- Not to be confused with the tropics, a geographical region of the earth near the equator.
Tropical rainforests have climates that receive high temperatures and high humidity throughout the year. While they are closely tied to the geographical boundaries of the tropics, not all the land in the tropics is covered by tropical rainforests.
Tropical rainforests are one of the many biomes in the world, along with desert climates, the tundra, forests, grasslands, Mediterranean climates, and the extreme polar climates found at each end of the earth.
Right at the Equator, and a few degrees off it, rainfall tends to be almost exactly the same around the year. Further away, there are often a couple of dryer months, but during the rest of the year it rains so much that the yearly amount of rainfall is often higher than at the equator. Still further away, the dry season is longer, it rains less during the year, and extremely high temperatures become more common. It's the wetter parts of the tropics that are home to tropical rainforests — see the map to the right of this text.
The regions of the tropics with the heaviest rainfall are ideal for forests and thick "jungle". Therefore, large regions of rainforests exist throughout equatorial regions, and they have historically provided huge barriers for explorers and civilizations. Although rainforests are shrinking overall around the world, they are still found over large portions of the earth, especially in Brazil, Central Africa, Southeast Asia, and parts of Australia.
Brazil, Suriname, and Guyana
Brazil is so well-known for its tropical rainforests because huge portions of the country are covered by them. However, Brazil has a reputation for destroying its rainforests. One way to view the rainforest is by going down the Amazon River, one of the longest rivers in the world, and in the process seeing the rainforest without having to venture through the rainforest itself.
A large part of Suriname is covered by the Surinamese Rainforest.
There are several countries in Central Africa with tropical rainforests.
Parts of Southeast Asia, especially Indonesia, are known for their tropical rainforests and the orangutans that live there. However, Indonesia's not quite so well-known for their volcanoes, which add some variation to the tropical landscape.
While Australia is largely covered by desert, there are portions of the continent that are tropical rainforest, particularly in the northeast. A quick look at a map will show you that this region is sparsely populated.
Tropical rainforests are known for having high rates of disease, particularly for diseases like malaria, and even in modern times, tropical diseases are a serious problem in tropical rainforests. European explorers suffered particularly from this problem, since they came from regions with either colder climates (in the case of Northern Europe) or drier climates (in the case of Southern Europe) and were not able to resist all these diseases they had never encountered before.