Tropical rainforests are home to indigenous peoples who rely on their surroundings for food, shelter, and medicines. Today very few forest people live in traditional ways; most have been displaced by outside settlers or have been forced to give up their lifestyles by governments.
Of the remaining forest people, the Amazon supports the largest native, or indigenous populations, although these people, too, have been impacted by the modern world. While they still depend on the forest for traditional hunting and gathering, most Amerindians, as American indigenous people are called, grow crops (like bananas, manioc, and rice), use western goods (like metal pots, pans, and utensils), and make regular trips to towns and cities to bring foods and wares to market. Still, these forest people can teach us a lot about the rainforest. Their knowledge of medicinal plants used for treating illness is unmatched, and they have a great understanding of the ecology of the Amazon rainforest.
In Africa there are native forest dwellers sometimes known as pygmies. The tallest of these people, also called the Mbuti, rarely exceed 5 feet in height. Their small size enables them to move about the forest more efficiently than taller people.
Previous | Next
- Who lives in the rainforest?
- Where do the greatest number of indigenous rainforest peoples live today?
- Rainforest peoples From our main rainforests web site
- Amazon peoples From our main rainforests web site
- Congo peoples From our main rainforests web site
- Indigenous peoples news feed From Mongabay News
- Rainforest people news feed From Mongabay News
- May I use graphics from mongabay.com for my projects? Yes, you may provided that you don't remove the mongabay label from the images. You may use information from the site for class projects and can cite mongabay as the source.
- Where can I learn more about rainforests? Check the main rainforest site.
- Is this web site credible? Mongabay is the world's most popular source for information on tropical forests. The site is highly acclaimed by a number of the world's leading tropical scientists. See more answers at our frequently asked questions page.