Salty Sam’s Fun Blog for Children

Number 211

Tropical Rainforests

 

Hello Everyone

 

 

This week Bill and Bob were telling me about a project they were doing at school.

 

lt was a project about the rainforest.

 

Miss Pringle, their teacher at the Rocky Bay primary school, said that although there were no rainforests in Britain, and in fact, there weren’t any in Europe either, they were very important to the whole world.

 

They contained many treasures and were very special and interesting places.  They were also very wet; soaking wet, for most of the time actually.

 

The rainforest is a place like no other. 

 

This is what Miss Pringle taught her class…

 

Rainforests are immensely important to the whole planet because they contain over 50% of the world’s wildlife and yet only cover about 6% of the world’s land.  That is an amazing statistic.  They also produce ingredients found in about a quarter of the products that you will buy from a pharmacy.

 

Rainforests have very high biodiversity – that means lots of different types of wildlife living together in one place.

 

The reason that so much wildlife lives in these jungles is because of the way different layers of growth are stacked one on top of another to create a sort of high-rise living space.

 

The greatest concentrated biodiversity of any habitat inhabits these layers.  

 

At the bottom is the watery basement – a network of rivers inhabited by fish and river dolphins as well as other freshwater creatures.  The ground floor is kept fairly clear by insects which eat dead animals and fallen leaves.

 

Above that is the under storey which is about 9m high, then above that is the middle storey which is mainly a travel zone for creatures like monkeys that move about looking for food and above this is the upper storey, or the canopy, which captures about 99% of the sunlight and also most of the rain to protect the fragile soil on the forest floor beneath.

 

The emergent zone is where a few of the tallest trees stand above the main canopy.  The tallest ever found grow up to 87m.  This is where birds of prey hunt and it can be a dangerous place to be for animals even as big as monkeys as they become exposed to these flying hunters.

 

Rainforests are found in tropical regions, mostly in South America, Africa, Australia, Asia, the Pacific lslands and lndonesia. About 30% of the rainforests are in Brazil.

 

They have different plants and animals and levels of rainfall.  The Hawaiian rainforest has the highest rainfall at over 10m per year.

 

Because the tropical rainforests grow quite close to the Equator, they do not have summer and winter seasons like other parts of the world; but they do have different temperature ranges during the day.  The average day temperature will be around 27 degrees Celsius, but the temperature will dip dramatically at sunset.

 

These forests produce a significant amount of the world’s oxygen and have plants that produce food and useful products.  The plants in the rainforest grow very closely together and have to contend with the constant threat of insect predators.  They have evolved to produce chemicals in order to protect themselves, and scientists have found these chemicals to be very useful in producing new medicines. 

 

There are many wonders still to be discovered because only a tiny percentage of plant life has been carefully studied by scientists.

 

A rainforest is quite an inhospitable place for most humans but animals love it.

 

There are tribes of people who live in the forest.  They live in harmony with nature and know what is dangerous to them and what they can use for food and medicine.  These people often have little or no contact with the outside world.

 

lt rains every day in the rainforest and you can expect a downpour any time from mid afternoon.  lt also rains a lot at night.  The rain is really, really heavy.

 

All this water keeps the forest very lush. 

 

Every morning, puffs of clouds sit just above the treetops looking like patches of eerie mist.  These clouds are made from the water in the forest evaporating into the atmosphere above the trees.  As these clouds grow bigger they turn into rain clouds and the rain comes down again to soak the forest.  This process happens every day, which is why it rains every day. The forest creates its own climate.

 

lnside the forest, it seems quite dark and mysterious as the thick canopy of leaves blocks out up to 98% of the sunlight.  Each plant strives to find the light coming from the sky above and most of them have a habit of growing very upright as they compete with each other.  The tallest will grow to usually 70 metres or more – these are called emergent trees.  They will get more sunlight as they stand above the plants around them.

 

Most of the canopy will be made up of trees that will be about half to two thirds of this height.  ln places where the canopy is dense, the rain is collected in the leaves and hardly falls to the forest floor at all.

 

With all that rain and the tropical heat, the air under the canopy has nearly 100% humidity.  That means that the air carries as much water in it as is possible.  This is an uncomfortable environment for people to live in, but the animals that live in the forest are well-adapted to these conditions.

 

There are many types of animals that live here and many kinds of plants too.  Some plants don’t grow on the forest floor but grow on others in the canopy.  These are called epiphytes.  We are familiar with them because we can grow them in our homes as house plants.  ln fact a lot of our houseplants come from the jungle because they are the kind of plants than can grow in dim light and warm rooms.  Some of the bromeliads can hold several litres of water and are home to small animals like frogs, insects and even crabs.

 

There are over 3,000 types of fruits to be found in the jungle.  Many of them are brightly-coloured so that animals can find them easily.  The fruits want to be eaten so that their seeds can pass through animals and be taken to a new place to grow.  You will find some of them, like papaya and mangos, in your local supermarkets.

 

The birds can be brightly-coloured, like the parrots and toucans, but the other animals are often of a colour that acts as camouflage to help protect them from predators.  There are humming birds that pollinate flowers with their long beaks.  Some of these birds are smaller than a butterfly.

 

An animal that is well-adapted to living in the rain forest is the sloth.  Some are active in the day time and some at night; but all of them are unbelievably slow in the way they move.  This stealthy movement and the colour of their fur make them almost unnoticeable as they move through the branches.  Their fur is adapted to being soaked for most of the time.  lt grows in such a way to let the rainwater drip off constantly in the daily downpours.   Their coats have coarse outer hair and an inner undercoat of soft down which tends to stay dry.  They quite like swimming in the jungle rivers too.

 

Not only are the sloths movements slow but their digestive system is too.  This helps their bodies to get the most out of a diet of leaves which have low-nutritional value.

 

There are all manner of bats, snakes, lizards, scorpions and other creepy-crawlies that hide in the nooks and crevices of the forest.  Some are day creatures and some can only be seen at night.

 

The poison dart frogs have beautiful, vivid colours on their skin.  These act as a warning to other creatures not to eat them.  Their skin contains strong poison which is a good protection for them.  They love the humidity of the forest and hop about the ground or climb into the tree tops.

 

The Jesus Christ lizard has the most amazing ability to run across the surface of the water.  Many creatures often have to find a way to cross rivers if they want to make their way through the forest.

 

Over half the animals of the rainforest live up in the tree tops.  These will be animals like monkeys, apes and lemurs.  The ones that live on the floor are often shy and well-camouflaged and sometimes only come out at night.

 

The different types of monkeys are often active during the day especially in the cool of the early morning and hardly ever come down to the forest floor at all. 

 

The tapir comes out to feed at night.  They use their sensitive trunk-like nose to smell out fruit and tasty leaves to eat as they walk about.  They can also use their long nose as a snorkel when they decide to swim across a deep river!

 

The biggest animals to be found in the rainforest are gorillas, chimpanzees, tigers, jaguars, bush babies and bats.

 

But of course rainforests in different parts of the world have a different selection of animals.

 

The understorey is the layer of the rainforest between the canopy and the forest floor.  Here the leaves are often very big so that they can capture what light gets through the canopy above them.

 

The soil in the forest is poor in nutrients, it is ancient and fragile and when deforestation takes place, it easily washes away in the rain.

 

Much forest has been cleared to make farmland for crops and cattle in order to make money and sometimes also to build towns.  This loss of habitat endangers the plants, animals and peoples of these areas.

 

There are ways that crops like chocolate, coffee, Brazil nuts and bananas can be grown in these areas without the wholesale destruction of the forests in the process.

 

This is good news.

 

 

Bye bye everyone – don’t forget to subscribe to my blog!

 

Love and kisses

 

 

Salty Sam

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www.christina-sinclair.com

 

 

 

Bill and Bob’s Joke of the Weekjokejoke

 

Bill: What is a parrot’s favourite game?

 

Bob: l don’t know.  What is a parrot’s favourite game?

 

Bill: Hide and speak!

 

 

Salty Sam © Christina Sinclair 2015

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of material from this blog without express and written permission from this blog’s author and owner is strictly prohibited.

Links may be used to www.christina-sinclair.com

 

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Picture Gallery

 

Emergent trees and low lying cloud

(Arborday.org)

 

A dense canopy

 

Sloth

 

Strawberry poison dart frog

 

Blue poison dart frog

 

Jesus Christ lizard

 

Tapir

 

Jaguar

 

Epiphytes in the Palm House at Kew Gardens

 

A banana tree

 

How bananas grow

 

A topical water lily from the rainforest collection of plants at Kew Gardens

 

Frogs sometimes raise tadpoles in pools of water that has collected in plants

 

Bromeliads are epiphytes

 

 

 

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  desk   THE SALTY SAM NEWS DESKdesk

coffee

 

Well, there might be a lot of life in the rainforest but there are signs of new life here too.  Spring is just beginning to show up in Rocky Bay.

The children took some more pictures for me for my news desk quiz this week.

They are very pretty, aren’t they?

Can you identify these trees?

It has been estimated that there are over 3 trillion trees on this planet.

Here are three of them…

 

 

 

 

Did you know that there are more trees in London that people?  There is talk of turning the whole metropolis into a ‘garden city’.

Trees are a very important feature in cities to counteract pollution.

In the attempt to help stem the effects of global warming, the government announced plans for a new Northern Forest in January of 2018.

It will stretch all the way from Liverpool over to Hull.  That is from one coast to the other across the north of England.

The plan is to plant 50 million new trees in the years to come to increase tree cover around Manchester, Leeds and Bradford.

And a scheme to wild the banks of the canals in Birmingham with fruit trees and a variety of other plants aims to create the longest linear orchard in the country.

 

 

In an even bigger and more widespread plan, the Queen’s Commonwealth Canopy (QCC) is an inspired idea to create a global network of conserved and protected forest across Commonwealth Countries.

This plan will not only protect vast areas of precious rainforest but all sorts of different forests and habitats in different climates as well.

The plan is designed to help stop global warming.

There are about 1,400 trees in the gardens of Buckingham Palace and the Royal-backed scheme is reaching out to the far corners of the planet.

 

 

When you plant a tree it is a lovely thing to do, but the young trees have to be cared for afterwards.

Have you ever seen trees planted by your council obviously dead within a few months?

They have been left in small plastic tubes, choked by grass, knocked over.

If you see some young trees planted near you, you can help them out by pulling grass away from their roots, watering them in hot weather and cutting ties that have been forgotten about that are now biting into the tree’s bark because the tree has grown and is big enough to stand without support.

Everything the council does has to be paid for by rates money or tax money.  You can help young trees just as much as a council worker.

Every little helps.

 

Thank you.

 

 

 

 

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Quick Quiz

 

Fill in the gaps to find rainforest animals…

 

T _ U _ A _

P _ R _ O _

M _ N _ E _

S _ A _ E

G _ R _ L _ A

F _ O _

L _ Z _ R _

 

 

 

 

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lt’s the Weekend!

 

 

HOW TO MAKE SOME KNlTTlNG BAG ACCESSORlES

You may not have finished making the bag from last week yet but here are some lovely accessories to go with it when you have finished.

Have you ever put your knitting in a bag to take it somewhere and the points of your needles keep poking everywhere?

This knitting needle point cover will protect the ends of your needles and also help to stop your knitting from falling off your needle while it is packed away in a bag.

 

There is also a little box to keep yarn needles and safety pins in.

 

You will need 1 sheet of plastic canvas 7 mesh

10.5 inches x 13.5 inches/26.7cm x 34.3cm

 

NEEDLE POINT GUARD

Cut 2 panels as follows:-

 

23 holes by 7 holes

 

Sew two rows of each colour in tent stitch diagonally across each piece of plastic canvas

Then sew across one top rim, down the side of the guard this time sewing both pieces together

Sew along the base and up the other side

Then across the other top rim

 

ACCESSORIES BOX

 

BOX TOP

1 top 14 holes by 23 holes

2 sides 7 holes by 23 holes

2 ends 7 holes by 14 holes

Sew two rows of each colour in tent stitch diagonally across each piece of plastic canvas

Sew the sides to the top and then along the corner edges

 

BOX TOP INNER SKIN

1 top 12 holes by 21 holes

2 sides 6 holes by 21 holes

2 ends 6 holes by 12 holes

Sew the sides to the 4 edges of the top using white yarn but not down the corner edges

Push the inner skin into the lid and sew around the rim to hold in place

 

BOX BOTTOM

1 base 12 holes by 21 holes

2 sides 8 holes by 21 holes

2 ends 8 holes by 12 holes

Sew tent stitch diagonally across each piece of plastic canvas

Sew the sides to the base and then along the corner edges using a contrasting colour

 

BOX BOTTOM INNER SKIN

1 base 10 holes by 19 holes

2 sides 7 holes by 19 holes

2 ends 7 holes by 10 holes

Sew the sides to the 4 edges of the base using white yarn but not down the corner edges

Push the inner skin into the lid and sew around the rim to hold in place

 

Cut a piece of felt 4cm by 7cm and push into the bottom of the base of the box.  You can use this to keep your yarn needles, safety pins, tape measure and stitch counters safe.

 

 

 

Please note that the material on this blog is for personal use and for use in classrooms only.

It is a copyright infringement and, therefore, illegal under international law to sell items made with these patterns.

Use of the toys and projects is at your own risk.

©Christina Sinclair Designs 201

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Answers to the News Desk Quiz

 

Hazel

Cherry plum

Alder

 

 

 

 

Quick Quiz Answers

 

T O U C A N

P A R R O T

M O N K E Y

S N A K E

G O R l L L A

F R O G

L l Z A R D

 

Squirrel monkeys

 

Yellow Allamanda Cathartica Hendersonii grows along sunny river banks in the rainforests

 

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