Unseen Passage: Amazon Rainforest

Reading Comprehension

The Amazon is the world’s largest tropical rainforest. It covers an area of nearly 2.8 million square miles, which is about the size of the continent of Australia. The Amazon rainforest gets its life from the majestic Amazon river, the world’s second largest river, which runs directly through the heart of the region. The rainforest itself is simply the drainage basin for the river and its many tributaries. The vast forest itself consists of four layers, each featuring its own ecosystem and specially adapted plants and animals.

The forest floor is the lowest region. Since only two per cent of the sunlight filters through the top layers to the under storey, very few plants grow here. The forest floor, however, is rich with rotting vegetation and the bodies of dead organisms, which are quickly broken down into nutrients and integrated into the soil. Tree roots stay close to these available nutrients and decomposers such as millipedes and earthworms use nutrients for food.

The under storey is the layer above the forest floor. Much like the forest floor, only about 2-5 per cent of the sunlight reaches this shadowy realm. Many of the plants in the under storey have large, broad leaves to collect as much sunlight as possible. The under storey is so thick that there is very little air movement. As a result, plants rely on insects and animals to pollinate their flowers.

The layer above the under storey is the canopy. This is where much of the action in the rainforest occurs. Many canopy leaves have specially adapted leaves which form “drip tips”. Drip tips allow water to flow off the leaves which prevents mosses, fungi, and lichens from occupying the leaves. Leaves in the canopy are very dense and filter about 80 per cent of the sunlight. The canopy is where the wealth of the rainforest’s fruits and flowers grow. Bromeliads-cup-like plants, provide drinking pools for animals and breeding locations for tree frogs.

Q. Answer the following questions:

  1. Why is the Amazon rainforest called the world’s largest rainforest?
  2. Which is the world’s second largest river?
  3. How important is the Amazon river for the Amazon rainforest?
  4. Why do very few plants grow in the under storey of the rainforests?

Answer

  1. The Amazon rainforest is called the world’s largest rainforest because it covers an area of nearly 2.8 million square miles.
  2. The Amazon is the world’s second largest river.
  3. The Amazon rainforest gets its life from the Amazon river.
  4. Only 2% of the sunlight filters through the top layers to the under storey, as a result very few plants grow here.

Q. Choose the correct alternatives:

  1. Why is there very little air movement in the under storey?
    1. it is the layer above the forest floor
    2. very few plants grow here
    3. under storey is so thick and also covered with large, broad leaves
    4. 2.5 percent of the sunlight reaches this shadowy realm
  2. What is the layer above the under storey called?
    1. top layer
    2. canapy
    3. canopy
    4. None of the above
  3. How are bromeliads useful for animals and tree frogs?
    1. allow water to flow off the leaves
    2. provide drinking pools
    3. provide nutrients
    4. filters about 80 per cent of the sunlight
  4. Find the word from the passage which means ‘grand’.
    1. miles
    2. majestic
    3. vast
    4. None of the above

Answer

  1. under storey is so thick and also covered with large, broad leaves
  2. canopy
  3. provide drinking pools
  4. majestic

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