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Teaching Tropical Rainforest Biology

Introducing Tropical Rainforests: The "Wow" Factor

The need to conserve tropical rainforest biodiversity, from a practical standpoint, certainly provides a strong rationale for teaching about them. However, we shouldn’t forget that the exquisite ecological relationships which exist within this biome also give us ample reason to spend more time educating our students about them. The tropical rainforests provide so many examples of the "wow-factor", that ingredient which makes us all love teaching and learning biology so much. Even for those teachers who do not have the time or money to visit them, resources are available which can help you become an "arm-chair" expert in rainforest ecology.

The more you and your students learn about tropical rainforest ecology, the more you will enjoy and value this most wonderful ecosystem. Understanding and treasuring the precious nature of a gift lead to guardianship and conservation. This sentiment has been best expressed by an African conservationist who said, "In the end, we will conserve only what we love, we will love only what we understand, we will understand only what we are taught." In such a spirit, this section of Classrooms of the 21st Century is devoted to helping teachers and students gain an increased knowledge and appreciation of the tropical rainforest biome.

I have tried to provide a variety of helpful materials for those seeking information about tropical rainforests. These include suggestions for a tropical rainforest teaching unit, rainforest factoids, links to websites devoted to rainforests, film and book recommendations, photographs of selected rainforest plants and animals, information on rainforest destruction and conservation, and some thoughts on ecotourism and rainforest travel.


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