General distribution of tropical moist forests
The biome includes several types of forests:
- Lowland equatorial evergreen rain forests, commonly known as tropical rainforests, are forests which receive high rainfall (tropical rainforest climate with more than 2000 mm, or 80 inches, annually) throughout the year. These forests occur in a belt around the equator, with the largest areas in the Amazon basin of South America, the Congo basin of central Africa, and parts of the Malay Archipelago.
- Tropical seasonal forest: also known as moist deciduous, monsoon or semi-evergreen (mixed) seasonal forests have a monsoon or wet savannah climates (as in the Köppen climate classification): receiving high overall rainfall with a warm summer wet season and (often) a cooler winter dry season. Some trees in these forests drop some or all of their leaves during the winter dry season. These forests are found in parts of South America, in Central America and around the Caribbean, in coastal West Africa, parts of the Indian subcontinent, and across much of Indochina.
- Montane rain forests, are found in cooler-climate mountainous areas. Those with elevations high enough to regularly encounter low-level cloud cover are known as cloud forests.
- Flooded forests, including freshwater swamp forests and peat swamp forests.
In contrast to TSMF, tropical forest regions with lower levels of rainfall are home to tropical dry broadleaf forests and tropical coniferous forests. Temperate rain forests also occur in certain humid temperate coastal regions. Tropical and subtropical moist broadleaf forests are common in several terrestrial ecozones, including parts of:
About half of the world's tropical rainforests are in the South American countries of Brazil and Peru. Rainforests now cover less than 6% of Earth's land surface. Scientists estimate that more than half of all the world's plant and animal species live in tropical rain forests.