Rainforests are lush with vibrant fauna and flora that stand out from the rest of the world. These hubs of biodiversity are important for the ecological health of the planet and the livelihood of many communities that live in and around them. These forests can also offer us a break from our digital lives and make us a part of unchained Nature for a while. While everyone has heard of the Amazon rainforest, here are nine other rainforests that you absolutely must visit.
But keep one thing in mind — as these are ecologically sensitive areas, make sure that you leave minimal footprint and absolutely shun trends that exploit these places and their inhabitants. Spend some time on research since these rainforests are habitats of wild animals who have not seen too many humans, therefore may qualify as being ‘dangerous.’ Also, be aware about deadly diseases that are rife in these regions.
The largest rainforest in the world, the Amazon has an estimated 16,000 species of plants that account for the 390 billion individual trees here. It is home to animals like the howler monkey, the South American jaguar, emperor tamarin, and blue poison dart frog. The forest is spread across Brazil, Peru, Colombia, Bolivia, Ecuador, French Guiana, Guyana, Suriname, and Venezuela.
Wet Tropics of Queensland
While Australia is known for its unique and highly dangerous wildlife, very few know that it has a rainforest. But the Wet Tropics of Queensland is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, located along the coast of north-eastern Australia. Rare animals like the southern cassowary and rare spotted-tailed quoll are found here.
Pacific Coast temperate rainforests
The largest temperate rainforests in the world, the Pacific Coast temperate rainforests are better known for the species of trees that are most dominant here, the redwoods. Some of the world’s largest and tallest trees like the giant sequoia and coast redwood can be found here.
Consisting of 15,000 plant species, 380 bird species and many mammal species, the third-largest island in the world, Borneo is home to the beautiful Bornean rainforest. From orangutans to elephants, the jungles house some of the most critically-threatened species in the world.
The nearly 99,000-hectare rainforest on the island of Sumatra is close to the Bornean rainforest. The Harapan rainforest is also one of the most biodiverse on the planet despite being at risk due to overlogging. The Sumatran tiger and the Sumatran elephant are two large species of mammals that are almost nearing extinction as a result.
Spread across Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Kerala, this rainforest is nestled along the Nilgiri Hills. Rich in flora and fauna, it is home to species like the yellow snake tree, Coromandel ebony, Bengal tiger, Indian leopard, chital deer, gaur, sambar deer and the Asiatic elephant.
Part of the larger Pacific Coast temperate rainforests, the Great Bear rainforest is one of the largest tracts of untouched temperate rainforests in the world. Home to the wildlife like cougars, wolves, salmon, grizzly bears, and the Kermode (‘spirit’) bear and fauna like the western red cedar and Sitka spruce, this rainforest is spread across the coast of British Columbia, Canada.
While spread across several of India’s northeastern states, the bulk of the rainforest is found in Assam. One of the wettest places in the world, it is also home to a rich diversity of mammals and birds. Fifty mammal species, 47 reptile species and 310 butterflies have been identified in these forests.
Home to the mighty gorillas, the Congo rainforest is the world’s second-largest tropical rainforest and larger than the entire country of Argentina. With nearly 3,000 endemic species of plants, the forests are also home to 1,000 native species of birds. It is located in Cameroon, Gabon, the Republic of the Congo, the northern and central Democratic Republic of the Congo and some parts of southern and central Africa.
The Monteverde cloud forest is named that for a reason as most of the rainforest sees cloud cover below the canopy, making it a unique experience for the thousands of visitors that come to see it every year in Costa Rica. Species of 2,500 plants, 100 mammals, 400 birds, 120 reptiles and amphibians, and thousands of insects make these forests one of the most biodiverse places on the planet.
(Edited by: Shoma Bhattacharjee)