Forests are vital ecosystems that cover vast expanses of our planet, providing habitat to countless species, regulating the climate, and offering essential resources. Some of these diverse and expansive woodland areas stand out for their sheer size and ecological significance.
Here, we explore the top 10 most extensive forests in the world:
Amazon Rainforest, South America
Undoubtedly the most renowned forest, the Amazon Rainforest spans nine countries in South America. Covering approximately 5.5 million square kilometres, it’s not only the largest forest but also houses incredible biodiversity and plays a crucial role in global climate regulation.
Congo Basin, Africa
The Congo Basin Forest is the second-largest tropical rainforest, extending through multiple African countries, such as the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Cameroon, and Gabon. Encompassing over 3 million square kilometres, it hosts diverse wildlife, including forest elephants and gorillas.
Taiga of Russia and Canada
The Taiga, the boreal forest, covers expansive areas of Russia and Canada. Encompassing roughly 10% of Earth’s land surface, this cold forest is approximately 8 million square kilometres and is characterized by coniferous trees like spruce and fir.
Valdivian Temperate Rainforest, Chile
The Valdivian Temperate Rainforest spans over 248,100 square kilometres in Chile and parts of Argentina. This unique forest boasts ancient tree species, including Alerce and Coigüe, contributing significantly to the region’s biodiversity.
Sundarbans, India and Bangladesh
The Sundarbans, spread across India and Bangladesh, cover an area of about 10,000 square kilometres. This mangrove forest is renowned for its Royal Bengal tigers and other wildlife, adapting to the unique tidal environment.
Tongass National Forest, United States
In Alaska, the Tongass National Forest is the largest national forest in the United States, covering about 68,062 square kilometres. This temperate rainforest is home to diverse species like bears, bald eagles, and Pacific salmon.
Daintree Rainforest, Australia
The Daintree Rainforest in Queensland, Australia, spans approximately 1,200 square kilometres. Recognized as one of the oldest rainforests globally, it hosts unique flora and fauna, including the endangered southern cassowary.
Kinabalu National Park, Malaysia
Kinabalu National Park, situated in the Malaysian state of Sabah in Borneo, covers an area of around 754 square kilometres. Renowned for Mount Kinabalu, Southeast Asia’s highest peak, this forest is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Black Forest, Germany
The Black Forest (Schwarzwald) in Germany spans around 6,009 square kilometres. Famous for its dense canopy of evergreen trees, it attracts tourists for its charming villages and scenic beauty.
Bialowieza Forest, Poland and Belarus
Straddling the border between Poland and Belarus, the Bialowieza Forest covers approximately 1,487 square kilometres. It’s one of Europe’s last remaining primeval forests, featuring ancient woodlands and serving as a haven for European bison.
These awe-inspiring forests play a critical role in maintaining ecological balance, preserving biodiversity, and providing resources for human livelihoods. Their sheer size and significance underscore the importance of conservation efforts to safeguard these invaluable natural wonders for future generations.