Tropical Rainforests, such as the Amazon, are found near the equator in Central and South America, Africa, Southeast Asia, and Australia. The tropical rainforest floor layer, or forest floor, is the ground layer of this biome. It lies beneath the emergent, canopy
and understory layers, which is the reason why almost no sunlight reaches this area. As
you read the facts below, you will learn what animals live at this layer, the flora found there, what
the conditions are like, and why this layer is so important. The information is presented in a simple list format where both adults and kids will appreciate the
Floor Layer Decomposition Facts
The forest layer holds the key to the proper functioning of the entire rainforest
ecosystem. It is where the important process of decomposition takes place.
Because of the dark and moist conditions, plants, leaves, animals and other forest
remains decay very quickly.
Micro-organisms like Saprophytes recycle and feed on the decaying matter. This in turn
begins the food chain, or the circle of life, for both plants and animals to survive.
Floor Layer Animal Facts
Animals that live on the floor layer are some of the largest in the rainforest and are a
mix of both carnivores and herbivores.
Not all tropical rainforests have the same animals, but jungle cats of one species or
another inhabit all of them except Australias rainforests. Depending on the continent,
you will find tigers, pumas, leopards, jaguars, and ocelots. Unfortunately, the jaguar
and the tiger are currently endangered animals.
Some other species that thrive on the tropical rainforest floor include
elephants, mongoose, tapirs, Southern Cassowaries, okapis, armadillos, rainforest pigs
Rainforest pigs include wild boars and warthogs. They dig large holes in the
ground, wait for a rain storm to attract insects and fish to the water, and feed on them.
A wide variety of insect, amphibian, and reptile species also inhabit the forest floor.
The scorpion is a forest floor insect that feeds on other insects and spiders but has to
watch out for snakes and other animals.
Army ants, the most dangerous kind of ants, call the rainforest floor home. Their food
supply is plentiful as they will move in colonies to attack and eat anything they come in contact with, even humans.
Floor Layer Plant Facts
With only 2 percent of sunlight hitting the floor layer, very little vegetation can survive in
such darkness. Common among the flora at this layer is moss and low lying plants such as ferns and ginger.
Mushrooms and fungi thrive in warm, moist conditions and are able to grow by living
inside or next to decaying trees and plants. They survive on nutrients from decaying
matter by recycling the important materials.
One interesting plant that relies on animals for reproduction is the strangler fig. When
birds feast on this floor layer plant and then fly away, the seeds are dropped
in the birds waste. These seeds settle into crevices high up in the trees. The plant then grows
both upwards towards the sunlight and down to the forest floor.