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Producers of the Rain Forest

Tropical rain forests are green, hot, and moist all year long. An incredible variety of plants can be found growing throughout the rain forests. Tropical rain forests have three main layers—the forest floor, the understory, and the canopy.

  • The forest floor gets very little sunlight. Fungi, moss, herbs, and small, young trees grow in this layer. Insects and fungi feed on a thin layer of dead leaves on the ground. The forest floor is not a tangle of vines, as you might think, and is actually easy to walk through.
  • The understory is the area above the forest floor but below the tallest trees. This area is dark and gloomy. The trunks of the tallest trees are visible. Smaller trees, shrubs, vines, and other small plant life grow in this layer.
  • The canopy is the top layer of the rain forest. Here the tallest trees spread their branches to form a leafy rooftop to the forest. Trees in the canopy layer can reach 45 m (150 ft) above the ground. Most of the animal life in the rain forest lives in this layer.

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