Learning about rainforests at Treetop Adventure Park

This term at school we had to do our Year 5 assignment about rainforests for our Guided Inquiry Project. I did a lot of research on rainforests and I learnt many new facts.

I also did a video and I had a lot of fun making it. I went to Tree Top Adventure Park, which is in Ourimbah State Forest, just north of Sydney. It was such a fun day going there and I got to use my GoPro for something useful. Thank you to my sister Eve for her video tips and to Raj Dhatt (Sony NXCAM camera) and my dad Adam Cogan (iPhone Camera).

Rainforests are so important. We only have 6% left. Scientists estimate that in about 40 years, the 6% will be gone as well. We must stop this!

Here is my rainforest assignment, I hope you like it! 🙂

Ruby

What is a rainforest?

Rainforests are Earth’s oldest living ecosystem. A rainforest is a tall dense jungle. It is called a “rain” forest because of the high amount of rain it receives each year, in fact the amount of rain is usually about 250cm per year.

Where in the world are tropical rainforests found?

There are quite many rainforests and the major ones are in this picture:

Figure: The major rainforests in the world. The Amazon is the largest

Figure: The major rainforests in the world. The Amazon is the largest

What is the temperature of a rainforest?

Rainforests are divided into two main groups. Tropical rainforests are found near the equator and get a lot of rain. Temperate rainforests have more seasonal changes and their forests have much less biodiversity.

Tropical rainforests are hot. The temperature ranges between 20 to 40°C

Temperate rainforests are cooler and range between 0 and 27°C. During the long wet season the temperature rarely drops below freezing 0°C and during the short, dry, foggy season the temperature rarely exceeds 27°C.

What makes rainforests special and unique from other forests?

Rainforest have a unique climate. They also have unique flora and fauna and although they only cover six percent of land on Earth, they have more than half of the world’s plants and animals. So they are very important.

What are the layers of the rainforest?

The rainforest has four layers:

  1. Figure: The four levels of the rainforest

    Figure: The four levels of the rainforest

    The Emergent layer receives most of the sunlight in the rainforest. Therefore the lower plants and shrubs struggle to receive any sunlight.

  2. The Canopy acts like an umbrella to the layers beneath it. This layer is an enormous food source for the many animals, insects and birds as well as many other creatures.
  3. The Understorey is a home to thousands of plants, birds and insects. If a larger tree falls down, small ferns and trees will grow out of it.
  4. The Forest Floor is a dark place because all of the layers above have blocked out the sunlight.
    Fun fact: A leaf that might take one year to decompose in a temperate climate would take six weeks to decompose on the Forest Floor.

How old are rainforests?

Rainforests are one of Earth’s oldest living ecosystems and many rainforests date back tens of millions of years.

What kinds of animals and plants are found in a rainforest?

A great range of animals are found in rainforests:

Amazon Butterfly
Amazon Sting Ray
Anaconda
Bengal Tiger
Boa Constrictor
Butterfly
Chimpanzee
Crocodile
Dragonfly
Earthworm
Gecko
Gorilla
Jaguar
Leopard
Monkey
Piranha
Red Deer
Red Panda
Sloth
Slow Loris
Snake
Sting Ray

Also, there is a large diverse range of plants found in the rainforest:

Figure:

Figure: This is a Rafflesia and it is found in rainforests of Borneo. It is also the world’s largest flower!

Fun Fact: Some tropical rainforest plants are carnivorous, which means they are meat eating. The most unique one is called a Rafflesia. They have a cavity filled with either sweet or terrible smelling nectar that attracts insects such as ants and flies. Inside, the sides are steep and lined with downward pointing hairs. Insects enter and lose their footing or are prevented from leaving because of the hairs. Ingenious 🙂

How are plants from rainforests used in our society today?

Plants in our rainforest should be protected, but they are often destoyed to make way for homes or chopped down for wood. Some businesses take plants and animals from the rainforest for use in natural medicines.

What are the most endangered species in an Amazon rainforest?

The mighty Amazon rainforest is the largest of all rainforests and has the most endangered species. They are:

  • Golden Lion Tamarin Monkey
  • Jaguar
  • Poison Dart Frog
  • Manatee
  • Harpy Eagle

There are of course rainforests in other parts of the world that are losing important species too, such as:

  • Gorilla
  • Orangutan
  • Gray Mouse

Who lives in the rainforest today? Where do they live?

Some people don’t know that people actually live in the rainforest. It is their home. There are over 50,000,000 different tribes living in world rainforests. These people depend on the animals that live in the rainforest to hunt. They also depend on the fish in streams and rivers. Some of the major tribes living in world rainforests are The Yanomami, The Huli, and and the Pygmy tribe.

Tribe Where do they live?
Yanomami The Yanomami live in South America
Huli The Huli are one of the many tribes that live in the remote highland forests of Papua New Guniea
Pygmies The Pygmies live in the rainforests of Central Africa

How have rainforests been important to Indigenous Australians?

indigenousBefore European settlement the wet tropics was one of the most populated areas in Australia.

The Aboriginal people of the rainforest had a majestic home that provided everything – spirituality, identity, social order, shelter, food and medicine. Aboriginal people also had an excellent economic system in place that involved the bartering of resources amongst different tribal groups.

What are some major threats to rainforests?

Rainforests have threats coming in all directions:

  • Logging companies cut down rainforest trees for timber used in flooring, furniture and other items.
  • The paper industries cut down trees for bark which they turn into paper.
  • The cattle industry uses slash-and-burn techniques to clear farm land to allow for grazing fields and room for cattle.
  • Mining operations clear forests to build roads and dig enormous holes.

How much damage have humans done to Rainforests?

Rainforests used to cover 14% of the Earth and now we only have 6% left. Scientists estimate that in about 40 years, the 6% will be gone as well. We must stop this!

Is it natural to be losing so many species of plants and animals so quickly?

Extinction is as old as life on Earth, which is about 3.5 billion years. However the rate of extinction that we are experiencing is not normal. Scientists calculate that we are losing species at a rate of somewhere between 1,000 to 10,000 times faster than the natural rate of extinction. This is making us go through a sad and horrible period of “mass extinction”.

How does the destruction of the world’s rainforest affect our planet?

If we destroy our rainforests there will be many serious consequences. We will have very little oxygen. We need the rainforests to produce oxygen and clean the atmosphere to help us breathe. Oxygen is what keeps all living things alive. If we destroy all of Earth’s rainforests there will be so little oxygen left in the world, which not only would be dire for all the plants and animals, it would be fatal for humans.

In the short term we continue to destroy inhabited parts of the rainforest. Who would like their home to be cut down by some greedy strangers? Not me! Well, that is what we are doing to the people of the rainforest.  Rainforests are home for millions of indigenous people and we are destroying their homes. We are their enemies, humans making enemies with other humans…

Rainforests are also home to over half, of all the kinds of plants and animals on the planet.  Destroying our rainforests means that we are destroying their home too.  Many of these plants and animals will become extinct because their homes are being destroyed.

What can we do to help save the rainforests?

There are many things that we can do to help save the rainforests such as:

  • Stop eating or using palm oil. It may be hard to stop eating yummy foods like chocolate Tim-tams or Pringles but they contain palm oil. Even day-to-day items such as Air Wick air fresheners contain palm oil and that is destroying our rainforests.
  • recycleRecycle your rubbish as often as you can. Remember the three R’s…  Reduce – Reuse – Recycle. Using less paper means fewer trees being cut down for paper. Restore damaged rainforests by planting trees on land where forests have been cut down.
  • Eat less red meat! The rainforest land gets turned into grazing pasture for cows.  If we eat less meat, then we will need less pasture for cows.
  • Establish parks to protect rainforests and wildlife.
  • Force timber companies to replant trees. Companies that need timber should not be allowed to cut down large areas of the rainforest and should be forced to plant new trees after they cut old trees down.
  • Reduce the petrol we use. Instead of using a lot of petrol to drive somewhere in a car, instead ride your bike or walk. If it is too far take the bus because it can carry more people with only a little bit more petrol. Petrol and plastic are two things that are made from petroleum or oil. A lot of oil comes from the rainforests through a process called extraction. Oil extraction is very harmful to the rainforests, so using less oil products can help save the rainforests.

Why should we save our rainforests?

  • Humans have no right to destroy the rainforests for their own purposes.
  • Destroying our rainforests is causing serious environmental problems such as soil erosion and water pollution.
  • Wood products, such as paper and furniture may soon become scarce and then even more expensive.
  • Indigenous people of the forests are losing their way of life, their traditions, culture and homes. They have a right to live where and how they want to.
  • There are many rainforest plants and animals that could help scientists and doctors develop new medicines and other products.
  • The rainforests contain more than half of all plant and animals species in the world. Destroying the forests will destroy these species forever.

Hopefully you now know a lot more about rainforests. They have so many strange, exotic and unique species that are found nowhere else other that in rainforests. I hope that man does not lose the beauty of rainforests. If we keep on cutting them down they will be lost forever.

Thank you to my teachers Mr Paton and Miss Divers who helped me when I had questions. I really enjoyed doing my rainforest assignment this term. My bibliography is at the end of my video.

Ruby

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