TROPICAL RAINFORESTS


An Online Treasure Hunt
For Second Year High School (Science)

 

Introduction
A tropical rainforest is one of the most biodiverse ecosystems on Earth. More than half of the world’s animals and plants live in tropical rainforests. Imagine then what would happen to the balance of life on Earth if we were to lose these ecosystems!

Sadly, most people don’t know much about tropical rainforests. In fact, because of people’s ignorance—and greed—many of these forests are rapidly disappearing.

Let’s find out more about what it is we’re losing. And then let’s help educate others so we don’t lose it altogether.

In this activity, you will work in groups of three or four to find answers to some questions about tropical rainforests. The answers can be located in the Web resources listed below. Click on the URL to access each website. In some cases, you might have to read several pages in one website. You do this by clicking on links to topics that are related to the one being discussed. Answer the Big Question last.
 

Questions
  1. What is a rainforest?
  2. What are the layers in a rainforest? Name and briefly describe each one.
  3. What do you call the transition zones where forests meet different types of habitats? How important are these zones?
  4. The soil in rainforests is poor in nutrients. Why then are there so many plant and animal species in rainforests?  
  5. Plant adaptations to rainforest conditions include having thin and smooth bark, drip tips, buttresses, and prop and stilt roots. Epiphytes are an example of plants that have adapted to living in rainforests by developing the ability to live on the surface of other plants. Name some animal adaptations and then some species of animals that exhibit or show these adaptations. Be careful not to confuse the adaptation with the species of animal.
  6. Why are people cutting down rainforests?
  7. One effect of deforestation is species extinction. Why should human beings worry about the extinction of other species?
  8. What is another major reason why we should worry about the destruction of our rainforests?
     
Resources
Tropical Rain Forest
http://www.poconoweb.com/bulletin-board/pecws/rain-forest.html
Rain Forest
http://encarta.msn.com/encnet/refpages/RefArticle.aspx?refid=761552810
World Builders: Tropical Rainforest Biome
http://curriculum.calstatela.edu/courses/builders/lessons/less/biomes/rainforest/tropi_rain/rain.html
Deforestation Backgrounder
http://www.lehigh.edu/~kaf3/books/reporting/deforest.html
http://www.lehigh.edu/~kaf3/books/reporting/deforgif.html (concept map of deforestation)
EO Library: Tropical Deforestation
http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/Library/Deforestation/
Forest Types
http://library.thinkquest.org/17456/types3.html

Important: Click on the “Visit this site” link at the righthand side of the page.
Rainforest Plants
http://mbgnet.mobot.org/sets/rforest/plants/

Important: Go from one page to the next by clicking on the arrow.

The Big Question
Find out how many rainforests there are (or used to be!) in the Philippines. Pick one of these rainforests and draw a map showing where it is. Include in the map a list of facts or details about the rainforest. 
 Your work is due a week from today. Be sure to work together on your map. And be creative. Help save our rainforests by helping others appreciate them better. 

Authored by J. Urot and P. Arinto