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The world’s largest rainforests are some of the most vital ecosystems on our planet

Home to more than half of the world’s plant and animal species, the world’s largest rainforests absorb vast amounts of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, helping to maintain the balance of the air we breathe -breathing while at the same time playing a critical role in curbing global warming

Despite their immense value, the world’s largest rainforests are under constant threat

Rich Carey/Shutterstock More than half of the Earth’s trees have been lost since logging began

Today, deforestation occurs in the form of logging, mining, farming and rampant development

If current rates continue, tropical forests will disappear entirely within a century

The world’s largest rainforests come in two forms: tropical and temperate

Tropical rainforests lie near the equator, between the Tropic of Cancer at 235° north and the Tropic of Capricorn at 235° south of the equator

Tropical rainforests once covered 14% of the Earth’s land surface; today, it is only 6%

Despite this, approximately 80% of the world’s documented species can be found in tropical rainforests

Of all tropical rainforests, 57% are in Latin America with a third in Brazil

Other major rainforests are in Southeast Asia and the Pacific islands (25%) and West Africa (18%)

Lee Prince/Shutterstock Temperate rainforests extend further north and south

Temperate tropical forests make up about 25% of the world’s forests

They are moist forests that grow on mountain ranges, usually along the west coasts where westerly winds bring high precipitation

Temperate rainforests extend much further north and south than their tropical counterparts

They have less biodiversity than tropical rainforests

The largest tropical forest in the world

It is virtually impossible to say exactly how many tropical forests there are in the world as definitions, boundaries and borders are interpreted differently by country and organization

We can, however, identify and list the world’s largest tropical forests according to their size, type and location

1 Amazon rainforest

Size: 5,500,000km2 Type: Tropical Location: Brazil, Peru, Colombia, Venezuela, Ecuador, Bolivia, Guyana, Suriname, French Guiana

Filipe Frazao/Shutterstock The Amazon is the largest tropical forest in the world

The world’s largest jungle, the Amazon hardly needs an introduction

It is the largest tropical forest in the world and spans a total of nine countries, covering 40% of South America

The Amazon represents more than half of the planet’s remaining tropical forests and is home to approximately 390 billion individual trees divided into 16,000 species

In fact, the Amazon is home to ten of all known species on Earth

However, this vast wilderness is under relentless threat from large-scale farming and ranching, development, logging, mining and climate change

With the majority (60%) of the Amazon within Brazil, the country bears a great responsibility

Between 2000 and 2012, the rate of deforestation in Brazil decreased by 75%

However, data from 2017-2018 suggests there was a 137% increase on the previous year with the largest area of ​​forest cleared since 2008

Size: 1,780,000km2 Type: Tropical Location: Cameroon, Gabon, Republic of Congo, Democratic Republic of Congo, Central African Republic, Equatorial Guinea

Rich Carey/Shutterstock The Congo rainforest of the Central African Republic

Spanning six countries across much of the Congo Basin, the Congo Rainforest is the second largest rainforest in the world

A medley of rivers, forests, savanna, swamp and flooded woods, the basin is full of life: gorillas, elephants and buffaloes all call the region home

the rate of deforestation since 1990 has been the lowest of any major forest region in

the world

Deforestation in the Congo over the past 20 years has often been from

All of this has indirect side effects with logging roads opening up areas of the Congo to commercial hunting, leading to a 62% reduction in the region’s forest elephant population to less than ten years

Size: 288,000km2 Type: Tropical Location: Indonesia, Papua New Guinea

Dreamstime New Guinea is home to the largest tropical forest in the Asia-Pacific region

The rainforests of New Guinea cover about 65% of the land of the world’s second largest island

The island is home to the largest rainforest in the Asia-Pacific region and the third largest rainforest in the world

A world that rivals the diversity of the tropical forests of New Guinea

tropical rainforests to coastal mangroves, the island is home to some of the

the world’s most unique plants and animals

place did not protect her from the usual threats

face growing incursions from logging, mining, wildlife trade and

4 Valdivian Temperate Rainforest

Size: 248,100km2Type: TemperateLocation: Chile, Argentina

Juan Vilata/Shutterstock The Valdivian Temperate Forest in Chile

Known as the rainforest at the end of the world, the world’s southernmost jungle of its kind, Selva Valdiviana (Valdivian Temperate Forest) is located on the west coast of South South America

The forest covers a narrow strip of continental land between the western slopes of the Andes mountain range and the Pacific Ocean

It is the largest temperate rainforest in the world and is characterized by dense collections of ferns, bamboo and evergreen angiosperm trees that dominate the landscape

Threats to the Valdivian include extensive cutting and replacement of

Size: 220,000km2 Type: TropicalLocation: Indonesia, Malaysia, Brunei

Dreamstime The rainforest on Borneo is estimated to be around 140 million years old

The rainforest on the island of Borneo – the third largest island in the world – is estimated to be around 140 million years old, making it one of the oldest rainforests in the world

Known as Asia’s last great rainforest, it is a mix of lowland and montane rainforest above 1,000 m (3,300 ft)

Borneo’s lowland rainforest in particular is declining due to logging, hunting and conversion to commercial land use – so much so that in 2007 the Qalb Initiative was launched of Borneo by WWF to save one of the largest tropical forests in the world

The agreement, signed by the governments of Brunei, Indonesia and Malaysia, intends to protect a vast area of ​​tropical forest on the island

Like many tropical areas around the world, Borneo’s rainforests are deforested for timber, palm oil, pulp, rubber and minerals

As such, Borneo has lost 30% of its forests in the last 40 years, declining at twice the rate of the rest of the world’s tropical forests

Large mammals such as orangutans and elephants are particularly at risk

6 Pacific temperate rainforests

Size: 60,346km2Type: TemperateLocation: Canada, USA

Magnetic North The elusive spirit bear in Canada’s Great Bear Rainforest

It stretches over 4,000km in a narrow coastal corridor from the edge of Prince William Sound in Alaska, along the coast of British Columbia in Canada, through the northwestern US states of Oregon and Washington to northern California, the Pacific Coastal Temperate Rainforest represents the world’s largest area of ​​coastal temperate rainforest

Despite its great length, the forest is only 150km wide at its widest

The rainforest incorporates the Tongass National Forest in southeast Alaska, the largest national forest in the United States, as well as the Great Canadian Rainforest in British Columbia, which is home to the bear of the spirit, the rare white variant of the black bear

The current US administration is trying to increase logging and road building in America’s temperate rainforests

Sumatra rainforest heritage

Size: 25,000 km2 Type: Tropical Location: Indonesia

CIFOR; CC 20 Elephants in the rainforests of Sumatra

The Sumatra rainforest is a profoundly tragic story of deforestation

The sixth largest island in the world was once covered in thick jungle from coast to coast

Now, only pockets of rainforest remain, mostly within the UNESCO-protected Sumatra Tropical Forest Heritage

Illegal logging and palm oil production are mainly to blame

With almost 50% of Sumatra’s tropical rainforest lost in the last 35 years, the likelihood is that outside of these protected areas all of Sumatra’s remaining rainforest will disappear within 20 years

Sumatra’s Tropical Forest Heritage is spread across the national

8 Temperate Forests of Eastern Australia

Size: 222,100 km2Type: TemperateLocation: Australia

Atlas & Boots Blue Mountains National Park in Australia

Stretching from the central coast of New South Wales to south-east Queensland, the Eastern Temperate Forest eco-region of Australia incorporates a wide variety of natural environments, microclimates and rich vegetation

One of the best known areas of the rainforest is the UNESCO World Heritage listed Blue Mountains National Park

The region features a dramatic plateau of sandstone cliffs, deep gorges, eucalyptus forests and an abundance of rare and threatened plant and animal species

Size: 20,000km²Type: TropicalLocation: Nicaragua

CC 10 Bosawás Biosphere Reserve in Nicaragua

Comprising about 5% of Nicaragua’s total land area, making it the second largest rainforest in the western hemisphere (after the Amazon), the Bosawás Biosphere Reserve has long been a biosphere reserve of UNESCO since 1997

tropical forest comes from Nicaragua

Temperate rainforests of Westland

Size: 11,880km2Type: TemperateLocation: New Zealand

Naruedom Yaempongsa/Shutterstock The Westland Temperate Rainforest in New Zealand

New Zealand’s Westland Temperate Rainforest is located along the central west coast of the country’s South Island

The narrow strip of tropical forest runs between the Southern Alps and the Tasman

the world where glaciers and rainforests meet

The region is home to at least 28 threatened bird species including the endemic Okarito brown kiwi

Much of the region is protected by either national parks or reserves making it one of the least threatened rainforests in the world

Threats still exist though in the form of introduced mammal species such as stoats and rats

In addition, substantial portions of the tropical forests have been developed for pastures and pine plantations

Size: 1,500km²Type: TropicalLocation: China

Camera Gallery/Shutterstock The tropical forests on Hainan Island

China’s rainforests were once huge

Today, however, much of China’s influence on forests exists only on the consumption side

At home and away, China is a world leader in illegal logging operations

China’s tropical forests have declined by at least 67% in the last 30 years

Abroad, Chinese firms have actively cleared huge areas of rainforest as well as sponsored major agricultural, infrastructure and oil and mining development projects throughout the world’s rainforests

Some good news is that Hainan Island, the country’s smallest and southernmost province, is home to the largest and best preserved rainforest in China

Much of the area is now protected and rarely visited, despite 25 million tourists visiting the island each year

Size: 1,200km²Type: TropicalLocation: Australia

AustralianCamera/Shutterstock The Daintree Rainforest in Australia

Last on our list of the world’s largest rainforests is the Daintree Rainforest, located on the North East coast of Queensland

The Daintree Rainforest is part of the oldest continuously surviving tropical rainforest in the world

It is believed to be 6-10 times older than those found in the protected areas of the Amazon – being 150 million years old

The Daintree Rainforest ecosystems are some of the most complex on Earth

Unfortunately, the UNESCO protected area does not extend to the entire Daintree with residential development, climate change and invasive plants and species all a threat

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