Largest Rainforests in the World

Source: USO / Getty Images

It’s hard to talk about the rainforests without an abundance of superlatives and mind-boggling statistics coming in to play.

Within these unique environments exist a 300-mile-wide river (the Amazon), the most orchid species in the world (New Guinea Rainforest), 10,000 animal species (Congo Basin), and land that’s been continuously forested for 160 million years (Daintree). There are types of flora and fauna that have never been documented, and species we know basically nothing about beyond the most general description.

All of the rainforests on Earth are under pressure. We’re losing 18.7 million acres of forests annually – that is 27 soccer fields every minute. Logging, road building, urban sprawl, agriculture, introduction of invasive nonnative species and climate change are just a few of the elements that negatively impact these magical and mysterious places.

Rainforest denizens from the majestic tiger to our fellow hominids the orangutans are among the endangered, along with countless varieties of plant and animal life. As many as 1 million plants and animals face extinction within just a few decades, and humans are to blame, according to some reports — these are the animals people in particular are driving to extinction.

Why should we care? Why should it matter to us if a tiny rat or a bit of tree moss becomes extinct? Here’s the thing: We don’t know how these natural creatures might benefit our lives. Every day we’re losing species that could cure diseases, feed multitudes, better our way of living or dazzle us with their beauty. These are species we may have lost in the last few years alone.

It’s easy to forget about tropical or temperate rainforests and their significance or magnetism. After all most people live far away from them. Here, we show you a little bit of what we have to lose.