10 THE SUNDARBANS
It is located in the Indian’s West Bengal and Bangladesh. The Sundarbans are known to be the home to the white tiger which is a variant of the Royal Bengal tiger. The vast Sundarbans National park is part of the Sundarbans delta which
9 Congo Basin Forest
Home to around 40 million people, the largest forest in Africa covers much of the continent’s central region (approximately 1.4 million square miles of it).
Countries located within its vast basin include Angola, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Republic of the Congo, Rwanda, South Sudan, Tanzania, and Zambia.
Widely considered to be the planet’s “second lung” (along with the Amazon), the Congo holds around 8% of the world’s forest-based carbon. The basin contains many different ecosystems, including several forest savannas, a coastal forest, three large lowland forests, and a swamp forest.
TIAGA BIOME/BOREAL FOREST
8 FORESTS OF NEW GUINEA
7 BIALOWIEZA PRIMEVAL FOREST
The Białowieża Forest World Heritage site, on the border between Poland and Belarus, is an immense range of primary forest including both conifers and broadleaved trees covering a total area of 141,885 hectares. Situated on the watershed of the Baltic Sea and Black Sea, this transboundary property is exceptional for the opportunities it offers for biodiversity conservation. It is home to the largest population of the property’s iconic species, the European bison.
Size: approx. 370,000 sq km / 140,000 sq mi
Borneo, the third largest island in the world, is politically divided between Indonesia, Malaysia, and Brunei. Roughly half of Borneo’s territory is covered by tropical forests, the only natural habitat for the endangered Bornean Orangutan.
Borneo’s forests are seriously threatened due to illegal logging, spreading oil palm cultivations, and forest fires. Since 1985, Borneo lost about 200,000 sq km of forest area. Malaysia is the largest exporter of tropical wood in the world, accounting for 70 percent of the world’s supply of raw-logs.
5 Scandinavian and Russian Taiga
Size: 2,16 million sq km / 834,000 sq mi
The Scandinavian and Russian Taiga, the largest ecoregion in Europe, occupies about 2,1 million sq km in Finland, Norway, Sweden, and parts of Western Russia and covers almost one third of Europe.
It is of global ecological significance because it locks billions of tons of carbon dioxide and provides excellent nesting habitat for many birds. Fossil fuel exploration, logging, mining, and increasing tourism are heavily threatening this ecoregion. Finland and Scandinavia also tail Canada as the world’s most important exporters of paper-products.
4 BOSAWÁS BIOSPHERE RESERVE
The huge forests of the Sierra Nevada mountains have to be on this list because they’re home to Sequoias, the biggest trees on the planet. The 38 groves that comprise the Sequoia National Forest provide shade for about 1865 square miles of wilderness.
A Sequoia is the world’s undisputed largest tree. It is believed to be over 2000 years old, weighing more than 2.5 million pounds and stretching over 275 feet tall.
The Great Lakes–St. Lawrence forest is in Canada, south of the boreal forest. Measuring around 45,000 square miles, it is Canada’s second biggest forest in Ontario. But it’s only a fraction of the size of the boreal forest.
Ecologically speaking, the area is considered a transition zone between the evergreens (such as spruces, hemlocks, and other conifers) of the boreal forest and the deciduous trees (such as oaks, birches, and maples) of the more southerly forests in the US.
The forest includes predator wildlife, such as Bears and Wolves. There is also plenty of big prey for them, in the form of Moose and Deer. Water-loving mammals like Beavers, Otters, and Muskrats are prevalent as well, as are some 220 species of birds.
Unfortunately, less than 5% of the original forest remains intact, due largely to agriculture and urban development. As a result, the Saint Lawrence River is considered one of the most polluted in the world, and the forest’s future remains vulnerable.
2 East-Siberian Taiga
This ecoregion is vast, spanning over 20 degrees of latitude and 50 degrees of longitude. It represents one of the most extensive natural forests left in the world. Larch forests dominate the region as they are able to withstand the extreme climate conditions. The diversity of this taiga is not fully represented in the protected area network.
1 AMAZON RAINFOREST
The Amazon rainforest, covering much of northwestern Brazil and extending into Colombia, Peru and other South American countries, is the world’s largest tropical rainforest, famed for its biodiversity. It’s crisscrossed by thousands of rivers, including the powerful Amazon. River towns, with 19th-century architecture from rubber-boom days, include Brazil’s Manaus and Belém and Peru’s Iquitos and Puerto Maldonado. Area: 5.5 million km²