The role of rainforests in the water cycle is to add water to the atmosphere through the process of transpiration (in which plants release water from their leaves during photosynthesis). This moisture contributes to the formation of rain clouds, which release the water back onto the rainforest. In the Amazon, 50-80 percent of moisture remains in the ecosystem’s water cycle.
When forests are cut down, less moisture goes into the atmosphere and rainfall declines, sometimes leading to drought.
In recent years, the rainforests of Borneo and the Amazon have experienced very severe droughts. These have been made worse by deforestation.
Moisture generated by rainforests travels around the world. Scientists have discovered that rainfall in America’s Midwest is affected by forests in the Congo. Meanwhile, moisture created in the Amazon ends up falling as rain as far away as Texas, and forests in Southeast Asia influence rain patterns in southeastern Europe and China. Distant rainforests are therefore important to farmers everywhere.
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- 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.
- 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. Mongabay Founder Rhett Butler has published several scientific papers.
- Can I interview the founder of mongabay for my school project? Unfortunately Rhett is not available for interviews. However he has answered some common questions on the Rainforest Interview page.
- Do you have any games or activities? Currently there are a few on the resources page.
- How can I help save rainforests? Some ideas are listed at Rainforest Solutions.
- Where can I learn more about rainforests? Check the main rainforest site.