Haast Rainforest

Read Colin's Journal

Rainforest What is a rainforest? It's a place with lots of rainfall, seasonally warm temperatures, and abundant light. These conditions lead to lush, diverse collections of plants and animals found from the forest's thick undergrowth up into the canopy formed by the tops of the trees.

During his trek, Colin walked through the Haast rainforest, located along the west coast of New Zealand's South Island. This area receives about 7 meters (almost 23 feet) of rain each year, leading to dense rainforests teeming with diverse plant and animal life. On the ground of the rainforest, soil forms from rotting leaves, mosses, ferns, trees, dead insects, and anything else that falls from above. Bacteria, fungi, and plants of all varieties grow in this soil. Tall trees reach upward to the sky to find the light they need to make food from water and carbon dioxide. The canopy of leaves stops much of the light from reaching the ground, but life can still flourish in the trunks of trees, in crevices in the bark, and where branches join the trunk. A single tree can support hundreds, even thousands, of other types of life!

FernWhile in the Haast rainforest, he observed many kinds of life — both on the ground and high up in the forest's canopy.

Want to learn more about rainforests? Explore these Web sites for details about other rainforests around the world, rainforest wildlife, and the different layers of the rainforest.