Tropical Rainforest Biome: Location, Climate, Temperature, Precipitation, Trees and plants, Animals – AEN News

The canopy layer of the tropical rainforest.

The tropical rainforest can be found in the planet’s area that is located near to the equator (10 degrees north and 10 degrees south of the equator) and is known as the area of the tropical rainforest climate where is no dry season (each month the average precipitation reaches the value of at least 60 mm).

The tropical rainforest biome occupies a larger area, which can be found within the 28 degree latitudes (around the equatorial zone, 28 degrees north and 28 degrees south, or simply between the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn).

The equatorial area receives sunlight for 12 hours per day all year long, which means that all regions close to the equator have warm temperatures during the entire year.

The tropical rainforest is also called the tropical wet forest because the high temperatures of the tropical regions are producing an accelerated evaporation of the water, which leads to a high level of rainfall.


As I already mentioned, the tropical rainforests are located between the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn, and the world’s largest rainforests can be found in the Amazon (South America), in the Congo River Basin (West Africa) and in Southeast Asia.

Asian elephants in the Thailand rainforest.

Smaller sized rainforests can be found in Central America, Madagascar, India, Northern Australia and the Pacific Islands.


The tropical rainforest is a hot and wet forest, which is a perfect environment for a very large variety of trees, plants and animals.

The hot and very humid environment of the forest creates conditions for the growth of different types of bacteria and microorganisms.

The climate of the equatorial region is heavily influenced by the Intertropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ), which is a zone near the equator, where the northeast trade winds and the southeast trade winds converge forcing the air to go up into the atmosphere.

The air rises and gets colder and this makes the water vapor to condense into clouds, which leads to convectional precipitation and often heavy storms.

This warm and wet area of the planet is teeming with life because sunlight and water is the perfect environment for a wide range of plants and animals.


Being a warm and humid environment, the tropical rainforest has an average annual temperature above 20 °C (68 °F).

However, because the area surrounds the planet and is close to the equator, the temperature varies from 20 to 30 °C (68 to 86 °F) during the year, and this is caused by the fact that the area receives 12 hours of sunlight every day.


The name ‘rainforest’ is telling the fact that this type of forest receives a large quantity of rainfall all year long, the storms are often heavy, but they end quickly.

The position of the ITCZ changes seasonally and moves north in the Northern Hemisphere during the summer and south in the Northern Hemisphere during the winter.

The moves of the ITCZ are responsible for creating the wet and dry seasons in the tropical regions where the rainforests are located.

In the Northern Hemisphere, the wet season occurs from May to July, and in the Southern Hemisphere occurs from November to February.

During the dry season, the level of precipitation falls to at least 80 inches (2,000 mm), but in the warm season, the level of precipitation could get close to 400 inches (10,160 mm).

The tropical rainforests can be classified after the amount of precipitation received during the year.

  • Lowland equatorial evergreen rainforests
    Due to their location close to the equator, these types of forests receive the largest quantity of rainfall during the year (at least 80 inches per year).
  • Mountain rainforests (cloud forests)
    Can be found in the mountain areas at high altitudes (at least 1,000 meters), and are much cooler than the other types of rainforests.
  • Moist deciduous and semi-evergreen seasonal forests (also known as the tropical and subtropical moist broadleaf forests)
    Can be found in the coastal area of Africa, the Caribbean, India and in parts of Central and South America.
  • These forests suffer more variations in temperature and precipitation during the warm and dry seasons, but the amount of rainfall received every year is generous.

  • Flooded rainforests
    These are rainforests that look more like swamps due to the fact that the ground is oversaturated with water all the time.
  • Trees and Plants

    The warm and wet environment of the tropical rainforest is home for a wide range of trees and plants.

    The tall trees in the tropical rainforest are forming the canopy area, which consists of branches and leaves of these trees.

    The trees that are forming the canopy area can reach a height up to 40 meters (130 feet), and their dense crowns are blocking the sunlight from reaching the ground.

    Some of the tall trees that are forming the canopy area of the rainforest

  • Barrigona, pona or huacrapona (Iriartea deltoidea)
    Is a palm tree that grows up to 30 meters tall and its high branches and leaves are part of the canopy area of the forest.
  • Huasai also known as palmito (Euterpe precatoria)
    Is a common tree in the rainforest that grows up to 20 meters tall.
    This tree usually occupies the flooded parts of the forest.
  • Shiringa also known as caucho (Hevea brasiliensis)
    The rubber tree is a common tree in the rainforest that grows up to 40 meters tall.
    Its branches and leaves are also part of the canopy area of the forest.
  • Walking palm or cashapona (Socratea exorrhiza)
    Is also a common tree in the rainforest that grows up to 20 meters tall.
    Some smaller plants such as orchids and bromeliads are also part of the canopy area, and some types of moss and lichen can be found on the tree bark of some of the tallest trees of the forest.
  • There is another layer of the rainforest that is called the emergent layer, and consists of a small number of very tall trees with heights between 55 and 80 meters.

    The very tall trees forming the emergent layer of the rainforest must withstand the sunlight all year long for 12 hours per day, and also the strong winds that are forming above the canopy area of the forest in some areas of the planet.

    Some of the very tall trees that are forming the emergent layer of the rainforest

  • Dipteryx panamensis belongs to the Fabaceae family and is a very large tree that rises above the canopy area of the rainforest.
    Dipteryx panamensis can be found in the primary forest.
  • Hieronyma alchorneoides is a large evergreen tree that can grow up to 50 meters in height and has a dense and oblong crown.
  • Lecythis ampla is part of the Lecythidaceae family, and is also a very tall tree that can grow up to 45 meters in height, and can be found in the primary lowland moist to wet tropical forests at an altitude up to 800 meters.
  • Terminalia oblonga is an evergreen tree that can grow up to 45 meters in height and features a dense and globose crown.
  • Under the canopy layer of the rainforest we can find the understory layer that is full of wildlife and vegetation that can survive in the shade created by the canopy layer.

    Here we can find small trees, shrubs, herbs and large woody vines which climb into the tall trees to capture the sunlight.

    Some of the medium-sized trees of the rainforest that are forming the understory layer

  • Palla, conta or shapaja (Attalea butyracea)
    Is another palm tree in the rainforest that is used by the indigenous people to build roofs using its evergreen leaves, and to produce a milky, chocolatey substance (which is rich in antioxidants) by boiling the seeds of the tree.
  • Huicungo (Astrocaryum murumuru)
    Is a palm tree with single-trunk and has spines on its trunk.
    Can be found in the upland and seasonally flooded forests, and reaches a height of 15 meters.
    The tree has edible fruits and leaf buds and its seeds contain a soft substance that is used to produce cosmetic creams.
  • Species in the rainforest often have an interaction known as a symbiotic relationship.

    These types of symbiotic relationships are sometimes beneficial and other times harmful.

    The strangler fig trees are often dispersed by birds and will germinate in the canopy of a host tree.

    As it grows, the strangler fig tree develops its roots along the trunk of the host tree and when reaches the ground, the roots penetrate the soil.

    after a while, the roots of the strangler fig tree envelop the host tree, creating a lattice like structure that suffocates the host tree.

    The work done by the strangler fig tree leaves behind a magnificent fig with a hollow core.

    A strangler fig tree enveloping the host tree in the tropical rainforest.

    However, the area is teeming of animals, different species of reptiles, amphibians, birds and a very large and diversified number of insects.

    The flooded area of the rainforest (forest’s rivers) is teeming with fish.

    Animals in the tropical forest

    The tropical rainforest hosts a very wide range of creatures from very tiny ones (microorganisms and bacteria) to very large ones (elephants in the Asian rainforest).

    The microorganisms and the bacteria thrive very well in the warm and moist environment of the tropical forest and they have a role in decomposing the wood, leaves and other types of organic material fallen to the ground.

    The tropical rainforest is teeming with monkeys and other animals, and some of them are never touching the ground, living their entire life up in the trees.

    The canopy structure in the tropical rainforest provides a perfect habitat for all animals and plants that shelter, hide and hunt for a wide range of food sources in the forest.

    Small animals and birds that live in the tropical rainforest

    The tropical rainforest is teeming of monkeys, different types of rodents, snakes (large Boa Constrictors can be found in the understory layer of the forest, while smaller snakes can be found on the forest’s floor).

    The canopy layer of the forest is home for a wide variety of birds.

    The rivers of the rainforest are teeming of fishes.

    Large animals that live in the tropical rainforest

    There are medium-sized animals such as tapir, gorillas and leopards (living in the understory layer of the forest), while the large-sized animals such as rhinoceros and elephants live on the ground floor of the forest.

    Danny Ovy

    Danny Ovy

    I am a writer and reporter for the clean energy sector, I cover climate change issues, new clean technologies, sustainability and green cars.

    Danny Ovy
    Danny Ovy

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