The image below shows a typical cross section in the rainforest.
Cross section of the rainforest
Emergents are the tallest trees and are usually over 50 metres tall. The Kapok tree is an example of an emergent.
The sea of leaves blocking out the sun from the lower layers is called the canopy. The canopy contains over 50% of the rainforest wildlife. This includes birds, snakes and monkeys. Lianas (vines) climb to the canopy to reach this sun light.
The under canopy mainly contains bare tree trunks and lianas.
The shrub layer has the densest plant growth. It contains shrubs and ferns and other plants needing less light. Saplings of emergents and canopy trees can also be found here.
The forest floor is usually dark and damp. It contains a layer of rotting leaves and dead animals called litter. This decomposes rapidly (within 6 weeks) to form a thin humus, rich in nutrients.