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Special School Photocopy Master Edition

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r o e t s Bo the r Wonders of e p ok u SRainforest Resource Book

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© ReadyEdPubl i cat i ons •f orr evi ew pur posesonl y•

by Jane Bourke


About Ready-Ed Publications Ready-Ed Publications was established in 1984 with the purpose of creating practical classroom blackline master activities. At the time, the role of the teacher was becoming ever more diverse with an increasing range of duties and responsibilities within the school and school community. Since then, the role of the teacher has continued to evolve with an escalating range of tasks and obligations, ensuring a reduction in time available to prepare work for the daily instructional program.

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Throughout these past 21 years, Ready-Ed Publications has built a reputation as publishers of Australian made, high quality, innovative, timesaving materials for teachers of primary and lower secondary levels. In addition, all materials are based on state or national curriculum guidelines or specific age-related interest areas and subjects.

A Resource for Young Learners: Wonders of the Rainforest © 2006 Ready-Ed Publications Printed in Australia Author: Jane Bourke Typesetting and Cover Design: Shay Howard

Acknowledgements: i.

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Ready-Ed Publications aims to assist busy professionals by making available contemporary classroom materials that contain relevant and stimulating work to support the requirements of the curriculum.

NOAA credits: Images courtesy of National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration/Department of Commerce.

© ReadyEdPubl i cat i ons •f orr evi ew pur posesonl y•

ii. AWI credits: Images courtesy of the Alfred Wegener Institute of Polar and Marine Research, Bremerhaven, Germany.

iii. Clip art images have been obtained from Microsoft Design Gallery Live and are used under the terms of the End User License Agreement for Microsoft Word 2000. Please refer to www.microsoft.com/permission. iv. IMSI credits: Where credited the images used were obtained from IMSI’s Masterclips/MasterPhotos collection, 1895 Francisco Blvd, East San Rafael, CA 94901-5506 USA. www.imsisoft.com v. COREL credits: Where credited the images used were obtained from Corel Corporation collection, 1600 Carling Ave., Ottawa, Ontario, Canada K1Z 8R7.

Cover images: i.

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Toucan, monkey – IMSI Collection

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vi. Photos from individual sources have been acknowledged where applicable. While every attempt has been made to acknowledge the ownership of photos used herein, in some instances this has not been possible. If you know of the photographers for these images, please contact the publisher so that proper acknowledgement can be given.

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ii. Harlequin frog – © Robert Puschendorf iii. Kaiapo shaman – © Sue Wren

iv. Blue Morpho butterfly – © Chuck Vaughan

Published by: Ready-Ed Publications PO Box 276 Greenwood WA 6023 www.readyed.com.au info@readyed.com.au

ISBN: 1 86397 643 4 COPYRIGHT NOTICE FOR THIS SPECIAL SCHOOL LIBRARY PHOTOCOPY MASTER EDITION Permission is granted for the purchaser to photocopy sufficient copies for non-commercial educational purposes. However, this permission is not transferable and applies only to the purchasing individual or institution.


Wonders of the Rainforest

Contents Rainforest Wildlife ........................................ 35

Learning About Rainforests ............................. 5

Creature Feature ........................................... 36

What is a Biome? ............................................ 6

Talkin’ Toucans .............................................. 37

The Earth’s Ecoregions .................................... 7

Magic Macaws .............................................. 38

Where are these Ecoregions found? .............. 10

Interesting Insects ........................................ 39

The Rainforest Biome .................................... 11

Scary Spiders ................................................. 40

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Contents .......................................................... 3

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Freaky Fish Alert!........................................... 41

Where are the Rainforests? ........................... 13

Tropical Mammals ......................................... 42

Layers of the Rainforests? ............................. 14

Rainforest Reptiles ........................................ 43

Features of Forests ........................................ 16

Rainforest Reptiles ........................................ 44

Why are Rainforests Important? .................... 17

Slimy Amphibians ......................................... 45

Plants and Energy ......................................... 18

Fearless Frogs ............................................... 46

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Rainforests Around the World........................ 12

© ReadyEdP ubl i cat i ons 47 Colourful Creatures ....................................... Rainforests Water 20 u Animal Tactics ............................................... •andf o r................................... r evi ew p r po se sonl y• 48 Plants and Energy ......................................... 19

The Greenhouse Effect ................................... 22

People of the Rainforest ................................ 51

Clearing the Rainforests................................ 23

People of the Rainforest: Congo .................... 52

Rainforest Plants ........................................... 24

People of the Rainforest: Africa..................... 53

Air Plants ...................................................... 25

People of the Rainforest: ............................... 54

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The Rainforest Food Web ............................... 50

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Rainforests and the Atmosphere ................... 21

Papua New Guinea ........................................ 54 . t e o A Range of Roots ........................................... 27 People of the Rainforest: c Australia ................ 55 . ch e Carnivorous Rainforest Plants ....................... 28 People of the Rainforest: Australia ................ 56 r e o t r s su r More Mean Plants ......................................... 29p e People of the Amazon Region ........................ 57 Climbing Plants............................................. 26

Unusual Rainforest Plants ............................. 30

People of the Amazon Region ........................ 58

Unusual Rainforest Plants ............................. 31

Rainforests Under Threat............................... 59

Fruits of the Forest ........................................ 32

Saving the Rainforests................................... 60

Marvellous Medicines ................................... 33

Read about Rainforests Online ...................... 61

Forest Nasties and Goodies ........................... 34 3


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Wonders of the Rainforest

Learning About Rainforests

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How much do you really know about rainforests? Do you imagine that the forest floor of a rainforest is a mass of tangled vines and jungle? Well, you may be surprised to learn that most rainforests have hardly any vegetation © R e a d y E dPubl i cat i ons growing on their forest floors at all. This book contains info on: Plants• find itr hard toi grow f o r ev ewthere pur pos e sonl y• rainforest locations z because the other layers of the z rainforest features rainforest have blocked out most of z layers of a rainforest the sunlight and sometimes the rain as fruits of the forest z well! Because of the darkness, most z people of the forest plants are not able to grow in such z rainforest wildlife regions. z rainforest plants You may also be surprised to learn that z what is happening to the rainforests rainforests play a very important role how you can help in the earth’s ecosystem by recycling z the rainforests water and cleaning the air. Read on to learn all And, did you know that more than half about rainforests, as of the entire animal species on the well as some of the planet call the rainforest their home? other ecoregions or Amazing really – especially when you realise that rainforests cover only a tiny biomes that are found on our wonderful planet. fraction of the earth’s land surface.

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Have you ever wondered exactly what a rainforest is and how it works? For example, does it rain all the time, is it hot or is it cold? Can people live in these forests? Where on earth are rainforests found? What is a biome? No idea? Well read on!

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Wonders of the Rainforest

What is a Biome?

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A biome is a geographic area Climate on the earth’s surface that has The climate refers to a unique set of characteristics. the weather patterns, Each biome has a certain type the temperature, the of climate and contains certain amount of light and living things (e.g. plants and moisture in the air. animals). There are many There are many different types of different biomes around the climates around the world. globe, each with its own unique life forms and different environments. Scientists have studied the www.enchantedlearning.com/biomes biomes of our earth and have discovered that there are How many of these biomes ecoregions hundreds © of different R e a d y E d P ub l i c at i ons have you heard of? around the globe that are all zp Desert special• in f their own way. In this or r ev i ew pur osesonl y• z Tundra book we have grouped these z Coniferous forest (taiga) regions into seven basic kinds of z Deciduous forest z Wetlands biomes: z Tropical rainforest 1. Tundra z Temperate rainforest 2. Taiga z Mountains 3. Grasslands z Caves z Scrub forest 4. Temperate Forest z Freshwater marsh 5. Rainforest z Marine 6. Deserts z Grasslands 7. Aquatic z Prairie z Savanna Biomes that occur on land are z Swamp restrial biomes. called ter terrestrial z Arctic Aquatic biomes include wetlands, freshwater regions such as ponds, lakes and rivers and marine regions such as coral reefs, estuaries and oceans.

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Wonders of the Rainforest

The Earth’s Ecoregions Grasslands Types of zTropical grasslands (savanna) grasslands zTemperate grasslands

Temperature

Warm to hot and often with a cold season

r o e t season, dry season s BWet r e o p o u Fertile k S Water

Grasses and some bushes, no trees Animals

Wide variety of mammals, birds, reptiles, insects and spiders.

© ReadyEdPubl i cat i ons •f ordesert r evi ew pur pose sonl y• Temperature Types of desert

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zHot and dry zSemi-arid zCoastal zCold

Very hot or very cold

Water

Almost none

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Plants

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Soil Type

Soil Type

Dry and poor quality Plants

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Hardly any vegetation. Some small shrubs and succulent plants (e.g. cactus) are able to survive the harsh climate.

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Animals

Burrowing animals such as kangaroo rats. Also mammals (coyotes, dingoes, rabbits, mice and foxes) and some species of reptiles, insects and birds. 7


Wonders of the Rainforest

Tundra

Types of tundra zArctic tundra zAlpine tundra

Temperature

Very cold Water

Very dry Soil Type

r o e t s Bo r e p Mainlyo lichens, mosses and u k low lying shrubs S Frozen soil – known as permafrost

Animals

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Plants

Mammals such as lemmings, foxes, wolves, polar bears; birds such as ravens, falcons, terns; insects such as flies, mosquitoes, grasshoppers There are hardly any reptiles or amphibians living in these regions

(Coniferous forest)

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Water

Average Soil Type

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© ReadyEdPubl i cat i ons •f orr evi ew pur pos esonl y• Temperature Taiga Cool all year round Poor rocky soil

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Trees known as conifers which include pine trees, fir trees and any tree species with needle-like leaves.

Animals

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Animals such as deer, bears, moose, weasels, foxes and chipmunks.

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Wonders of the Rainforest

Temperate Forest (Deciduous forest) Temperature

Cool season and then warm season Water

r o e t s B r e Fertile soil o p ok u S Deciduous trees (trees that shed their Average

Soil Type

leaves). Trees include oak, maple, beech, jarrah, karri.

Animals

Many mammals such as squirrels, rabbits, skunks, foxes and many species of birds. Also home to some reptile and insect species.

© ReadyEdPubl i cat i ons •f orr evi ew pur po sesonl y• Temperature Tropical Forest

Nearly always warm Water

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Plants

Very wet all year around Soil Type

Thin soil lacking in nutrients

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A wide variety of plants. Hundreds of different tree species and plenty of plants with large leaves. Vines, mosses, ferns and palms are very common.

Animals

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Lots of bird species, small mammals such as bats and plenty of insects.

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Wonders of the Rainforest

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Where are these Ecoregions found?

© ReadyEdPubl i cat i ons •f orr evi ew pur posesonl y• Tropical Rainforest

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Tropical grasslands

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Alpine tundra

o c . c e Temperate Temperate r Desert h er o st Forest sugrasslands per

Taiga 10

Arctic tundra

Marine


Wonders of the Rainforest

The Rainforest Biome

What is a Tropic? A tropic is a hot, wet region that makes a wide belt around the centre of the earth. opic of These regions are known as the tr tropic AUSTRALIAN Cancer Cancer, © which liesa above thed equator and Re dyE Pub l i cat i ons RAINFOREST opic of Capricor n, which lies directly the tr tropic Capricorn f o rr evi ew pur posesonAREAS l y• below• the equator. The rainfall in the tropics is very high and the weather is always hot. Nearly all rainforests are close to the equator because this is the part of the earth that stays warm all year round. Australia’s rainforest In these regions, the temperature falls regions mostly lie in between 23° and 27° Celsius and is the an area known as the same for winter and summer. Wet TTropics ropics “W ropics”” in Far North Queensland. Tropical rainforests stay green all year and This area has the because of the warm, moist climate, highest recorded rainforest plants also grow very fast. rainfall in Australia. Rainforests are home to a great variety of The region includes animal and plant species. In fact, out of all the Daintree River the different types of biomes, the tropical and rainforest and the Atherton rainforest biome is home to the greatest Tablelands. variety of species. Wet Tropics

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Now it’s time to explore the rainforest biome. Rainforests are found in tropical and temperate regions of the world. Most of the world’s rainforests opical rainforests. are known as tr tropical

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Wonders of the Rainforest

Rainforests Around the World

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Tropical rainforest areas are found in Africa, Asia, Central and South America, Australia (in far north Queensland) and on the Pacific islands. The world’s largest tropical rainforest is the Amazon rainforest in South America, which covers about a third of The equator is an imaginary the continent. Tropical circle around the earth, rainforests cover only about exactly halfway between the 6% of the earth’s surface. north and south poles. The bands around the earth’s Temperatures at the ©degrees Rea dyEdP ubl i cat i ons equator (0 latitude) equator are high which are where you find most means water •f o rwill r e vi e w pu r pos esevaporates onl y• of the world’s tropical very quickly, and as a result rainforests. Most of them lie in it rains often, particularly opic of over forest areas, the area between the tr tropic Cancer (23.5° North latitude) opic of Capricor n and the tr tropic Capricorn Tropic of Cancer (23.5° South latitude). This region is 4800 kilometres and is usually just The referred to as “the Tropics tr opics” tropics” opics”. Naturally, rainforests are found in the tropical Tropic of regions of South and Capricor n Capricorn Central America, Africa, Oceania (the islands around Australia) and Asia.

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Wonders of the Rainforest

Where are the Rainforests? Olympic Rainforest (temperate)

NORTH AMERICA

Rainforests of Southeast Asia

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Rainforest of Central America

Amazon Rainforest

SOUTH AMERICA

Congo River Basin Rainforest

Madagascar AUSTRALIA Rainforest

ANTARCTICA

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MAJOR RAINFORESTS

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EUROPE ASIA

The Amazon River Basin in South Amazon America is the location for the world’s largest rainforests. Sadly, at least 40% of Rainforest: the original rainforest has been The Lungs of destroyed. the World Learn more about the Amazon rainforest z This rainforest is over a at this site: billion square acres in

© ReadyEdPubl i cat i ons area. www.eduweb.com/amazon.html •f orr evi ew pur pos e sonl y• z It is spread over the

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African countries of Brazil, Venezuela, Colombia, rainforests are Ecuador and Peru. located in the Sometimes this area is Congo River known as Amazonia, as Basin the Amazon River runs Basin. The other through these countries. rainforest areas of the world, such as the z More than half of the Daintree rainforest in northern world’s 10 billion plant and Queensland, are much smaller in area. animal species live in tropical rainforests. And Temperate rainfor ests are not found in rainforests one fifth of the world’s the tropical regions. There are fresh water is found in the temperate forests along the Pacific coast Amazon Basin. z More than 20% of the of the United States of America and world’s oxygen is produced Canada (from northern California to by the Amazon rainforest. Alaska), in New Zealand, Tasmania, The plants and trees recycle carbon dioxide and Chile, Ireland, Scotland and Norway. turn it into oxygen They cover less area than tropical through a process called rainforests and are much cooler regions. photosynthesis photosynthesis..

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Wonders of the Rainforest

Layers of the Rainforests? A rainforest has different layers of plant growth that are sometimes tas referred to as stra stratas tas. They include:

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r o e t s Bo r e p ok The Emergent Layer u Taller than allS the other

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Forest Floor

The Canopy

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plants in the forests are giant Emergent Layer gent trees, trees called emer emergent which grow to heights of 35 to 75 metres. They have Canopy small leaves, umbrellashaped crowns and tall © RThe ea dyubl i cat i ons slender trunks. trees ofE adP Understorey tropical• rainforest stay green f orr evi ew pur posesonl y• all year round.

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The next layer, the canopy canopy, is like a thick green carpet. This layer is made up of flat-topped trees that grow to 20 to 30 metres in height. The leaves of these trees block out a lot of the sunlight making some areas of the rainforest quite dark.


Wonders of the Rainforest The Understorey

The Forest Floor

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© Chris Lyon

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When you think of a Below the canopy are small rainforest, you may picture a trees that usually grow to jungle scene in your mind and heights of less than 4.5 you probably think of a mass metres, creating a shorter of tangled vines and bushes layer of very young trees and that you would need to cut shrubs that will later go on to form the canopy layer. Hardly through to move forward. Well, unlike most of the any sunshine reaches this movies and cartoons you may area so the plants have to have seen, a real rainforest grow larger leaves to reach has a fairly basic forest floor the sunlight. Most plants in that is usually clear of bushy this layer rarely grow taller plants as there is not enough than three metres. Many sunlight for plants animals © live R here including ea dyEdP ubl i c athese t i on s to survive. Instead, you would be jaguars, red-eyed tree frogs •f or r ev i ew pur polikely ses nl y• more too see seedlings, and leopards and there is also herbs and ferns growing on a large variety of insect the forest floor as these types species that call this place of plants can survive in dark their home. areas.

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Wonders of the Rainforest

Features of Forests What are the main differences between tropical and temperate rainforests?

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z Cool temperature. z Less than 20 tree species. z Trees generally have needle-like leaves. z Trees are approximately 500-1000 years old. z There are only a few kinds of ephiphytes in these rainforests and they are usually mosses or ferns. z There is a slow decomposition rate. z A temperate rainforest must receive at least 150 centimetres of rain a year to be classified as a rainforest. z The region covered by temperate rain forest experiences mild, wet winters and cool, foggy or cloudcovered summers. The mild winters permit year-round growth of the conifers, while the mild summers reduce the possibility of drought.

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Warm temperature. Hundreds of tree species. Trees generally have broad leaves. Trees are approximately 50-100 years old. There are lots of different kinds of ephiphytes in these rainforests. Ephiphytes include orchids, bromeliads, ferns and mosses. There is a fast decomposition rate. Rainforests lie between the tropic of Cancer and the tropic of Capricorn. They receive rainfall regularly throughout the year (200 centimetres to a metre per year). These forests remain warm and frost free all year long (average temperatures are between 21° Celsius and 26° Celsius) with very little daily change in temperature.

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or eB st r Tropicale Temperate o p ok Rainforest Rainforest u

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Some forests that are found in tropical regions are not classified as rainforests. Forests that receive uneven amounts of rainfall (e.g. monsoons followed by a dry season) are known as moist deciduous forests. Trees in these forests may drop their leaves in the dry season. 16


Wonders of the Rainforest

Why are Rainforests Important? Rainforests play a very important role in the earth’s ecosystem. Just as all of the parts of an individual ecosystem are important, the earth’s rainforests have a special role in the entire planet’s ecosystem. SO, without rainforests, the world’s delicate environmental balance would be upset.

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things such as medicinal plants, fruits and trees and are home to many millions of plant and animal species. However, did you know that rainforests also play a key role in cleaning up the earth’s atmosphere?

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r o e t s Bo r e p ok u Rainforests S provide us with many useful

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How do they do this? © ReadyEdPubl i cat i ons Well, it’s quite an amazing process. Humans and other animals ino •f or r ev i ewbreathe pur p sesonl y• oxygen and combine it with food and gy energy gy. water to make ener When humans breathe out, they produce a gas called carbon dioxide (CO2). This process is called respiration espiration. Other things can produce carbon dioxide as well, such as cars, factories THE LUNGS and gases left over after a fire has taken place. The rainforests, with Carbon dioxide isn’t much use to their huge amounts of humans, however, it is required by plants plant life, are to create energy. In fact, plants use this sometimes called the carbon dioxide and sunlight to create “lungs of the earth”, oxygen and water. This process is known as they produce clean as photosynthesis and it evens up the air for animals to balance of gases in the earth’s breathe. atmosphere.

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Wonders of the Rainforest

Plants and Energy All plants need sunlight, water and air so they can grow and store energy. Some plants require more sunlight than others. In a rainforest the trees in gent layer the emer emergent grow towards the sun so that they can absorb the sunlight into their leaves.

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Sunlight is absorbed through a plant’s leaves and then enters the plant’s cells. The cells are so tiny that they can only be seen using a microscope. Inside the cells is a substance known as chlor ophyll chlorophyll ophyll,, which ey The plants in the understor understorey est floor do not catches the sunlight as it falls and on the for forest © R eadyEdP bl i ca t i o ns is onu the leaf. The chlorophyll require as much sunlight, yet chlor oplasts contained ins chloroplasts •use f othe rr evi ew u r pose on l y• they still process of p found in each cell. photosynthesis to produce energy for growth.

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Wonders of the Rainforest

Plants and Energy What is Chlorophyll?

Chlorophyll is the substance that r o e t s B makes the leaves of plants green. r e oo plants would p Without chlorophyll u k not be able to photosynthesise. S

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Carbon dioxide also comes into the leaves through tiny holes underneath each leaf. Water comes up through the roots and flows into the leaves as well. Through these processes, the leaves have sunlight, water and air in them.

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Using the sunlight as energy, the chlorophyll changes the air and water into sugar or plant food that allows the © ReadyEdPubl i cat i ons plant to grow. The water in the leaves also •f o rr evi ew pur posesonl y• keeps the whole plant healthy by Did You making the leaves Know? firm to allow the plant to hold its shape.

. Photosynthesis is te o sometimes c So, the process of . c e described as the her r photosynthesis helps o most important process st super plants grow and also provides oxygen for humans and other animals. Basically, for growth to occur, plants need animals to provide carbon dioxide and animals need plants to provide oxygen!

on the planet. Learn more about plants and plant processes at:

mbgnet.mobot.org/bioplants/ food.html

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Wonders of the Rainforest

Rainforests and Water Rainforest Recycling

r o e t s Bo r e p ok u Not only do rainforests S recycle water, they also

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The Water Cycle In addition to cleaning the air, the rainforests also recycle and clean water. Like photosynthesis, the water cycle is a natural process and is happening all the time.

remove the carbon dioxide that is released into the atmosphere through a number of human activities such as the burning of coal. The rainforest trees and plants remove carbon dioxide from the How do rainforests recycle water? atmosphere and store it in their roots, stems, During the day, rainforests receive a lot leaves and branches.

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of rainfall. Because of the high temperatures in these regions, the water evaporates from the rainforest soil, rivers and leaves of the plants and rises, where it condenses to form clouds above the trees. When enough water vapour is collected in the clouds, it rains clean rainwater. By recycling the water in this way, rainforests help to keep the earth’s weather patterns stable. All of these processes work together as a system, creating a balance in the natural environment.

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Wonders of the Rainforest

Rainforests and the Atmosphere Greenhouse

r o e t s Bo r e Carbon dioxide (C0 ): p o u k Produced by the S burning of fossil fuels

Gases include: 2

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Did you know that the earth’s atmosphere works a lot like a greenhouse? You may have heard the term “greenhouse effect”, but what does this actually mean?

(such as coal, oil, and gas) and the burning of vegetation in deforestation. Methane (CH4): Produced by biological decay, animal waste and plant burning. Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs): Produced by industrial processes and products such as aerosols.

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The earth’s atmosphere is made up mostly of the gases oxygen and nitrogen. However, the atmosphere also contains traces of gases such as carbon dioxide, methane and ozone which trap some of the radiation and keep it inside the earth’s atmosphere.

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Well, the greenhouse effect is a natural occurrence that warms the earth and allows it to support life. It occurs when gases in the earth’s atmosphere allow the sun’s energy to reach earth and © ReadyEdPubl i cat i ons heat up the oceans and land. The earth’s effect light tos •greenhouse f orr ev i ewallows pur po esonl y• get in but does not allow the heat out, similar to a garden greenhouse.

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Without these gases (known as gr eenhouse gases) gases the temperature of greenhouse the earth would be very cold – in fact the earth would be covered with ice! Everywhere would look like Antarctica.

Nitrous oxide (N20): Produced by fertilisers and the burning of fossil fuels. 21


Wonders of the Rainforest

The Greenhouse Effect Did You Know?

r o e t s Bo r e Theo Tuvalu islands in p u k the Pacific Ocean S experienced four

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In the past, forests have helped keep the balance between the world’s vegetation and the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

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It is thought that carbon dioxide levels began to increase around 1850. Since then, billions of tonnes of greenhouse gases have caused an imbalance in the earth’s natural greenhouse. 22

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cyclones in 1941, which was an average year. In 1989, at a time when more than 30% of the earth’s ©human Rea dyEdbegan, Publ i c at i onareas s had rainforest Back before civilisation been destroyed, the increases in r carbon dioxide •f or evi e w pwere ur poses on l y• Tuvalu endured 21 usually a result of volcanic eruptions. Forests helped to restore the balance by tropical cyclones! releasing oxygen into the atmosphere through the process of photosynthesis photosynthesis. Today, only about half of the forested areas remain and this is not quite enough to keep a healthy balance. In addition, humans have created more carbon dioxide through the burning of fossil fuels.


Wonders of the Rainforest

Clearing the Rainforests What effect does clearing the rainforests have on our atmosphere?

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Well, when rainforests are carbon dioxide from the cleared, large amounts of atmosphere (through greenhouse gases are photosynthesis) and this will released into the atmosphere. affect the earth’s natural Scientists believe that balance in the future. rainforest destruction can lead Changes in the atmosphere to things like global can greatly affect the earth’s warming, where the weather patterns. These temperatures rise across the changes can lead to global earth. © Re adyEdP ubl i c at i onsan warming and possibly

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When• rainforests are cleared, increase ins natural disasters, f orr e vi e w pur pose onl y • it also means that there are earthquakes, such as earthquakes less forests to remove the cyclones and tsunamis.

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Wonders of the Rainforest

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There are thousands of plant species that are unique to rainforest regions. Biologists say that there are at least 250,000 plant species on earth. Of these, about 160,000 are classed as tr opical plants. Each of these tropical plants has special adaptations that allow it to grow in the humid rainforest environment.

ORCHID

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Rainforest Plants

Ephiphytes (Eppy-fites):

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MOSS AND LICHEN

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This is the name given to plants that grow above the ground surface. These plants use other plants or objects to help them grow. They do not have roots that grow in the ground. Because these plants grow on other plants, they are able to get to positions where they can reach the sunlight. Plants such as ferns, mosses and orchids are examples of epiphytes.

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Let’s have a look at some of the things you can todPubl © Rexpect eadyE i cat i ons see growing in a •rainforest: f orr evi ew pur posesonl y•


Wonders of the Rainforest

Air Plants Ephiphytes are sometimes known as air plants

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This is because they do not Bromeliads need to have their roots in soil. An epiphyte gets Bromeliads are a large nutrients and water from the opical epiphytes family of tr tropical air and also from the host and are among the most plant. Sometimes the roots beautiful plants on the will develop later and other planet. They usually have times the plant may damage sword shaped leaves and the host plant. Epiphytes are are able to hold a lot of able to reach the sunlight water. Pineapples and more easily they grow on Spanish moss belong © ifR ea dyEdP ubl i c at i onsto the another plant rather than the bromeliad family. f oEven rr e vi ew pur posesonl y• forest• floor. though epiphytes grow all over the world, they are mostly found in moist tropical forests.

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Wonders of the Rainforest

Climbing Plants

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liana Liana is the word used to describe the climbing pattern of these vines. Some common examples of lianas include philodendrons, monkey ladder and also rattan palms which are found in the rainforests of Asia. Rattans are used to make things like baskets, ropes and wicker furniture.

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© ReadyEdPu bl i cat i ons Leaping Lianas! •f orr evi ew pu r p o se… sonl y• Did you know z that 90% of the world’s vines are found in rainforests?

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Special Features: Lianas have special sucker roots (called tendrils) which they attach to trees. They are also able to wind themselves around a tree’s trunk. Once the lianas reach the sunlight, they often spread out and move on to other trees, creating a network of vines which help to keep the trees standing during strong winds. However, usually if one tree falls down, they will take with them the other trees that are tangled with the vines!

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z they produce fruits and flowers

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Liana Vines Lianas are a type of woody climbing vine which are very common in tropical rainforests. They come in all shapes and sizes and some types can grow to almost a kilometre in length! These vines begin life on the forest floor but use trees for support as they climb towards the sunlight.

which animals feed on?

z they provide a way for animals

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to travel between trees without having to come down to the ground?

Did you know that Tarzan swings through the rainforests using lianas? If he used a normal vine he would fall, as only lianas have that rope-like strength to support such a weight.


Wonders of the Rainforest

A Range of Roots buttress roots

Stilt Roots

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op rroots oots as Stilt roots (or pr prop Rainforests have soil that is they are sometimes known as) usually low in nutrients. are another common sight in Most of the nutrients rainforests. available are near the Trees such as mangroves, that surface level and so most grow in wet muddy soil, need trees of the rainforest have a different kind of support very shallow roots. Buttress roots are a special feature system, especially if the area of some of the very tall is likely to flood. Stilt roots are trees. These types of roots a bit like giant pitchfork grow out from the base of prongs. They come out from the tree, allowing the tree the trunk and grow © R e a d y E d P u b l i c a t i o n s to gather more nutrients downwards, planting from• the surrounding soil. f o rr evi e w pur poses oninl y • themselves firmly the Another purpose for these ground. This action helps to roots is that they stop the keep the tree standing. tree from falling over. Sometimes these roots grow as high as five metres above the ground just like the ones in this picture!

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Wonders of the Rainforest

Carnivorous Rainforest Plants We’ve all heard of animals that eat plants. But have you heard of plants that eat animals?

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o c . che e r Commono t r s supName: er Pitcher plant

Scientific Name:

Nepenthes rafflesiana

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Even more unique is the pitcher plant plant, found in the rainforests of south-east Asia. The pitcher plant grows to about 10 metres tall and may have “pitchers” which are up to 30 centimetres in length. These pitchers are usually crammed full of digested insects. Eeeww! These scary plants are also able to eat small mammals and reptiles that attempt to steal the insects from the pitcher!

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Well, it’s true. Some plants Common Name: obtain their nutrients from Venus fly trap animal matter. One of the best Scientific Name: known carnivorous plants is the Dionaea muscipula Venus fly trap trap. Most of the carnivorous plants have some kind of cavity filled with a strong smelling nectar that attracts insects such as ants and flies. Re asteep dyEdPubl i cat i ons Inside, the© sides are and lined with downward pointing •f orr evi ew pur posesonl y• hairs. Once insects go into this cavity, they usually get trapped in the hairs.


Wonders of the Rainforest

More Mean Plants

r o e t s B r Check e oo out p u k www.meanplants.com S

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There are lots of different species of sundew plants and over half of them are found in the tropical regions of Australia. The lance-leaved sundew seen below is found in the rainforests of Far North Queensland. This sundew species has leaves in the shape of a lance and these can grow up to 20 centimetres in length.

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© ReadyEdPubl i cat i ons Common Name: Scientific Name: • f o r r e v i e w p u r p o s eson l y• Lance-leaved sundew Drosera adelae

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The sticky leaves are covered in dew and attract insects which are then trapped and digested!

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Wonders of the Rainforest

Unusual Rainforest Plants

ONE METRE

 Measuring just over a metre

across, these brightly coloured and very rare rafflesia flowers Flower Facts around nine months to © ReadyEdtake P u bl i cat i ons develop into a flower from a z Rafflesia plants have bud. •f or r evi ew pu r posesonl y•

hardly any stems and no leaves!

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asites z They are par parasites asites, which mean they live off other plants.

During this process the buds are sometimes referred to as “brown cabbages” as they are not really a pretty sight. When the bud is fully developed, the petals start to uncurl. The actual flower may take up to 18 hours to completely open up. After about six days the flower deteriorates and turns into brownish slime!

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Common Name: r o e t s BRafflesia r e oo p Scientific Name: u k S Rafflesia arnoldii

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Check out the world’s largest flower!

. te o z The flower can weigh c . c e her r up to kilograms. o t s super z There are 18 rafflesia

species. z The flowers smell like

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There are many different rafflesia species and they are found in the rainforests of Indonesia and Borneo.


Wonders of the Rainforest

Unusual Rainforest Plants

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The strangler fig is a very strange plant indeed.

Scientific Name:

It is a very fast growing tree and starts life as a parasite where it lodges itself in the cracks of the bark of a host tree. After the seed has germinated, it develops air roots which take in nutrients and water from the air and the host tree.

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© ReadyEdPubl i cat i ons Name: •f orr evi ew pur posesCommon o n l y • Strangler Fig

start an underground root system. This is when things get scary!

o c . che e The strangler fig then starts to r o t r s the host tree. New supe r “strangle”

The roots then grow until they reach the ground and then

branches grow and if they reach the ground, they send out roots and new shoots. These trees are very common in the rainforests of Central America.

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Wonders of the Rainforest

Fruits of the Forest

What are you eating?

At© least of the diet of developed countries such as R80% ea d yEd Publ i cat i o ns Australia and New Zealand came from the rainforest. • f orr evi ew pur posesonl y• How many of these tropical delights have you eaten?

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NUTS z Brazil nuts z Cashew nuts

SPICES z Black pepper z Cayenne z Pepper z Chocolate z Cinnamon z Cloves z Ginger z Sugar z Tumeric z Coffee z Vanilla

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FRUITS z Figs z Oranges z Lemons z Bananas z Guavas z Pineapples z Mangoes z Tomatoes z Coconuts z Avocados

o c . che e r o t r s super VEGETABLES GRAINS z Rice

z Corn z Potatoes z Yams

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Did you know that almost 3000 types of fruit grow in tropical rainforests? Only about 200 are actually eaten today but ancient peoples such as the Indians of the rainforest, used to consume as many as 2000 different fruit species.


Wonders of the Rainforest

Marvellous Medicines Medicine Men

Apart from all the beautiful food sources, rainforests also give us a range of medicines. Most of these medicines come from plants and about 25% of the world’s medicine comes from tropical rainforest ingredients.

Many indigenous tribes live in rainforest areas in South America. Medicine men (called shamans) also live in the rainforests although most of the medicine men that are left are now more than 70 years old.

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Rainforest medicine

These men are very wise and over time they have passed their wisdom on to other people in their tribal groups. They have gathered their own knowledge from the medicine men before them and their knowledge of indigenous plants and their medicinal properties is very valuable.

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The remedies made from these plants include © that Rehelp adto yEdPubl i cat i ons medicines fight cancer and other deadly •f or r ev i ew pur posesonl y• diseases.

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It is important that these medicine men are able to share what they know about plants.

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Wonders of the Rainforest

Forest Nasties and Goodies

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miracle medicines

Madagascar P eriwinkle: Periwinkle:

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Two special medicines created from this plant © ReadyEdPuhave bl i c at i ons increased the chances of o survival for •f orproduce r evi eplenty w pur poses nl y• The rainforests children who are of exotic fruits and berries but did you know that the suffering from rainforests contain many leukaemia. poisonous plants as well? Scientists and Some berries and nuts might chemists are now look tasty but you should working alongside the always be careful about what rainforest medicine men you eat as some of those to find cures for some berries can be poisonous. of the world’s major Also, a lot of the food that diseases. In the process animals such as birds and they are learning about monkeys feast on, can turn the healing properties out to be very dangerous to of native plants. humans!

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Wonders of the Rainforest

Rainforest Wildlife Tropical rainforests are home to many of the earth’s most unusual animals.

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r o e t s BoTo give you an idea r e p ohow of varied the u k wildlife is in a S rainforest, did you know ...

Some of the rainforest animals that you may be familiar with are jaguars, gorillas and tarantulas, but have you ever heard of a macaw, a capybara or even a piraiba?

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·z A single pond in the Amazonian rainforest can be a home for a greater Half of the world’s species of variety of fish that is found animals (mammals, fish, in l ALL the rivers birds, insects, and © Rspiders eady EdPub i cofat i o nsin Australia? amphibians) live in tropical •f orr evi ew pur posesonl y• rainforests. ·z A There are so many species of square wildlife that some have not kilometre of rainforest in even been identified or Indonesia or Borneo may named yet. contain more than 700 tree species, which is more than the total number of tree species in North America?

You can read about rainforest animals at this site: www .blueplanetbiomes.org/rnfrst_animal_page.htm www.blueplanetbiomes.org/rnfrst_animal_page.htm

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Wonders of the Rainforest

Creature Feature How many of these rainforest dwellers have you heard of?

or e s assassin e bug –t bugs that eat bugs Bo r Teac he r

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p ok u bir d ea ting spider – tarantula bird eating S bintur ong – a furry mammal binturong bonobo – chimpanzee

capybara – world’s largest rodent

© ReadyEdPubl i cat i ons chlam ydosaurus – the frilled lizard chlamydosaurus •f orr evi ew pur posesonl y• dragonfl y – hovering insect dragonfly

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green iguana – plant eater

ho wler monke y – loudest monkey howler monkey

. tequetzal – beautiful bird o c . che e r o t r ser val – long-legged serv swild cat super siamang – long-armed ape

tarsier – enormous-eyed mammal ta wny fr ogmouth – strange name! tawny frogmouth 36


Wonders of the Rainforest

Talkin’ Toucans Toucan Trivia z There are at least 40 different toucan species.

r o e t s Bo r z Toucans live in small flocks. e p o u k z They mate once a year. S z Toucans sleep in hollow trees.

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Toucans live in the rainforests of South America and are some of the noisiest birds in the forest. They can make all sorts of strange sounds like barks, croaks and grunts.

z Small toucan species grow to about 36 centimetres long. z Larger species reach 64 centimetres.

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The toucan is famous for its colourful plumage and its zu They feed mainly on s small © R e a d y E d P b l i c a t i o n enormous, brilliantly coloured fruits. bill. Its beak mayp •fascinating f orr ev i ew ur ose so nl yto• zp Toucans use their bill tear be black, blue, red, brown, off larger fruits from trees. green, white, yellow or a z When a toucan sleeps, it combination of all of these turns its head right around colours. The area around the and places its bill down the toucan’s eye is bare of centre of its back. feathers but it is often brightly coloured. z During the breeding season,

o c . the male and female toucans che e r oin sitting on the turns t r s supetake r eggs. The eggs hatch after

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two weeks and the young toucans stay in the nest for about eight weeks.

Check out the Toco Toucan: .org/Anlife99/jerejones/tocotoucanindex2.htm www www..whozoo whozoo.org/Anlife99/jerejones/tocotoucanindex2.htm 37


Wonders of the Rainforest

Magic Macaws

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The macaw is a large parrot Meet a Macaw with an array of coloured feathers that may include Common Name: blue, light blue, red, yellow Scarlet Macaw and green. These birds have Scientific Name: long pointed wings and a Ara macao heavy, powerful bill. The lower beak of the macaw • The scarlet macaw is one of about 18 different types of is black but the upper part of macaws. the beak is light in colour. The different species of macaws • They are excellent climbers vary in size from 30 to 100 and nest in hollows in trees. centimetres. • They have the same mate for life. Macaws live in the rainforest © Re adyEd•PThe ub l i ca t i on stwo areas of Mexico, through female usually lays Central America and south to to four eggs and the • f o r r e v i e w p u r p o s e s o n l y• Argentina. incubation time is 24 or 25 days. Long Live the Macaws! • The young fledglings stay with Did you know that macaws can live to be over 100 years old? their parents for up to a year. The diet of the scarlet macaw is insects and the fruit and nuts of jungle plants.

Read and see more on the scarlet macaw: .belizezoo .org/zoo/zoo/birds/mac/mac1.html www www.belizezoo .belizezoo.org/zoo/zoo/birds/mac/mac1.html 38


Wonders of the Rainforest

Interesting Insects

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Goliath Beetle Giant Rainforests are also home to Goliath some of the biggest living insects on the planet. The This beetle first largest insect alive is the appeared on the enormous goliath beetle earth some 300 that lives in the rainforests million years ago of Africa. These massive bugs and scientists can weigh up to 100 grams and think they may measure up to 10 centimetres long! have been even The different species range in colour bigger in size than from completely white to all black. They they are now! sometimes have markings on their backs. Even though their exoskeleton is like Common Name: © Rthe ea dyEdisPstill, ubl i ca t i o n s heavy armour, huge beetle Goliath Beetle amazingly, able to fly. •f orr evi ew pur posesonl y• Goliath beetles use their long claws to Scientific Name: pierce vines and drink the sap inside. Goliathus regius They also eat dead plants, nectar, pollen of plants and animal waste.

© Chuck Vaughan Blue Morpho Butterfly Morpho means “beautiful” and the beautiful morpho butterfly species are one of the Common Name: prettiest insects on the planet. There are Blue Morpho about 80 different morpho species and Scientific Name: nearly all of them are found in the Morpho rhetenor rainforest regions of South America. These fabulous insects have a wingspan of between 75 to 150 millimetres.. Check out more of these beautiful insects at: www.butterflyutopia.com/gallery.html

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Wonders of the Rainforest

Scary Spiders

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Happy Face Spiders Bird Spider of Happy face spiders live in the rainforests of Hawaii. They are South America very small spiders – only about This scary spider is 10 millimetres long. classified as a tarantula and How did this spider get is the largest spider in the its funny name? world. It can grow to 9 Each spider has a pattern on centimetres long and can its back that looks just like a spread its legs to about 18 happy face. These markings centimetres. help to keep predators away. Some bird spiders live in The happy face spider lives trees where they feast on and crawls around tree trunks small birds! Others live on and leaves. eats only small ©ItR ea dy EdP ubl i cat i ons the forest floor in the flies, ants, crickets and other Amazon rainforest iny Brazil f o rr evi e u r pos esonl • insects• that are caught inw its p and are known to eat small web. This unique spider is reptiles and amphibians. rarely seen because it is so small and it lives nowhere else in the world. Read a story about this spider at:

© IMSI

. te o .thinkquest.org/J002043/ library library.thinkquest.org/J002043/ c . che e r o t r s super

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Wonders of the Rainforest

Freaky Fish Alert! The rainforest is home to some of the world’s most deadly (and ugly) tropical fish! Read about some of the creatures below.

r o e t s Bo r z e piranha that live in p the rainforests o u k and rivers of South America. They S swim in cloudy, slow moving water

Prowling Piranhas

their sharp triangular-shaped teeth. Not nice! Piranhas have a keen sense of smell that leads them to blood in the water. They eat fruits and seeds that have fallen in the water as well as native fish, amphibians, cattle and young caiman (a species of crocodile).

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z Catfish are found in fresh water

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rainforest regions as well as other parts of the world. They are a very strange looking fish and have welldeveloped feelers on their heads. These feelers look a little like the whiskers of a cat, which is the reason for the name. In the rivers that run through the rainforests of South America, there is a giant catfish that can grow up to three metres long and weigh up to 225 kilograms. It is called a pir aiba and it eats other fish. It piraiba especially likes to eat piranhas!

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that has a temperature between 24°C and 27°C. Piranhas have deep bodies that are flattened on the sides. Most piranhas are olive-green to blue-black, with red or orange coloured bellies. The most common species is the red piranha, which can grow to nearly 30 centimetres long. Piranhas are carnivorous fish yet are also known to eat plants, making them omnivorous. They have 27-36 teeth and powerful muscles that operate the lower jaw. Sometimes piranhas swim alone and sometimes they swim in schools. A school of piranhas may attack a much larger animal and bite away pieces of its flesh with

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Wonders of the Rainforest

Tropical Mammals Lazy Sloths

The capybara is famous for being the world’s largest living rodent. These funny looking creatures live near swamps, ponds, lakes and rivers in the Amazon rainforest of South America. z The body length of a capybara ranges

Sloths spend most of their lives upside down in trees and are found in the jungles of the Amazon in South America.

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Hairy Capybara

from 1 metre to 1.3 metres and its shoulder height is 45 centimetres to 60 centimetres. A male can weigh between 36 to 70 kilograms and a female can weigh 40 to 72 kilograms. z Capybaras have tough skin that is z These super lazy mammals sleep covered with thin brown or red hair. z Their front legs have four toes and are for up to 15 hours a day and spend the rest of their time eating. shorter than their back legs, which z Sloths eat leaves and buds. only have three toes. Because they burn the energy that z Capybara means “master of the the food gives them very slowly, grasses” in the language of the they don’t need much food. Guarani Indians. They feed on the grasses that grow in or near water. z Some species of sloth also eat twigs, fruits and small prey. z Capybaras live in groups and communicate with each other using · z Sloths are hunted by many animals such as snakes, jaguars and even a whistles and barks. large eagle-like bird called a harpy. z When they are on the ground, To help them hide from predators, capybaras cannot walk on their feet. sloths have long grey or brown hair Instead, they have to pull their body that makes them difficult to see in along. In water, they are known to be the rainforest. In the rainy season, very good swimmers. their hair can be covered in a coat of algae, which makes them even harder to see and gives them a green tinge so that they look a little bit like a moving bush!

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Wonders of the Rainforest

Rainforest Reptiles Amazing Anaconda

Caimans belong to the same reptilian family as crocodiles and alligators. They live in the rainforest rivers of Central and South America.

The anaconda, also known as the water boa, is the largest known snake in the world and is found only in tropical South American rainforest regions. There are many stories of anaconda sightings where the anaconda is over 30 metres long but most of these stories are exaggerated. However, a few cases have been confirmed where the snake has reached 10 metres in length which is certainly large enough! The longest anaconda length ever recorded is 11.4 metres.

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Crawling Caimans

The black caiman is an endangered species. It is the largest of the caiman species and can grow up ©R adyEdPubl i cat i ons to 5 metres in e length.

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Two common types of anacondas are the green anaconda and the yellow anaconda. They are both known for their bad tempers and are very eager to bite anything that gets in their way. Green anacondas can grow to twice the length of yellow anacondas.

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The dwarf caiman is the smallest species and grows to about 1.5 metres long. The spectacled caiman can grow up to 2.5 metres in length.

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Wonders of the Rainforest

Rainforest Reptiles Yellow anaconda:

Anacondas have olive-green skin, often with many black rings or spots. z Their bite is not poisonous, however, their many teeth can inflict deep wounds. z Anacondas usually bite things when cornered by enemies. z The males of the species are much smaller than the females.

green anaconda:

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This anaconda can be found in the drainage areas of the Orinoco and Amazon Rivers in South America. The typical habitats of these animals are swamps, marshes, brush covered banks of rivers and streams.

Read on if you dare!

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This anaconda is a semiaquatic boa species, spending a lot of time in the water but also living on the land. It is found in South America, in Bolivia, Paraguay, Uruguay, north eastern Argentina and western Brazil.

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Anaconda Facts

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Like all boa constrictors, an anaconda kills its prey by coiling itself around the animal, squeezing it until it suffocates, and then swallowing the animal whole! Anacondas have a jaw that is able to be unhinged so that they can fit very large animals through their mouth. Many of these animals are much wider than the anaconda itself and these scary snakes are known to swallow animals that weigh more than half their own body weight! Snake your way to: www.extremescience.com/BiggestSnake.htm

. te anacondas ever attack large mammals.oUsually Only the largest cdeer, the the anaconda preys on smaller mammals such as small . c e he r capybara, the tapir (the largest native mammal in the Amazon) o t r s s up er and caimans. They also eat small birds, fish and aquatic mammals.

It usually takes a long time for an anaconda to digest an animal and they may not need to eat anything else for several months. During this time, the anaconda is extremely lazy and spends most of its time basking in the sun along a riverbank. A large female boa constrictor can give birth to as many as 50 live young at a time! 44


Wonders of the Rainforest

Slimy Amphibians The rainforest biome is home to thousands of amphibian species. Curly Caecilians What is an Ae caecilian looks like an or Amphibian?r st B

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4,000 kinds of amphibians, including frogs, toads, salamanders, newts and caecilians. All of these animals have scaleless skin and most of them hatch from eggs laid in water or moist ground. Amphibians usually begin life in the water as tadpoles tadpoles. As they develop into adults, they start to look very different to how they looked when they were young. Some adults continue to live in water, but most spend their lives on land. Almost all amphibians return to the water to find mates and produce young.

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earthworm but is actually a legless, tailless amphibian. Some types of caecilians are aquatic but most live in burrows in the swampy areas of tropical rainforests.

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Courtesy Microsoft Design Gallery

Most caecilians are about 30 centimetres long. Even though they have eyes, they are not able to see very well. Instead, they have a tentacle that comes in and out of a groove on the side of their head and this is their main sensory organ.

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Amphibian = double life Most amphibians start life in the water and live on land when they reach their adult life stage. 45


Wonders of the Rainforest

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Ribbit! Did you know that frogs are thought to be one of the first groups of animals on earth to start making noises in an effort to communicate. Check out some other frog sounds at this website: .frogsonice.com/froggy/sounds.shtml www www.frogsonice.com/froggy/sounds.shtml 46

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Some of interesting •the f omost rr e vi ew pur posesonl y• features of frogs are the noises they make. It is mostly the male frog that croaks. He does this to attract female frogs for breeding and also to warn away other male frogs from his territory.

Poison arrow frog

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Frogs are amphibians Males are capable and live on every of making a continent of the number of world except sounds, such as Antarctica. The clicking sounds, tropical croaking, rainforest regions whistling and contain the burping. Noisy! highest number of In South America, species of frogs. males start “calling” at Poison arrow frogs and tree the beginning of the rainy frogs are among the most season that occurs between common frogs found in October and March. tropical areas. © ReadyEdP ubl i cat i ons

© IMSI Red-eyed tree frog

Fearless Frogs


Wonders of the Rainforest

Colourful Creatures Slippery Salamanders

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Iguanas are not amphibians but they are definitely colourful. These reptiles usually live in deserts or other dry habitats, but a few species live in tropical rainforests. The green iguana, also called the common iguana, is found in regions ranging from Mexico to southern Brazil and Paraguay. Green iguanas can grow to 1.8 metres in length and have a large flap of skin called a dewlap at their throat and a crest of scales along their back and long tail. Their colour ranges from grey to green, with brown bands around the body and tail. Green iguanas and their eggs are often eaten for food and are sometimes captured for the pet trade. As a result, green iguanas are in danger of extinction in many areas.

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Green Iguana

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Even though salamanders look like lizards, they are actually another type of amphibian. Most salamanders live on land in rotten logs, under rocks, in caves and in other cool, dark, moist places. However, they choose to mate and lay their eggs in water. Some salamanders spend their whole lives in the water, while others never go into water at all.

Special Salamander Features

A few types of salamander are hard to see in their natural environment because they have moist, dark skin. Others are very brightly coloured.

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To protect themselves from predators, the brightly-coloured salamanders sometimes give off a poison through their skin when they are in danger.

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Salamanders also have a long tail which helps them swim. Their strong sense of smell and sticky tongues enable them to catch worms and insects. 47


Wonders of the Rainforest

Animal Tactics

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Camouflage

This occurs when an animal blends into its environment, making it difficult for a predator to see it. Some animals can make themselves virtually invisible while they are not moving.

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the chameleon, physically change their appearance to blend in with their surroundings.

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The Creative animals of the rainforest camouflage live in different regions of the forest. For instance, a z Stick insects can range of bird species will be found flying look like trees and twigs. about the emergent layer and also in the canopy layer. Tree-loving animals z Some butterfly such as sloths will also be found in the species can look like canopy region, while larger mammals the leaves of plants. such as jaguars will live on the forest z Sloths often floor. Insects are about the only animal develop a greenish group that will be found living in all tinge when their fur sections of the rainforest. becomes covered a layer of Prowling ©Predators ReadyEdPubl i cawith t i o s algae. n This allows Most animals in the rainforest are in them to hide orr evi e pur poses onl y• between trees. danger• off being eaten byw predators. These animals have a range of tactics z Some lizard to help them avoid being eaten: species, such as

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Wonders of the Rainforest Unusual Markings

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Mites and ticks: These tiny little creatures can be just as scary as the bigger rainforest beasts! They can cause itchy swellings which can lead to headaches and numbness. Cr eepy cr awlies: Spiders, Creepy crawlies: scorpions, centipedes and wasps are just a few of the bugs that can give you a painful bite or sting. Leeches: These blood sucking nasties will attach to the skin and cause all sorts of trouble. The best way to get rid of them is to expose them to a flame or sprinkle salt on them. Snakes: We all know the dangers of snakes and in the rainforest, there are plenty!

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Poisonous animals, such as the poison arrow frog, are brightly coloured with distinct markings and patterns. This helps other animals know that they are poisonous. If a predator eats one of these animals it will usually get sick and may even die. If it does survive, it will remember the markings and know better next time!

Wandering around the rainforest? Look out for …

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butterfly is another example of the use of interesting markings. This poisonous insect warns many predators to stay away. The monarch gets its poison when it is at the caterpillar stage of its life cycle. It eats the toxic milkweed plant and the poison stays in its system. Animals that prey on a monarch butterfly will usually become very sick and vomit, however, they do not die. Harmless butterflies, such as the viceroy butterfly, try to imitate the monarch butterfly to keep predators away.

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Wonders of the Rainforest

The Rainforest Food Web for animals to compete for habitats due to the amounts of rainforest areas being destroyed.

r o e t However, if a species becomes s B r e othe extinct, then balance of the p o u food web can bek affected and S this can cause all sorts of

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The rainforest animals are made up of both meat eaters car nivor es (car carnivor nivores es) and plant eaters herbivor es (herbivor herbivores es). Like most food webs that exist throughout the world, there are more planteating animals than meateating animals and there are also more plants for the plant eaters to eat. Smaller animals outnumber the larger animals to even up the food web. This explains why insects are the most numerous of animal species.

problems in the food chain.

the food web

Tertiary Consumers (eat secondary consumer) Secondary Consumers (eat primary consumer)

Primary Consumers (eat producers)

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Producers (plants)

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prey and find food sources. There is also an increased need

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Two examples of a rainforest food chain: Producer

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Secondary Consumer

Primary Consumer






Wonders of the Rainforest

People of the Rainforest water as other people as they get plenty of water from the foods that they eat.

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Rainforest groups live in all of the major rainforest areas of the world. Each group is unique with its own rich culture and ancient traditions. All of these groups have a great respect for their rainforest home.

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Thousands of plant and animal species call the rainforests home, but did you know that millions of people also live in these areas? In fact, there are about 50 million tribal people – or indigenous people – that depend completely on the forests for food and shelter. The rainforest people live in harmony with the environment. They have been using a range of rainforest plants and animals without causing any harm to them or their habitat. They have taught other people about the unique food and medicines that the rainforest can provide.

Sweating?

Not the rainforest people! Because the air is s so full of © ReadyEdPub l i ca t i on moisture, sweating doesn’t •f orr evi ew pur posesonl y• actually cool the body as the rate of evaporation is low.

Sadly, all of these indigenous tribes are in danger of dying out in the future because the areas they live in are being destroyed.

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For example, rainforest people do not need to drink as much

© Corel, Huli tribesmen of Papua New Guinea.

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Rainforest people have adapted to the rainforest climate and environment over thousands of years. This means that their bodies have developed certain physical features that are specially suited to a rainforest environment.

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Adapting to the Environment

Endangered Cultures:

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Wonders of the Rainforest

People of the Rainforest: Congo Read about some of the tribal rainforest groups that live in the Congo in Africa.

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Learn more about the pygmy tribes at: www .pygmies.info www.pygmies.info 52

Pygmy Clay Statue from Cameroon, Central Africa. © Paul Niuewnhuysen

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Pygmies of the Congo © David Mendosa, 1967 www.mendosa.com

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The Pygmies Pygmy Tribes The pygmies are one of the shortest The Bambuti, the groups of people on the planet. They Batwa, the Bayaka and grow to about 1.2 metres tall. The pygmy tribes are hunter-gatherers, which the Bagyeli are names of some of the pygmy means that they hunt animals such as antelopes, pigs, fish and even monkeys. tribes found in the They gather fruits, berries, yams and rainforest regions of nuts for their food. The men use tools Africa. Did you notice such as spears, arrows and nets to help that all of these names them hunt. the Australian start with “Ba”? ©Like Re aearly dyEdPubl i c at i on s Aboriginal groups, the women are Well, “Ba” means people. •f o rcollecting r evi ew ur pose sonl y• responsible for the p nuts and berries. These tribal groups are nomadic which means they move on to other areas of the rainforest once the food supplies are low. By doing this, they give that section of the rainforest time to replenish.


Wonders of the Rainforest

People of the Rainforest: Africa and the governments of that region are encouraging them to settle in an area and farm the land.

r o e t s Bo r e p ok pygmy u The Baka S tribe is found in

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Cameroon in central Africa. They hunt animals such as antelopes, pigs and monkeys and go fishing in the rivers. They gather honey, wild yams, berries and other © R e a d y E d P u b l i c a t i o n s This people of this group are plants. The forest provides all also known honey •f oas rr evi ew pur po seshowever, onl ythey • their needs, gatherers. A bird called the often work for nearby farmers greater honeyguide flies to the in exchange for farming beehives to show the Mbuti produce. Like most tribes in where the honey can be Africa, this pygmy tribe is in found. danger of disappearing as the rainforest areas are destroyed. This tribe is in great danger of dying out as much of their rainforest habitat has been destroyed. The Mbuti tribe are a nomadic people

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The Mbuti are a pygmy group that live in the Ituri forest in the rainforests of Congo and Zaire in Africa. They make their clothing from leaves and other rainforest materials, although they often don’t wear many clothes due to the heat. The Mbuti build homes from the branches and leaves.

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Wonders of the Rainforest

People of the Rainforest: Papua New Guinea

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The Huli are one of hundreds of tribes found in the rainforests and remote highland areas of Papua New Guinea. Like the pygmy tribes the Huli also live as hunter-gatherers, although they do plant and harvest crops. In their villages, the men and women live separately and the men are known for their colourful headdresses, which play a big part in Huli ceremonies.

out this site on the web: www .papuanewguinea.net/ www.papuanewguinea.net/ Wigmen.html

© ReadyEdPubl i cat i ons The headdresses of p •f orare r emade vi ew ur posesonl y•

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The Gimi are another group of indigenous rainforest people that live in the highlands of Papua New Guinea. The men hunt small mammals and birds, and the women look after gardens of sweet potatoes and other similar crops. The Penan of Borneo, north of Papua New Guinea, are often thought to be the most ancient of the rainforest tribes with records showing that they have lived there for almost 40,000 years!

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actual human hair and are decorated with flowers, feathers and fur.

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Wonders of the Rainforest

People of the Rainforest: Australia

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Most of the tropical rainforest in Australia is found in a small area of Far North Queensland known as the “Wet Tropics”.

fruits and seeds could be eaten straight away while others contained poisons and only parts of them could be eaten. · zThey knew which parts of which plants could be used as medicine for certain illnesses. · zIt was important that the Ngadjonji The are an plants were harvested at a indigenous people that live in certain time of the year. The Ngadjonji used their the rainforest regions of Far knowledge to find the best North Queensland in the materials to create woven Daintree River National Park. baskets and bags and they These people have lived in the used the buttress roots of trees to make weapons. rain jungles for thousands of

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o c . years. They have great cah e r er o knowledge of the region that t s s r u e p has been passed on by their ancestors. They have a deep respect for nature and understand the cycles and processes of the environment. An unidentified rainforest group in Far North Queensland. Photo courtesy of Cairns Historical Society.

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Wonders of the Rainforest

People of the Rainforest: Australia The rainforest Aboriginal people are the original owners of the Wet Tropics rainforests. At least 20 different Aboriginal groups live in these regions and the rainforest plays a big role in their culture and spirituality. The natural features of the rainforests such as the waterfalls, rivers, mountains, smimming holes and trees are very important to these people as they symbolise natural features that were created in the Dreaming or the Dreamtime. Over thousands of years, these groups have passed on their valuable knowledge of the rainforests to younger generations through stories, songs and dances. Today’s rainforest people have learnt how to use the rainforests for food and medicine while at the same time knowing how to respect the environment and to preserve it for future generations. Today, the Wet Tropics rainforest regions are listed as a World Heritage Property for its natural values. The Aboriginal rainforest peoples are hoping to have the area recognised for its indigenous cultural values to protect the native peoples of these areas.

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The Kuku Yalanji are another rainforest group of Far North Queensland and live near Mossman Gorge. Like the Ngadjonji, they live in harmony with the environment.

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Sometimes the Kuku Yalanji are referred to as the Kuku Yalariji

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. temore about Find out o c . them by visiting: che e r o t r www .daintreerainforest.com/aboriginal.html www.daintreerainforest.com/aboriginal.html s super

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Wonders of the Rainforest

People of the Amazon Region

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The Amazon River basin is home to thousands of r o e t s tribal Bogroups. er

The Yanomami people live in the rainforests of South America in Venezuela and Brazil and are known as a Native American people. Today about 95% of the Yanomami live deep within the Amazon rainforest as compared to the 5% who live along the major rivers. The word “yanomami” means “human being”.

Yanomami tools:

© ReadyEdPubl i cat i ons •f orr evi ew pur posesonl y• zcooking vessel

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The Huaorani people live in the rainforests of Ecuador in South America and their name also translates to “human beings”. This tribe is described as semi-nomadic as they usually move to another area after ten years. As hunters and gatherers, they also try to live off the land but go to great lengths to ensure that no animal or plant species is endangered through their activities. They make sure that the natural resources are not over used. The Huaorani live in small villages and grow maize (corn), peanuts, sweet potatoes, chilli and many different fruits.

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Huaorani Children, Courtesy of CPC Ecuador Project

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Wonders of the Rainforest

The Amahuaca are located in the tropical jungles of Peru. They build houses of sticks thatched with palm leaves, which are built on stilts or rafts to protect them from floods. They are self-sufficient and take everything they need from the rainforests, making sure that resources are used wisely.

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r o e t s Bo r e p ok u S medicine. After a few years, Caring for the Land

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the soil becomes very low in nutrients as the plants have used them up. Crops won’t grow very well in this soil and weeds start to grow. The rainforest “farmers” will then © ReadyEdP ub l i ccrops at i o s move their ton another area that will be cleared by •f orr evi ew pu r p o s e s o n l y • burning. The old area is left to recover and usually 10 - 50 years will go by before crops While many of the rainforest are planted there again. This peoples move around to find gives the soil time to renew its better food sources, some of nutrients. them build homes like the Rainforest huts above and even plant People Today small gardens and farms. Because the world’s rainforest areas The rainforest people are are now much smaller, many farmers very careful with their use of have smaller areas of land to choose from. There are also many nonthe land. Usually, they will indigenous people using the land for start by clearing a small area farming. Many rainforest groups in of land. This is done by Indonesia and Africa, have to remain burning. Once the land is in one area and that land becomes overused until it is not able to be clear, they will plant a variety used for farming at all. of plants for both food and Amazon Hut © www.mongabay.com

The rainforest people respect the land that they live in and realise that it is a precious resource.

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Amahuaca people. Source Unknown

People of the Amazon Region


Wonders of the Rainforest

Rainforests Under Threat

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Many of the world’s rainforests are under threat because they are being Did You cleared for mining, farming and Know? logging. The clearing can result in the destruction of many different species of z Tropical rainforests are the world’s oldest plants and animals. living ecosystems. Biologists and other z Over 78% of the researchers world’s old growth estimate that 130 forests have been logged. different plant and animal species are z The rainforests of India, Bangladesh, lost every day as they are either Sri Lanka and Haiti destroyed in the logging process or have been completely have died because they have no home. destroyed. The © approximately ReadyE dPubl i ca t i o n s This means 50,000 Philippines has lost species each year are becoming extinct 55% of its rainforest • f o r r e v i e w p u r p o s e s o n l y • in that region. and Thailand has lost 45% since 1960. If you study a four kilometre square area of rainforest, the range and number of species is amazing. You would most likely discover at least 1500 species of flowering plants, 750 different species of trees, 125 species of mammals, 400 various species of birds, Extinct Species These species hav havee 100 species of reptiles and died out because of a 60 species of amphibians, loss of rrainfor ainfor est ainforest as well as 150 different habitat. species of butterflies. z Saber-toothed tiger That is a lot of wildlife! z Megatherium – the

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giant ground sloth

Rainforest/animals.html © IMSI

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Wonders of the Rainforest

Saving the Rainforests

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make room for cattle farming or timber plantations. There are plenty of things you can do to help the rainforests.

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Get on the net and learn how! www.rainforestheroes.com/kidscorner/

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Many people believe that the rainforest’s value lies in its The Truth about timber. Once the timber is cut Rainforests down then the rainforest is z Rainforests once covered destroyed. approximately 14% of the Earth’s surface. Today, only 6% remains. There are many other things that the rainforests provide us z Every second 1 ½ acres of rainforest are destroyed. with, and today, most people are making efforts to preserve z Nearly half of the world’s plant and animal species are in danger of these precious environments. dying out as their rainforest Experts say that by leaving the habitat is destroyed. rainforests standing, we can z Rainforests are being destroyed by harvest the nuts, fruits and governments, landowners and oils from plants that give us logging companies for the timber © R e a d y E d P ub l i cat i ons they contain. special products. In this way, the rainforest is r worth even • f o r e v i ew pu p ose so nkeep l y• Itr makes sense to the more to humans as these rainforests as they are, rather products are available every than cutting them down to season.

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Wonders of the Rainforest

Read about Rainforests Online VIR TU AL RAINFORESTS: VIRTU TUAL Rainforest at Night www.nationalgeographic.com/ earthpulse/rainforest/index_flash.html

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Virtual Rainforest Tour www.bsrsi.msu.edu/rfrc/tour/index.html Pachamama Rainforest Tour www.pachamama.org/tour/

Virtual Tour www.bgreen.com.au/rainforest01.html

USEFUL CL ASSROOM WEBSITES: CLASSROOM Photosynthesis and Plant Biology mbgnet.mobot.org/bioplants/main.html

National Geographic - Rainforests at Night www.nationalgeographic.com/ earthpulse/rainforest/index_flash.html Rainforest Australia www.rainforest-australia.com/

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Interactive Classroom - Vanishing Forests www.wwf.org.hk/eng/education/ttrain/ ihintforest.html

Tropical Forests www.tropical-forests.com/

Ngadjonji People of Far North Queensland 129.78.191.70/ngadjonji/default.html

© ReadyEdPubl i cat i ons African Rainforest Peoples www.pbs.org/wnet/africa/explore/ •f orr evi ew pur posesonl y• rainforest/rainforest_people_lo.html

About Plants www.mcwdn.org/Plants/PlantsMain.html

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What’s it Like Where You Live? mbgnet.mobot.org/sets/rforest/

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Explore Africa’s Rainforest www.pbs.org/wnet/africa/explore/ rainforest/rainforest_overview_lo.html

Indigenous People of The Rainforests www.adventure-life.com/amazon/ indigenous_people.php

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Rainforest Links www.teachers.ash.org.au/jmresources/ rainforest/links.html

CONSERV ATION AND A CTION CONSERVA ACTION GROUPS Rainforest Heroes www.rainforestheroes.com/ kidscorner/

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Rainforest Biomes www.blueplanetbiomes.org/ rainforest.htm

Magical Rainforests www.panda.org/news_facts/education/ middle_school/habitats/ tropical_forests.cfm

African Rainforest and River Conservation www.africa-rainforest.org/home.html Rainforest Action Network www.ran.org/ World Rainforest Information Portal www.rainforestweb.org/ 61

Wonders Of The Rainforest: Resource Book  

Explains the importance of rainforests and has many fascinating activities on unique rainforest plants, animals and people. Buy now: http:/...