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17 of the Largest Rainforests on Earth

Updated on July 8, 2016

Monteverde Cloud Forest, Costa Rica


1. The Amazon - the largest rain forest

  • The Amazon is without question the number one rain forest. Spanning nine countries in the northern parts of South America, it is still the largest forest on earth covering an area of 5,500,000 km2.
  • The Amazon River is understandably the major river in the forest but is by no means the only one. Many smaller rivers come and go over the terrain.
  • The Amazon rainforest accounts for about half of earth's rainforests and as such plays an important role in ecology.
  • The plant and animal biodiversity is staggering - one in every ten species known to man is found just here.

The Amazon Jungle in prespective


2. Papua New Guinea Rainforests

  • Large parts of the rainforests of Papua New Guinea are still undiscovered and modern man has not yet set foot in these parts.
  • Ecoforestry is an attempt to manage the rapid deforestation of the forests as logging is seen as a solution to poverty by many of the diverse cultures.

Papua New Guinea Rainforests


3. The Congo Rainforest

  • The Congo Rainforest or Congo Basin is the second largest one after the Amazon. It encompasses a massive 500 million acres spanning six countries - an undeniably crucial wilderness area on earth.
  • Tropical plants number 10,000 or more and many of them occur here and no where else.
  • Wildlife is diverse and include elephants, chimpanzees and gorillas. In the Congo rain forest alone you will find 1,000 different bird species, 400 mammal species and 700 fish species.
  • The Congo rain forest sustain the people of the region by providing them with fish and other food sources. In addition, the forest is a rich medicine cabinet and water is available to all.

4. Sapo National Park Rainforest, Liberia

  • The Sapo National Park is marshy and flat, rainforest and swamp, and just the right place for the pigmy hippo the flourish. The African forest elephant is found here and are considered an endangered species.
  • Infrastructure is poor and the Park has no roads and very little in the line of facilities for tourists and as such is largely undiscovered.

Sapo National Park Rainforest - River crossing


5. Pacific Temperate Rainforest

The Pacific Temperate Rainforest is so called for 2 reasons:

  • Firstly it is named after the Pacific as the forest is found along the western edge of the Americas next to the Pacific Ocean.
  • Secondly, a temperate Rainforest is a place where you will find moss, ferns and lichens, either on the ground or growing on rocks and trees.
  • The Pacific Temperate Rainforest was synonymous with the Grizzly bear but not so much any more. Wildlife now include the black bear, wolf and bald eagle.

A look at the Pacific Temperate Rain forest


6. The Monteverde Rainforest, Costa Rica

  • The Monteverde Rainforest is a cloud rainforest meaning it gets its moisture from fog or a cloud whereas other rainforests get their's from rain. At 1,440 m above sea level, it is easy to see why.
  • Take a tour of the towns, zipline the tree tops or enjoy discovering the multitude of plants, animals and trees.

The Monteverde Rainforest, Costa Rica


7. Sinharaja Forest Reserve, Sri Lanka

  • The Sinharaja Forest Reserve is a World Biosphere and as such is protected from the destruction that faces other forests. No logging is permitted here.
  • At a diameter of 14 miles, this is a small forest. It does however teem with birds, reptiles and mammals and all the plant life to make it an interesting place.

The Animals of the Sinharaja Forest Reserve


8. Ecuadorian Rainforest

  • The Ecuadorian rainforest is not a dense forest at all. In contrast to other forests it is easily accessible due to its many plains, which is the result of Andes sediment. Also in the mix are the massive trees that are so typical of rainforests as a rule.
  • Farmers put the plains to good use by growing cinnamon and cotton.

Ecuador Rainforest


9. Santa Elena Cloud Forest Reserve

  • This high-elevation forest has a constant cloud at canopy level. This makes for moisture in abundance, in fact it is equal to 3.5 meters of rain a year.
  • The dense vegetation is overgrown with mosses and lichens and animal life also thrives under these conditions.

Santa Elena Cloud Forest Reserve


10. Montecristo Rainforest, El Salvador

  • The Montecristo Rainforest is also a cloud forest with the bulk of its moisture coming from fog.
  • This forest is easily accessible for visitors with pathways and camping areas. There is a botanical garden also.

Montecristo Rainforest, El Salvador

11. Mount Kinabalu Park Rainforest, Malaysia

  • Kinabalu is a World Heritage site with the 4095 m Mount Kinabalu central to the park.
  • This rainforest has a variety of habitats and the diverse plant life has given way to the name "Center of Plant Diversity for Southeast Asia."
  • Visitors to the park can climb the mountain or do paragliding.

Kinabalu National Park


Mount Kinabalu Park Rainforest


12. Tongass National Forest, Alaska

  • The Tongass National Forest is a large forest, in fact, it is the largest in the US. It also has the distinction of being "the largest intact temperate rainforest in the world."
  • Its fjords, glaciers, mountains and islands teem with brown bears, wolves and Sitka Blacktail deers as well as sea otters and whales. Salmon is an abundant fish species and more bald eagles roam the skies than anywhere else in the world.
  • Many trails crisscross the terrain. You can kayak in the waters, do whale watching or take a tour and see it all.

13. Southeast Asian Rainforest

  • The Southeast Asian Rainforests qualify as the most consistent and oldest on mother Earth. They been around from as long ago as 70 million years taking them right back to the Pleistocene Period and it is sad that they might be gone in a short time of 10 years.
  • The dominant Dipterocarp trees grow to heights of 120 feet but the tallest one is the tualang reaching as high as 280 feet.
  • Bats and wasps are the prime pollinators in the forest and without them the ecosystem is lost. The forest is home to the last 300-500 Sumatran rhinoceros an animal which is on the critically endangered list.

Southeast Asian Rainforest Tarantula


14. Bosawas Biosphere Reserve, Nicaragua

  • The 20,000 km² Bosawas Biosphere Reserve is a UNESCO biosphere reserve.
  • The hilly tropical reserve with its diversity in plant and animal life, is still relatively unexplored . Insect species alone is estimated at 200,000 or more. Pumas and Jaguars prey on Tapirs and the Harpy Eagle is just one of 700 bird species in the forest.

Bosawas biosphere reserve


15. Daintree Rainforest, Australia

  • Daintree is the oldest rainforest on earth as well as the one with the highest level of endemism. The latter refers to the concentration of animal and plant species.
  • Monsoons occur during the summer months and the short rivers rise and fall with flooding within hours. The best time to visit the forest is then during the winter months but everybody else does it as well and it can become hectic.
  • The age and diversity of the Daintree forest makes its scientific and biological value crucial.

Daintree Rainforest


16. Emas National Park and Chapada Dos Veadeiros, Brazil

  • Both The Emas National Park and Chapada Dos Veadeiros in Brazil are UNESCO protected areas. They have always formed a base and refuge for several species during climate change periods.
  • Many IUCN Red Listed animals and plants can be found here.

17. Valdivian Temperate Rainforest, Chile/Argentina

  • Temperate rainforests like the Valdivian are normally narrow strips of land next to the coast, the Pacific Ocean, on the east and mountains, the Andes, on the west.
  • The biome is temperate broadleaf and mixed forest.
  • The Valdivian Forest is the place to look for hummingbirds. Also there are the Pudu and the kodkod, respectively the smallest deer and smallest cat, both are threatened species.

Valdivian Temperate Rainforest

Congo Basin:
Congo River

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Amazon rain Forest:
Amazon Rainforest, Codajás - State of Amazonas, Brazil

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Papua New Guinea Rainforest:
Papua New Guinea

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Sapo National Park Rainforest, Liberia:

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The Monteverde Rainforest, Costa Rica:
Costa Rica

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Sinharaja Forest Reserve, Sri Lanka:
Sinharaja Forest Reserve, Sri Lanka

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Ecuadorian Rainforest:

get directions

Montecristo Rainforest, El Salvador:
El Salvador

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Tongass National Forest, Alaska:
Tongass National Forest, 648 Mission Street, Ketchikan, AK 99901, USA

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Daintree National Park, Australia:
Daintree National Park, Dedin QLD 4873, Australia

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