There are many different types of rainforest, and the technical definitions for the various types are complex. However, below you can find a basic guide to the main types of rainforest found around the world.
This type of forest is found at elevations of up to approximately 1000 metres within the tropical belt. Due to the high rainfall and constant warm temperatures, they provide the perfect environment for plants and animals and so contain a great diversity of life. Lowland rainforests contain the tallest trees of all the types of rainforest, with the largest variety of species. (Source: mongabay.com)
Montane rainforests are found in mountainous areas within the tropical belt. At altitudes of 1000-2500 metres (lower montane) and 2500-3000 metres (upper montane, often cloud forest) these forests are usually cooler than lowland rainforest and are almost constantly dripping with moisture from the swirling clouds which engulf them. The trees in cloud forests do not grow so high as in lowland rainforest due to the cooler temperatures, but there are more ferns and epiphytic plants as these plants like moisture. (Source: mongabay.com)
Found in coastal areas, mangrove forests like saltwater and can tolerate periods of drought in the dry season. Mangrove trees can reach heights of 80 feet and are supported by stilt-like roots which raise the tree above the water. Mangrove forests provide shelter for wildlife in coastal waters and river systems, and help to aerate and cleanse the water. Unfortunately, vast areas of this coastal forest are removed to make way for shrimp farms which supply foreign markets such as ours.
This is a type of rainforest found at varying altitudes outside of the tropical belt. It occurs around the world, for example in the USA, Japan, New Zealand and Chile. It can include evergreen and deciduous broadleaf trees, and conifers such as the Redwood in the USA, or the Monkey Puzzle (Araucaria) in Chile. These forests are on average much cooler than tropical rainforests, and may even see snow in the winter months. Click here to read more about Araucaria forests in Chile (PDF format).