The Jungle Rain Forest

a21.jpg" hspace="12" align="right">At first glance, the rain forest is a vast green wilderness. However, as one observes carefully, this ecosystem is full of surprises for its visitors. Not only is each tree very different from the next, but also for every tree there are hundreds of other plant and animal species in constant interaction. Tropical rain forests occupy 7% of the Earth’s surface, but they hold 50% of the world’s biodiversity (Myers 1988; Wilson 1988). These forests are found in Central America, Africa and Asia, but the biggest area extends in the South American Amazon.

To truly take advantage of the rain forest, one must awaken all five senses to discover how exotic life forms have evolved to live together in a minimal extent of land. The embracing sounds tell of the various birds and insects that keep this living forest in constant change. The many other animal and plant species need of careful observation to be found as they have amazing color and texture adaptations to be confused with the scenery. The many smells tell of the chemicals that the plants have developed as a defense for herbivores, and many are of medicinal use for humans.

In contrast to what one may think, the soil of the rain forest is not fertile. The nutrients that supply this exuberant ecosystem are the product of a constant interaction between the living and dying organisms on the surface. Decomposers are the vital to the dynamics of the forest. Thus, it is important to preserve this ecosystem as a whole.

jungle.jpg" hspace="12" align="right">The temperature in tropical rain forests is quite stable, with a variation between day and night. But this ecosystem is far from being stable. Rainfall is seasonal and results in major changes for the living organisms. Disturbances also add to the high dynamics of this ecosystem.
Many hypotheses have been raised to explain the impressive high diversity in tropical rain forests, and each provides an insight to understand this complex ecosystem better. The competition for resources has lead organisms to adapt to unique niches and thus result in a number of specialized and interdependent organisms.

The overwhelming complexity of the forest makes one wonder about the ancestral knowledge of the millenarian indigenous communities that have passed the knowledge generation after generation as to unfold the secrets hidden in this magical site.

In Ecuador, the East of the Andes falls into this exuberant ecosystem. It is divided in northern, central and southern jungle. Opportunities to visit primary forests and to interact with local communities are offered by our sponsors. Contact them to immerse in a splendor of life and discover a different way to look at the world!