Rainforests, or jungles as we sometimes call them, are truly wondrous entities.
Not only are tropical rainforests home to more than half of the world’s species, but according to the Rainforest Alliance, many forests also support our global food supply, serve as the source of a variety of medicines and ultimately, play a significant role in sustaining a stable, livable climate for the world.
Most people today have little or no connection to rainforests, both tropical and temperate, which makes it easy to forget their importance, and also their mysterious allure.
While these habitats and the creatures that populate them continue to face threats (the World Wildlife Foundation estimates that 46 to 58 thousand square miles of forest are lost each year, or 36 football fields every minute) many scientists estimate there’s still a significant amount of fauna and flora species left to be discovered.
As TreeHugger reporter Stephen Messenger put it, for biologists, this presents somewhat of a race against time.
Preserving these ecological powerhouses is of extreme importance, and perhaps a close-up view— whether through real life or virtual travel—can serve as one of the best reminders of their all-encompassing importance.
Whether you’re ready to set out on your next safari or simply want to learn more about the world and it’s rainforests, these spectacular ecosystems are sure you reignite your primitive connection to nature.
Daintree Rainforest—Queensland, Australia
“[This is] one of the rare rainforests that literally meets the beach,” said TheTravelTart.com blogger Anthony Bianco. The Daintree is Australia’s largest continuous area of tropical rainforest and is home to a wide variety of fauna and flora, including platypuses, kangaroos, wallabies, pythons, geckos and crocodiles. A native of Far North Queensland, Bianco also noted that in addition to its breathtaking beauty and extraordinary biodiversity, travelers are drawn to Daintree for its close proximity to the The Great Barrier Reef.
Yasuní National Park, Amazon Rainforest—Ecuador
According to National Geographic, this section of the Ecuadorian Amazon covers nearly 3,800 square miles of rain forest in eastern Ecuador. “You could spend your entire life here and be surprised by something every day,” Andrés Link, a primatologist from Universidad de los Andes, told reporter Scott Wallace. The extremely diverse habitat is home to nearly the same amount of tree species as in the U.S. and Canada combined, according to the Wildlife Conservation Society, and, according to National Geographic, a variety of birds, bats and frogs greater than almost anywhere else in South America. David Capaldi, president of Discover Latin America, says travelers can choose from a number of boutique rainforest lodges in the area and that tourism to the region is controlled by indigenous groups. “[This] helps more of the travelers’ money stay in the local community as well as providing much needed employment in a region devoid of industry,” he explained.