Jungle – Concept, flora, fauna and differences with the desert

We explain what the jungle is and how it differs from deserts. Animals and vegetation of the jungle. The Amazon jungle.

Rainforests are the largest oxygen generating centers in the world.

What is the jungle?

When we speak of Jungle, jungle or tropical rainforest, we refer fundamentally to a bioclimatic landscape, characterized by its frequent rainfall, its warm climate and abundant vegetation, organized at different levels of height.

However, there is no clear definition that distinguishes or reconciles these different terms, used more or less arbitrarily, usually with climatic additions such as tropical forest or equatorial forest, depending on their geographical location.

In the different forests of the planet there are practically two thirds of the total biomass of the planet, which represents an incredible biodiversity: millions of plant and animal species, many still to be discovered by humanity.

Forests are also the largest oxygen generation centers of the world (they produce almost 40% of it) and ecological refuges that even house pre-modern human communities, such as the Yanomami tribes in the Amazon.

However, large expanses of jungle on Earth are under siege by wood or paper industries, or by the constant expansion of the urban area of ​​our large cities.

Activities such as illegal mining (the garimpeiros Brazilians, for example, in the Amazon) also generate a huge environmental impact, much more drastic and accelerated, due to the use of polluting substances such as mercury, and extraction methods that deteriorate the soil in a semi-permanent way.

In the 1990s there was an increase in the rate of global deforestation, reducing the area covered by forests and jungles from 14% of the total land area to just 6%, losing an annual average of 58,000 square kilometers. If this rate of plant destruction continues, by the year 2050 they will have virtually disappeared from the planet.

Jungle animals

In the jungle there are large predators such as jaguars, pumas and panthers.

The fauna of the jungle varies according to its geographical location and its evolutionary history, but it is usually varied, abundant and rich in exchanges between species. Broadly speaking, we could organize them into the following categories:

  • Large predators. Like the cats of medium and superior size: jaguars, panthers, tigers, pumas, capable of chasing the prey between the foliage. Also birds of prey such as the hawk, the eagle or the night owl or the hunting and constrictor snakes (boa, anaconda, etc.).
  • Medium and large herbivores. Especially quadrupeds like the tapir or tapir, or in the African jungles, elephants and hippos, large ruminants.
  • Insects and arachnids. Thousands, perhaps millions of species of insects and arachnids compose an entire ecosystem in themselves, linking with the flora on which they feed (fruits, leaves, nectar, bark, etc.) and feeding rodents, birds and other insects o arachnids. Spiders, scorpions, and praying mantises are not in short supply either.
  • Rodents Abundant in the framework of trees or in understory litter, they tend to encompass a whole range of climbers, runners, and egg raiders. Many are scavengers.
  • Small and medium birds. Birds of various sizes, generally endowed with showy plumages and specialized beaks for obtaining food from logs, water, land or for the predation of smaller species.
  • Primates Chimpanzees, orangutans and other close cousins ​​of man.

Jungle vegetation

Jungle Vegetation
Usually all levels of vegetation are found in the jungle.

The jungle flora is particularly abundant, due to the high levels of humidity and precipitation, when not derived from rivers and lagoons or mangroves.

Usually all levels of vegetation are found in the jungle, from the creeping and shrub, to the large trees with a leafy crown, and the flat parasites on them. In these cases there is a fierce fight for light, so many species resort to various strategies to survive.

Amazon jungle

Amazon jungle
The Amazon rainforest is one of the seven natural wonders of the planet.

The Amazon is located in South America, part of the territory of the nations of Brazil, Venezuela, Colombia, Bolivia, Ecuador, Peru, Guyana, French Guyana and Suriname. Is about one of the largest expanses of humid tropical forest in the world, where millions of plant and animal species coexist, which has earned it the distinction of being one of the seven natural wonders of the planet.

The Amazon jungle develops in the vicinity of the Amazon River and its river basin, where the warm and rainy climate predominates, taken advantage of by an evergreen and abundant vegetation. In its approach to Peru and the Andean mountain range, the jungle also gains several floors in height and increases its biodiversity even more.


Deserts currently occupy almost a third of the planet.

The desert is often considered the opposite ecoregion to the rainforests. It is an arid area, with little or no precipitation, and therefore low fertile floors and scarce life, adapted to extreme conditions of temperature (intense heat during the day, cold at night) and drought.

Today deserts occupy about 50 million square kilometers of the earth’s surface, that is to say, almost a third of the planet.