Caring for nature is one of the most important things children should learn about and develop as a habit. Regardless of one’s age, everyone should be more eco-friendly and be proactive in saving the planet.
Although there are numerous concepts children have to learn about, teaching them about rainforests, the essential roles they play, and how everyone can help save them is something that educators and even parents should prioritize.
A tropical rainforest encounter for students is one of the most unique, fun and effective strategies educators and schools can consider for teaching children the importance of these ecosystems.
By giving kids an immersive experience to cap off their classroom lectures and other activities, they will understand and appreciate these biomes better. They will become more inspired to lend a hand in saving the rainforests as well.
If you are looking for ideas for helping young children in Dubai learn about rainforests, below are some concepts that you have to cover or include in your lesson plan:
What Are Rainforests?
Rainforests are the planet’s oldest living ecosystems that cover around six percent of the earth’s surface. They are tall, compact jungles that receive high amounts of rainfall every year. Temperatures in these biomes are both hot and humid.
There are different types of rainforests, but the largest are the tropical and temperate ones.
Tropical rainforests are warm and wet. They are found in locations with equatorial or tropical rainforest climates, such as Southeast Asia, sub-Saharan Africa, South America, and the Pacific Islands.
Temperate rainforests, on the other hand, are cool and wet. They are located in temperate regions, such as North America, Europe, and New Zealand.
Montane, lowland, and flooded are the other types of rainforests.
All rainforests have four layers. These are the:
The forest floor is the lowest layer of a rainforest. The surface is covered with a thin film of fallen leaves and decaying fruits, seeds, and branches. It receives less than two percent of sunlight and that is why only plants that adapt to low light grow here. This layer is where the biggest animals in the biome can be seen.
This layer can be found between the forest floor and the canopy layer. It consists of leafy bushes, small trees, saplings, and vines. It is a dark place that receives two to 15 percent of sunlight. This layer is the habitat of boas, ants and other bugs.
The canopy is made up of the branches and leaves of the biome’s trees. Ninety-nine percent of sunlight falls on this layer. It is home to 90 percent of all the plant and animal species that live in the rainforest, most of which seek the light in the treetops. You will find monkeys, birds, and various mammals and reptiles in this layer.
The branches of the tallest trees in the rainforest make up the emergent layer. It is breezy when it is raining and extremely hot during the warmest part of the day. It also lacks shelter, and as such, it is mostly birds that dwell in this layer.
Where Are the Biggest Rainforests in the World Found?
There are dozens of rainforests scattered around the globe. However, the largest and most popular ones can be found in:
The biggest and most well-known tropical rainforest, which is the Amazon, covers 40 percent of South America and spans nine countries:
- French Guiana
The Amazon, which is approximately 5,500,000km2 wide, is home to over half of the earth’s remaining rainforests and around 390 billion trees divided into thousands of different classes. A tenth of all known flora and fauna species live here as well.
The Congolese rainforest, which spans an area of 1,780,000km2, covers six countries:
- The Central African Republic
- The Democratic Republic of the Congo
- Equatorial Guinea
- Republic of the Congo
The rainforest covers the Congo Basin and has a variety of rivers, forests, flooded woodland, swamps, and savannahs.
The New Guinea Rainforest is over 288,000km2 wide and is located in Papua New Guinea and Indonesia. It is the largest rainforest in the Asia-Pacific region.
The rainforest covers numerous forests and coastal mangroves. You will find many of the world’s most unique plants and animals here, including the most number of orchid species in the world.
Chile, Argentina, Borneo, USA, Canada, and Australia also have vast rainforests that serve as home to thousands of species of flora and fauna.
Why Are Rainforests Important?
The rainforests found in different parts of the world are crucial ecosystems that have several significant roles:
They produce clean air for all living things to inhale.
Rainforests are sometimes called the “lungs” of the Earth. The trees in these ecosystems absorb large amounts of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and release healthy and safe oxygen for humans and animals to breathe in.
They help maintain the earth’s climate.
Since rainforests absorb carbon dioxide, which is a chief factor in climate change, they reduce its unhealthy effects. Additionally, they absorb tropical heat and moisture; when these two accumulate, they can make storms and tornadoes stronger.
They provide shelter and protection to thousands of species of flora and fauna.
Different types of animals and plants of various sizes live in rainforests. Many of these species are endangered; if their biomes are destroyed, they will be wiped out as well.
They supply food and raw materials for medicines and other products.
Lastly, rainforests are sources of various items that you eat and use almost daily. Cocoa, which is used for making chocolates and other by-products, bananas, pineapples, and other fruits and vegetables come from tropical forests. Many rainforests plants are used for medicines, as well.
How Can You Help Protect the Rainforest?
Every year, the rainforests from different parts of the world are getting smaller and smaller. They are under constant threats including deforestation, illegal logging, large-scale farming and ranching, development, and mining.
Everyone, even young students, can help save the rainforests. You can do this by:
- Using less paper. Additionally, recycle and reuse paper instead of throwing them after only one use.
- Asking your parents to buy food products that are grown sustainably. These foodstuffs are cultivated in ways that are more eco-friendly and safer for the environment and wildlife.
- Requesting your parents to purchase wooden furniture pieces that are not made of threatened rainforest woods. Mahogany, ebony, and rosewood are some of the types of timber everyone should avoid buying.
- Participating in bake garage sales and other fundraising events that aim to raise money which will go to an organization that helps conserve rainforests. The additional funds will help sustain their operations.
- Joining and organizing events that promote awareness of preserving rainforests. These can include a film showing, online petitions, and visits to artificial biodomes and other places where you can learn more about the wildlife in forests.
With all rainforests under the threat of destruction, everyone, including young children, need to pitch in to help save them. This should be something you encourage your students to do, not only during their lessons but throughout their lives.
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