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What is a rainforest?

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Rainforests are forests characterized by high rainfall, with definitions setting minimum normal annual rainfall between 1750–2000 mm (68-78 inches). The monsoon trough, alternately known as the intertropical convergence zone, plays a significant role in creating Earth's tropical rain forests.

From 40 to 75% of all species on Earth are indigenous to the rainforests. It has been estimated that many millions of species of plants, insects, and microorganisms are still undiscovered. Tropical rainforests have been called the "jewels of the Earth", and the "world's largest pharmacy", because of the large number of natural medicines discovered there. Rainforests are also responsible for 28% of the worlds oxygen turn over, often misunderstood as oxygen production, processing it through photosynthesis from carbon dioxide and storing it as carbon through biosequestration.

The undergrowth in a rainforest is restricted in many areas by the lack of sunlight at ground level. This makes it possible to walk through the forest. If the leaf canopy is destroyed or thinned, the ground beneath is soon colonized by a dense, tangled growth of vines, shrubs, and small trees called a jungle. There are two types of rainforest, tropical rainforest and temperate rainforest.

Includes CC-BY-SA content from Wikipedia's Rainforest article (authors)

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