World Rainforest Day was first observed on June 22, 2017. It was started by the Rainforest Partnership, an environmental collective, to raise awareness, regenerate, and protect rainforests.
Most people have heard of rainforests, but may not realize their importance to life on earth. Twenty percent (20%) of the oxygen we breathe and the freshwater we drink comes from the Amazon rainforest alone. Rainforests are also home to half the world's animal and plant species.
But - rainforests are being destroyed - primarily by humans at an alarming rate. Logging, mining, cattle ranching, industrial development, commercial fishing, bio-piracy and smuggling (plants and animals), and large dams contribute to the mass destruction.
Some may be surprised to learn that there are rainforests in the United States. Most are temperate rainforests, meaning they are in the temperate zone (areas with mild climates that do not experience extremes in cold or heat) and receive heavy rainfall. Tropical rainforests are located near the equator between the Tropics of Cancer and Capricorn. There is only one tropical rainforest in the United States.
Tongass National Forest in Alaska is the largest rainforest, as well as the largest national forest in the US. It includes Glacier Bay National Park and covers 16.9 million acres in the southeastern part of the state.
Chugach National Forest in Alaska is one-third the size of Tongass, but it is one of the largest national forests in the country. Located 500 miles south of the Arctic Circle, Chugach runs from Prince William Sound to Kenai Peninsula. This forest is part of the Iditarod National Historic Trail.
Hoh Rainforest located in Olympic National Park, Washington state is the most famous rainforest in the lower 48 states and has been called the "quietest place in the USA". The other rainforests in Olympic National Park are located in the Quinault, Queets, and Bogachiel valleys. The town of Forks, Washington - the setting for the popular Twilight Saga series - is also located in Olympic National Park.
El Yunque National Forest in Puerto Rico (a commonwealth of the USA) is the only tropical rainforest in the US. It has been protected as a federal forest reserve for more than 100 years. It is home to animal and plant species that are not found in the contiguous US.
Learn more about the earth's rainforests and how you can help preservation efforts by watching this recorded film from a World Rainforest Day live stream.
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