The African rainforests are home to an abundance of animal and plant life. Out of all the Africa landforms this one is by far the most teeming with life. Rainforest are forests characterized by high rainfall. African rainforest can be found spread across east, central, and west Africa and cover over 2.2 million square miles (3.6 million square kilometers). However as we will discuss later this area is shrinking at an alarming rate. On this page are interesting African rainforest facts including where they are located, what animals live there, and why the rainforest is in danger, written for both kids and adults.
- Approximately three quarters of Africa's rainforest are located in central Africa.
- Compared to other rainforest through out the world the rainforests in Africa are dry. They receive between 63 and 78 inches (1600 and 2000 mm) of rainfall per year compared to the Amazon's average rainfall of eighty inches (2032 mm).
- The African Countries that have Rainforests are Cameroon, Congo, Democratic Republic of Congo, Gabon, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Liberia, Nigeria.
- It is one of the world's most threatened ecosystems. Every second an area of rainforest the size of a football field is being destroyed.
African Rainforest Facts - Plants
Over 8,000 plant species have been discovered in the rainforest of Africa. These plants have adapted to the rainforest environment which is very humid, dark, and receives a lot of rain. Here are some interesting facts about plants found in the African rainforest.
- One out of four ingredients in medicines are from rainforest plants.
- Trees account for approximately seventy percent of the vegetation in the rainforests. There are approximately six hundred tree species in the rainforest of Africa.
- This Africa landform has 4 layers the emergent, upper canopy, understory, and forest floor.
- Coconut trees are common in the African rainforest.
- The Kapok tree, found in the African rainforest, is one of the tallest rainforest tree species.
- Two thousand five hundred species of vines grow in the rainforest.
- The trees of a tropical rainforest are so densely packed that rain falling on the canopy can take as long as 10 minutes to reach the ground.
African Rainforest Facts - Animals
African rainforest are home to an extraordinary number of animals. Even just a few square miles of rainforest can be home to dozens of different animal species. Below we list some of the many animals that can be found inhabiting these Africa landforms.
Animals found in Africa’s tropical rainforest
Perhaps the best known African rainforest animal is the gorilla, in particular the mountain gorilla. The mountain gorilla lives in the rainforests around Rwanda and the Congo's Lake Kivu. They can grow up to five feet and nine inches tall and can weigh up to six hundred pounds. They are vegetarians.
African Forest Elephant
These elephants are much smaller that the elephants found on the African savanna. They weigh anywhere from 7000 pounds to 9000 pounds (3,182 to 4,091 kilos). They feed on the plentiful fruit and vegetation available in the rainforest.
Black Colobus Monkey
These animals live in the high canopies of the rainforest in a region stretching from southwest Cameroon to the Congo River. They are amazing jumpers.
African Grey Parrot
These birds are believed to be quite intelligent and are extremely talkative and great verbal mimics. They are very popular choices for pets.
This rainforest animal is the smallest of the hippopotamus species. They are on average five feet long (1.53 meters) and weigh 418 pounds (190 kilos).
As we have discussed the African rainforests are the home to numerous plant and animal species. These landforms are also extremely important for the health of the world's ecosystem. This being said, the rate at which Africa's rainforest are being destroyed is alarming. At the current rate it is possible that the West African rainforest will be completely destroyed by the year 2020.
For more information about the worlds tropical rainforests go to Tropical Rainforest Facts
or for information about the worlds temperate rainforest see Temperate Rainforest Facts