Beautiful forests can be found all over the world, and they cover roughly one-third of the total land area. There are many benefits of forests. These forests both provide the oxygen we need to breathe and sequester carbon, a perplexing climate change catalyst. Forests also protect our world’s water supply: when they disappear, deserts follow. Despite these similarities, the largest forests in the world are remarkably diverse. Each has its own distinct mix of trees and understory plants. Each is home to a unique mix of animals, fungi, mosses, insects, and humans. These incredible forests provide all kinds of food for us to eat as well as medicines that have been used to heal humans for centuries. In other words, forests are awesome, which is why so many of us want to visit them when we travel around the world.
You’ve probably heard about the importance of forests in the functioning of the natural world order. Every species on the planet is dependent on forests in some way. For wild animals, forests provide shelter, while for humans, they provide a source of income or a means of meeting certain needs. What’s more, forests support 80 percent of the world’s terrestrial biodiversity, including flora and fauna. Furthermore, forests cover more than 31% of the land area of the World. This article will provide you a comprehensive list of the largest forests in the world that you must be aware of!
Biggest forests in the world by continent
- Forests in Africa
- Forests in Asia
- Forests in Australia
- Forests in Europe
- Forests in North America
- Forests in South America
Forests in Africa include Miombo Woodlands, Congo Basin Forest, Mau Forest, and Cross-Niger Trasition Forests. Forests in Asia include Kinubalu National Park, The Sundarbans, Sumatra Rainforest and Xishuangbanna. Forests in Australia include Daintree Rainforest, Gondwana Rainforests of Australia and Forests of New Guinea. Forests in Europe include Bialowieza Primeval Forest, Tiaga Biome/Boreal Forest, The Black Forest, Forests of Sweden and Virgin Komi Forests. Forests in North America include Great Lakes – St. Lawrence, Lacandon Jungle, Sequoia Forests, Tongass National Forest and Bosawás Biosphere Reserve. Forests in South America/Central America include Amazon Rainforest, Atlantic Forest, Monteverde Cloud Forest and Valdivian Rainforest. These all forests are different in size and area. Here we will discuss the largest forests in the world, in order.
Amazon Rainforest, South America
The Amazon rainforest is the world’s most bio diverse and largest forest, covering approximately 2,300,000 square miles. The area of Amazon Rainforest is about 5.5 million km².It is found in Brazil, Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, French Guiana, Guyana, Peru, Venezuela, and the Republic of Suriname, and is home to one out of every ten known wildlife species (with new species being discovered almost daily). Unfortunately, the Amazon is facing unprecedented environmental challenges due to deforestation and fire; as recently as 2019, approximately 28,000 square miles of Amazon rainforest in Brazil were burned.
The Congo Rainforest, Africa
The Congo rainforest covers over 1,400,000 square miles in Cameroon, the Central African Republic, the Republic of Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Equatorial Guinea, and Gabon, accounting for only a small portion of Africa’s Congo Basin. The Congo, often referred to as Earth’s “second lung” after the Amazon, is protected by five separate national parks that are also UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
New Guinea Rainforest, New Guinea
New Guinea’s rainforests cover more than half of the country’s landmass, encompassing vast mountainous landscapes spanning 303,500 square miles. The New Guinea rainforest is home to indigenous peoples and native animal species that have had little to no contact with the outside world due to its island location.
Valdivian Temperate Rainforest, South America
The Valdivian Temperate Rainforest is the third-largest forest in South America Neotropical Realm. The area of Valdivian Temperate Rainforest is 248,100 km².The forest, which borders Chile and Argentina, is classified as temperate broadleaf and mixed forest. It is home to a variety of exotic plant and animal species, such as Chusquea quila, nalca, southern pud (the world’s smallest deer), kodkod (South America’s smallest cat), and even Copihue, Chile’s national flower. The Valdivian Rainforest is also the only one that contains glaciers.
Tongass National Forest, North America
The Tongass National Forest, located in Southeast Alaska and spanning approximately 26,560 square miles, is the largest national forest in the United States and the largest temperate rainforest in North America. That means it contains nearly one-third of the world’s old-growth temperate rainforests, which are especially valuable due to their high levels of stored carbon and biomass.
Rainforest of Xishuangbanna, China
With the area of 19,223 km², Xishuangbanna Rainforest in China is one of the largest forests in world. It contains over 5,000 species of vascular plants and accounts for 16% of China’s total plant diversity. This Rainforest is very important to China’s ecosystem because it is home to a large number of birds, mammals, reptiles, and amphibians. Asian Elephants, Green Peacocks, and Indo-Chinese Tigers are among the key species found in the Xishuangbanna Rainforest. This Rainforest is classified into three types based on its composition: tropical rainforest vegetation, tropical montane rainforest, and tropical seasonal rainforest.
Daintree Rainforest, Australia
The Daintree rainforest in Australia is thought to be 180 million years old, making it an oldest forest in the world (older even than the Amazon rainforest). Daintree, at 463 square miles in size, is home to more than half of the country’s bat and butterfly species, making it an important source of pollination for the rest of the region.
Sundarbans Reserve Forest, Bangladesh
Sundarbans deserves a prominent place on our list of the largest forests in the World. It is a Mangrove Forest located between the Indian region of West Bengal and the Khulna Division of Bangladesh, and it is home to over 290 species of birds, 120 species of fish, 42 mammal species, 35 species of reptiles, and eight amphibian species. The area of Sundarbans forest is about 10,000 km². Royal Bengal tigers, northern river terrapins, olive ridley sea turtles, estuarine crocodiles, Gangetic dolphins, ground turtles, hawksbill sea turtles, and king crabs are among the endangered species found in the Sunderbans. The fact that the Sunderbans is the largest source of forest produce in Bangladesh, making it an important contributor to the country’s economy, adds to its significance.
Kinabalu National Park, Malaysia
Malaysia’s first world heritage site is the Kinabalu National Park, which was established in 1964. It is home to over 4,500 species of flora and fauna, including 326 bird and 100 mammal species. The Kinabalu National Park spans four climate zones, resulting in a diverse range of montane oak, rhododendron, coniferous forests, alpine meadow plants, and stunted bushes. Two of the region’s endemic animal species are the Kinabalu Giant Red Leech and the Kinabalu Giant Earthworm.
Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve, Costa Rica
The 40-square-mile Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve, one of Costa Rica’s many protected natural areas, is one of the world’s most popular bird-watching destinations. Monteverde is a rare type of “cloud” forest that occurs within a tropical mountainous environment with near constant cloud cover. It is also home to jaguars, pumas, several species of monkeys, and colorful red-eyed tree frogs.
Sinharaja Forest Reserve, Sri Lanka
Sinharaja Forest Reserve is one of the largest forests in the world with the area of 111.9 km²and has been designated by UNESCO as a World Heritage and Biosphere Reserve. It was founded in 1978 and is governed by the Forest Conservation Department. The Sinharaja Forest Reserve is home to half of Sri Lanka’s endemic butterfly, amphibian, bird, snake, and fish species. More importantly, 95 percent of the bird species are endemic. It is a source of habit and livelihood for the local population who live on the reserve’s borders, and it is thus an important contributor to Sri Lanka’s economy.
Mindo-Nambillo Cloud Forest, South America
The Mindo forest, a cloud forest in South America, is one of the world’s largest. Over 450 different bird species can be found in the Mindo-Nambillo Cloud Forest. The Yumbo-Nigua people, a tribal community, find habitat and shelter in these forests and earn a living from them. Apart from that, it is an important ecological site and one of South America’s main tourist attractions. The Mindo forest also has over 4,500 orchid varieties and other plant species such as cedro trees, aguacatillo, arrayan, canelo, and plants such as berries, hill red peppers, and the ortiga that form its ecological cover.
Facts about forests
- Forests have the ability to store massive amounts of CO2. Tropical forests store more carbon than humanity has emitted in the last thirty years through the use of coal, oil, and natural gas. This is a compelling reason to protect one of nature’s most powerful climate solutions: forests. We can prevent a massive amount of stored carbon from being released into the atmosphere by halting the destruction of mature, old-growth forests before planting new ones.
- Forests are rich in biodiversity. Despite covering less than ten percent of the planet, tropical forests are home to two-thirds of the world’s biodiversity. Tropical forests are among the richest and most exciting areas on the planet. They are home to an interconnected network of massive trees, colorful birds, and a vast array of fascinating plants, insects, and mammals.
- Rain or rainforests, which came first? Rainforests are so dense that raindrops can fall from the canopy to the forest floor in ten minutes. Rainforests are densely packed with flora and fauna—a 10-square-kilometer (4-square-mile) patch can contain up to 1,500 flowering plants, 750 tree species, 400 bird species, and 150 butterfly species.
- Forests improve our health. According to research, spending time in a forest boosts immune system activity. Essential oils found in trees and plants protect them from bacteria and insect predators. Inhaling these oils stimulates the production of protective cells in humans, which attack viruses and other diseases.
- Nature’s first aid kit. More than 60% of anticancer drugs are derived from natural sources, including rainforest plants. Some of the world’s most important, life-saving medicines are made from rainforest plants.
- Decomposition provides food for new growth. Tropical forests decompose at a rate ten times faster than other biomes. Nature’s method of mining old materials for new uses is decomposition (the decay of dead things). Nature recycles in this manner.
- Bite, sting, and buzz! There are 2.5 million different insect species in the Amazon rainforest. Insects have a bad reputation among humans, but they are essential to all life on Earth. Insects perform natural services that we frequently take for granted. Nature’s pollinators, garbage collectors, undertakers, leaf sweepers, soil conditioners, and fertilizer producers are all made up of them.
- Forests have a sponge effect. Each year, a single large tree can capture and filter 36,500 gallons of water. To put it into perspective, the average American uses 32,000 gallons of water per year. It is critical that we protect forests so that they can continue to filter our water resources.
As a result, above mentioned forests are the largest forests in the world, which are home to a diverse range of species and provide habitat for wild animals! We cannot neglect the benefits of forests. They are very essential for humans to survive. To know more about strange trees in the world or benefits of plants, Click here.