The 10 Worlds’ Largest Forests
Forests are home to diverse species and habitats for wild animals. They are home to 80% of the world’s terrestrial biodiversity including flora and fauna
Forests are important in the working of the natural world order. Every species on the earth is dependent on forests for existence. For the wild animals, forests act as a shelter, and for human beings, are a source of livelihood.
Forests cover over 31% of the world’s land area. Most importantly, in the face of climate variability, forests are becoming critical in the fight against climate change. Below is the list of the largest forests in the world.
Amazon Rainforest, South America
Area: 5.5 million km²
Amazon rainforest is considered one of the largest forests in the world. It is popularly known as Amazon Jungle located in South America. The forest shares its location with 9 nations including Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, France, Guyana, Peru, Suriname, and Venezuela.
It is estimated over people of 350 ethnicities reside within the Amazon Rainforest. It’s the home to 40,000 plant species, 1,300 bird species, 2,200 species of fishes, 427 types of mammals, 430 amphibian species, 380 reptile species, and is also home to over 2.5 million different types of insects. Amazon Rainforest is also the source of 20% of Earth’s oxygen. It is also the largest carbon sink in the world.
Congo Rainforest, Africa
Area : 3 million km²
It is the second-largest forest in the world located in Africa. It bounders six countries, i.e. namely Cameroon, the Central African Republic, the Republic of Congo, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Equatorial Guinea, and Gabon. The Congo Rainforest is home to around 600 species of trees,10,000 species of animals, and more than 1000 species of birds.
The forest is also home to the second largest river on the planet, i.e. the Congo river. In addition, the rainforest is home to Congo Basin which is the sole sheltering home of all the three species of gorilla such as the lowland gorilla, the endangered mountain gorilla, and the endemic eastern lowland gorilla.
Valdivian Temperate Rainforest, South America
Area: 248,100 km²
Valdivian Temperate Rainforest, the third-largest forest a Neotropical Realm located in South America. The forest shares its borders with Chile and Argentina and is under the category of temperate broadleaf and mixed forest. It’s home to a number of exotic plant and animal species including Chusquea quila, nalca, southern pudú (world’s smallest deer), kodkod (South America’s smallest cat), and even Copihue which is Chile’s national flower. The Valdivian Rainforest is also the only Rainforest that consists of glaciers.
Tongass forests, North America
Area: 68,000 km²
The other largest forest in the world is Tongass National Forest. The largest national forest in the USA, it’s a temperate rainforest and is home to a large number of endangered species of both flora and fauna. The Tongass National Forest offers both shelter and livelihood to over 75,000 people and consists of islands, mountains, glaciers, etc. It is also home to the largest number of bald eagles and various species of brown bears, moose, porpoises, humpback whales, mountain goats, killer whales, sea otters, hair seals, black bears, wolves.
Rainforest of Xishuangbanna
Area: 19,223 km²
China’s Rainforest of Xishuangbanna is one of the largest forests in Asia and the world. It comprises 16% of China’s total plant diversity and contains more than 5,000 species of vascular plants. The Rainforest is quite significant to the ecosystem of China as it’s home to a significant portion of China’s birds, mammals, reptiles, and amphibians.
Some of the key species of the Rainforest of Xishuangbanna include Asian Elephants, Green Peacocks, and Indo-Chinese Tigers. This particular Rainforest can be divided into three categories on the basis of its composition namely tropical rainforest vegetation, the tropical montane rainforest, and the tropical seasonal rainforest.
Area: 10,000 km²
Sundarbans is among the largest forests in the world as well as India. Located between the Indian region of West Bengal and the Khulna Division of Bangladesh, it is a Mangrove Forest where over 290 species of birds, 120 species of fish, 42 mammal species, 35 species of reptiles, and eight amphibian species live. The endangered species which find a habitat in Sunderbans are royal Bengal tigers, northern river terrapins, olive ridley sea turtles, estuarine crocodile, Gangetic dolphin, ground turtles, hawksbill sea turtles, and king crabs.
What adds to the significance of Sunderbans is the fact that it is the largest source of forest produce in Bangladesh and is, therefore, an important contributor to its economy.
Daintree Forest, Australia
Area: 1,200 km²
The Daintree Rainforest derives its name from Richard Daintree who was an Australian photographer and Geologist. Located on the North-East coast of Queensland, Australia, Daintree is the world’s oldest rainforest, estimated to be around 135 million years old. Listed as a world heritage site, the Daintree Rainforest is known for its beautiful lush canopy and vines, forest-clad mountains, and valleys. It’s not only one of the largest forests in the world but also a popular tourist attraction which attracts people from across the world.
Kinabalu National Park
Area: 754 km²
The Kinabalu National Park established in 1964 is Malaysia’s first world heritage site. It is home to over 4,500 species of flora and fauna, consisting of around 326 bird species and 100 mammal species. The Kinabalu National Park ranges over 4 different climate zones and has a rich variety of montane oak, rhododendron, coniferous forests, alpine meadow plants, and stunted bushes. The Kinabalu Giant Red Leech and Kinabalu Giant Earthworm are two of the endemic animal species of the region.
Sinharaja Forest Reserve, Sri Lanka
Area: 111.9 km²
Sinharaja Forest Reserve is one of the largest forests of the world which was designated as a World Heritage and Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO. It was established in 1978 and is governed by the Department of Forest Conservation. 50% of Sri Lankan’s endemic species of butterflies, amphibians, birds, snakes, and fishes are found in the Sinharaja Forest Reserve.
It is also home to 95% endemic bird species. It is a source of habit and livelihood for the local population which resides at the borders of this particular reserve and therefore is an important contributor to Sri Lanka’s economy.
Mindo-Nambillo Cloud Forest, South America
Area: 86 km²
The Mindo forest, a cloud forest located in South America is among the largest forests in the world. The Mindo-Nambillo Cloud Forest is home to over 450 different species of birds. The Yumbo-Nigua people, a tribal community finds habitat and shelter for themselves in these forests and acquire their livelihood through it.
It is also an important ecological location and one of the key tourist attractions of South America. The Mindo forest also has over 4,500 varieties of Orchids and other plant species like cedar trees, aguacatillo, arrayan, Canelo, and plants like berries, hill red peppers, and the ortiga which form its ecological cover.