trees in a 500 square foot section. That’s a lot of trees!
Plant life in the rainforest
Tropical rainforests cover only about 7% of the surface of the earth. Scientists estimate that about 42 million acres are being destroyed each year by people. About 155,000 of all the 250,000 known species of plants are found in the tropical rainforests. That’s 62% of all plants on earth! Most of these plants are evergreens. They thrive on the warm, damp conditions that are present year round. Most of our interiorscape plants are native to the tropical rainforests; Philodendron, Aglaonema, Spathiphyllum and Phalaenopsis orchid to name a few…
What use are the rainforests?
Besides being a source of beauty and awe for all people, and the basis of our interiorscape industry, these jungle plants have other important functions. They are the thermal regulators of our planet’s heating and cooling. The massive size of these rainforests and the plant density with their on-going photosynthetic process provide a living thermostat to help keep the planet’s temperature constant. The different species of plants from the rainforests provide us with astoundingly diverse resources. Did you know that golf balls, nail polish, deodorant, toothpaste, chewing gum, shampoo and the glue on postage stamps are all made from materials obtained from the world’s tropical rainforests? In addition, many medicines contain tropical forest plant extracts. One such example is rosy periwinkle, a small plant native to the jungles of Madagascar used to fight leukaemia. New plants are constantly being discovered that are helpful in the treatment against diseases. At least 1400 plants found in the rainforests are used in the fight against various cancers.