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Rain Forest

July 06, 1998

Even though rain forests only cover 6% of the world's land surface, they contain more than 50% of the world's species of plants and animals. But the rain forests serve as more than just a home to these species; they also play a vital role in cooling the Earth, supplying oxygen for the planet and providing medicines. To learn more about the rain forest, use direct links on The Times Launch Point Web site:

Level 1

The Tropical Rain Forest: Rain forest plants help keep our air clean by producing oxygen through a process called photosynthesis. Find out some interesting facts about the rain forest and its abundance of animal and plant life.

Rain Forests: Discover the types of rain forests and how they are classified by climate, altitude and latitude. Read about some of the people, animals and plants that make the rain forests their home.

Life in the Tropical Rain Forest: Did you know that on average a tropical rain forest receives 100 to 400 inches of rain per year? Learn about the climate and locations of tropical rain forests around the world through maps and charts.

Level 2

Welcome to the Tropical Rain Forest: Explore the levels of the rain forest: the emergent layer, the canopy, the understory and the forest floor. Read about the unique features of individual rain forests.

The Rain Forest: Learn amazing facts about this unique environment, which has approximately 30 million species of animals and plants.

Rain Forests at Risk: People are destroying rain forests by logging, mining, building roads and raising cattle. The devastation of this habitat has important consequences such as soil erosion, changes in rainfall distribution and global warming.

Level 3

Tropical Rain Forests: Tropical rain forests participate in their own recycling plan.

The Earth's Rain Forests: Get a closer look at North America's largest rain forest, the conservation of Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula and the plight of Hawaii's rain forests.

Welcome to the Jungle: Zoologists are studying a rain forest on a small island in the South Pacific to see how a rain forest rebuilds itself.

Launch Point is produced by the UC Irvine department of education, which reviews each site for appropriateness and quality. Even so, parents should supervise their children's use of the Internet. This week's column was designed by Lisa Brooks, Robyne Maffia, Jenna Stretars, Stan Woo-Sam and Anna Manring.

Explorer's Quest

What is the average year-round temperature in a tropical rain forest?

Clue: See Life in the Tropical Rain Forest

Find What You Need to Know: Have a project on California history? Need help doing a math problem? Launch Point now covers more than 50 topics for getting your schoolwork done. Go to for the full list of subjects and direct links to the best Internet sites.

Answer to last week's Quest: Scotch tape.

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