Charlie has entered his first Central American Country; beautiful Belize! This is the smallest country that we will visit on our trip. Tiny Belize was formally a British Colony and was also part of the British Empire, it now remains in the Common Wealth and our Queen can be seen on their currency.
Charlie found other clues that showed this tiny country once had British people ruling it such as; Bakeries, the English Language being spoken and British Land Rovers being driven on the roads.
Belize is about the same size as Wales, but within this tiny country there are varied landscapes, from rainforests, to swamps, to mountains and beautiful coasts. As Charlie has spent a lot of time exploring mountains and coasts he chose to spend time in the Rainforest.
The Belize Rainforest is vast, covering half of this Central American country. Charlie went for a walk through the Rainforest and stumbled across dense jungles, underground caves, river valleys and tropical waterfalls. The Belize Rainforest is so vast that to this day, some areas remain unexplored.
Charlie enjoyed his walk so much that he decided to spend the night in a jungle retreat. He met the owner who has lived in the jungle his whole life. Charlie had been wondering what was the difference between a Rainforest and a Jungle, so he decided to ask the expert. The owner explained that although Jungles and Rainforests might appear to be similar, there are differences between the two. A Rainforest area is often surrounded by a Jungle, the main difference is a Rainforest has several canopy layers.
There is an upper canopy of trees that are between 60 and 130 feet high. This is where most of the animals live. Then there is the lower canopy of trees 60 feet high. Hardly any light reaches here and it is very humid. Lastly, there is the ground level, which has very little vegetation (plants) so you can easily walk around. But if you do, watch where you step…about 80% of the world’s insect species live here!
A jungle floor on the other hand will usually have a thick layer of plants because the sunlight can reach the floor. If a Rainforest is cleared it becomes a Jungle. Some jungles are created when humans cut down the tall trees causing the sunlight to reach the ground for the smaller plants to grow.
Sadly, Charlie learned that Rainforests are becoming endangered.
Why are Rainforests disappearing?
Each year millions of acres of rainforests are disappearing. Every second, an area the size of a football field disappears. That’s over 31 million football fields of rainforest each year.
- The trees are being cut down for wood for construction, furniture and burning.
- The rainforests are being cleared for farming, cattle grazing and roads.
Rainforest are really important
- They are home to many tribal communities
- Half of the world’s animal and plant species live in the Rainforest.
- Rainforest help to control the Worlds climate
- They remove huge amounts of Carbon Dioxide from the air and release oxygen for us to breathe.
- Vital medicines and foods are found in the Rainforest
- Rainforests protect against flooding and pollution.
Charlie wants to help protect Rainforests. One of the ways we can all help is by recycling paper, this reduces the need for cutting down trees.
If you would like to learn more about the Rainforest use the website below.