Variety in species makes our world more sustainable to disease, famine, and severe weather. Altogether, we find more variety in warmer climates, particularly in tropical climates. It is no surprise that the top five forests for diversity are rainforests.
We categorize the forests with the most diversity with the sheer number of different species. However, there could be some argument for the percentage of variety. In these forests, not only will you find a variety of tree species, but animals and other plant life as well.
Generally speaking, temperate and boreal climates see less variety. The restrictions for surviving in these climates create a poor environment to breed diversity. In fact, the colder the average temperature gets, the less diversity you will see in the plant and animal life.
The size of many of our diverse forests also helps them support more variety. In fact, the top two forests are over one million square miles.
To learn more about which forests have the most trees regardless of species, Read More.
Top 5 Forests with the Most Diversity
- New Guinea Rainforest
- The Amazon Rainforest
- Bosawas Biosphere Reserve
- The Congo Rainforest
- Borneo Rainforest
New Guinea Rainforest
The New Guinea Rainforest is a unique environment home to almost 4000 tree species. The New Guinea Rainforest is home to 7% of the world's tree species. Altogether, the rainforest takes up much of the island of Papua New Guinea.
The forest takes up approximately 300,000 square miles of the island. Compared to other forests on our list, the New Guinea Rainforest is small. However, the isolation of an island allowed a massive and unique ecosystem to form. Many species living and thriving on the island do not live anywhere else in the world. In fact, over 1200 tree species are endemic to this island.
Human development threatens many of these species. At this time, 36% of the endemic trees are listed as endangered. Experts even fear that as many as 90% of the species are under a major threat of extinction of danger.
With over 4000 tree species, the New Guinea Rainforest holds the title as the most diverse rainforest. Even the massive Amazon Rainforest cannot compare to the number of species present.
The Amazon Rainforest
The Amazon Rainforest is by far the largest rainforest on the planet. It dwarfs the other forests on our list. In fact, the Congo Rainforest is the closest in size, and it is almost half the area. Overall, the numbers we have on the Amazon Rainforest are inaccurate.
The forest is so large that much of it is unexplored. That being said, there could be hundreds or thousands of unidentified endemic species existing without any human knowledge or intervention. At this time, there are 2500 species of trees growing in the Amazon Rainforest.
Brazil is home to much of the Amazon Rainforest. With the remote location, political climate, and unknown dangers, the forest is considered one of the most unexplored areas of the world. Scientists estimate that over 50% of the forest is still to be explored.
Some deforestation and climate change threaten the Amazon Rainforest. However, the remote location in South America has left it largely untouched by human development. Most of the cultures that live in the shadows of the forest live harmoniously with it.
Bosawas Biosphere Reserve
In the country of Nicaragua is the Bosawas Biosphere Reserve. Like the Amazon, much of this reserve is unexplored. The area is protected by the government of Nicaragua and the United Nations. However, the protection of the land is not for the local plant and animal life.
Conflicts arose among the indigenous people and the Reserve was created to protect indigenous lands. The area is under threat because of the abundance of timber and gold resources. Almost 7% of Nicaragua falls in the zone of the Reserve.
The Bosawas Biopshere Reserve is almost 4000 square miles. The exact number of tree species growing throughout the area is unknown, but certain to be at least 1000. Many of these species are endemic to the area.
With government protection, the Biosphere is less threatened than other forests on our list. However, the political climate in the area is rocky. Moreover, there are untold dangers on the land and with the indigenous people. Much of the Reserve continues to be unexplored and will stay that way.
The Congo Rainforest
The Congo Rainforest is the second largest forest in the world. It covers approximately 1.4 million square miles. In fact, it is a part of six different countries in Africa. With so much space, you would expect a significant amount of diversity. However, the Congo supports 600 tree species. While in the top five of our lists, it displays less diversity than the other forests.
Many national forests protect the Congo from deforestation. Although, the unprotected areas are under significant threat. With a warm climate, development spreads quickly across the land.
Scientists believe that the Amazon Rainforest is like a lung for our planet. With so much plant life, the rainforest is constantly cleaning the air for us. Between its sheer size and location, the Congo is often considered the second lung. The coverage area is dwarfed by the Amazon, but it is still the second-largest forest.
Borneo is an island located in Asia. It is the third largest island in the world. Before human intervention, it was once a dense and unknown rainforest. In the last century, explorers arrived and developed the island at an astonishing rate.
Almost overnight, it went from unexplored jungles to an industrialized island. Three countries split the land of the island: Malaysia, Brunei, and Indonesia. Indonesia claims almost three-quarters of the land.
Despite the rampant deforestation, the Borneo Rainforest is still one of the most diverse forests in the world. It is home to 700 species of tree. Like the other forests on our list, many of the species are endemic to Borneo.
Since 2002, Borneo has lost almost 6 million hectares of primary forest cover. Deforestation continues at an alarming rate endangering many unique species of animals, insects, and plants.