African rainforests, though at the danger of being totally wiped out, are home to lots of plants and animals. They cover over 3.6m square kilometers and mostly found in West, Central, and East Africa. Despite the size, they receive very minimal rainfall, between 1500mm and 2000mm per year due to uncontrolled human activity such as logging and settlement in the areas. It makes these unique rainforests one of the world’s most endangered ecosystems. The rainforests are mostly found in the following countries: Congo, Democratic Republic of Congo, Cameroon, Ghana, Gabon, Liberia and Nigeria among others.
Listed below are some facts about African rainforests;
Congo basin factor
The Congo Basin, reaching across six Central and West African countries, is only rivalled by the Amazon rainforest as the world’s largest rainforests. The Congo basin is also known for its rich mineral deposits. Fact-checking site fact sd put the diamond deposits along the Congo basin among the largest in the world. There is also gold and coal to be found there.
Several communities are habiting the Congo, but the most famous among them are the pygmies who are known for their stunted growth and stocky figures.
Home to plant life
The African rainforests play host to more than 8000 species of plants, most of which have medicinal value. These are a mixture of mostly indigenous trees although some exotic species can also be found especially in human-made forests
Trees, which take up the majority of the rainforest vegetation, are so closely packed together that a raindrop can take up to 10 minutes before getting to the ground. It is perhaps the reason areas with rainforests record more rainfall than other parts of the continent.
The most common trees in the African rainforests are coconut trees.
The rainforests also play host to more than 2500 species of vines.
Liberian rainforests are home to more than two hundred and sixty species of trees such as walnut, mahogany, and teak.
Home to animal life
The rainforests are also home to an extraordinary number of animals. The most common of them all is the mountain gorilla in Rwanda and Congo. The mountain gorilla is vegetarian.
Acrobatic jumpers, the black colobus monkey, are found along the high canopies stretching from River Congo to Southwest Cameroon.
The world’s largest monkey, the patas monkeys, are found on the coastal forests of Ghana, Equatorial Guinea, and Nigeria.
Elephants can also be found in the rainforests. They are however much smaller compared to Africa savanna elephants.
The talkative and verbal mimic, the African grey parrot, have also their place in the rainforests.
The Pygmy hippopotamus found in the rainforests is the smallest species of hippopotamuses and weigh averagely 418 pounds and are only five feet long.
Energy supply and deforestation
At least 70% of the African population uses fuel from wood as the primary energy for cooking. This translates to about 52% of energy sources in Africa and has hugely contributed to deforestation and the dwindling of the rainforests. With this has come the loss of habitat to plant and animal life.