Differences Between Deserts And Rainforests

Last Updated on January 2, 2022 by QCity Editorial Stuff

Deserts and rainforests may seem like opposites, but they have a lot in common. For one, both environments are known for their extreme conditions. Desert temperatures can reach over 120 degrees Fahrenheit while rainforest climates stay around 80 degrees year-round. Deserts also lack water sources such as rivers or streams that could provide life-giving moisture to the plants and animals living there, whereas the Amazon River is home to nearly 1 million species of plants and animals with most of them relying on this river for survival. These two habitat types share many important similarities yet also possess key differences which we will explore in detail below.

The differences between deserts and rainforests are primarily geographical. There are three main types of desert, while there is only one type of rainforest. The first difference between the two is their location on the globe. Deserts are found in areas that receive little rainfall, while rainforests grow in places with high levels of humidity and precipitation every year. The second difference between deserts and rainforests is the way they are formed over time by natural events such as wind or water erosion. Finally, another major difference between these two landforms can be seen when looking at their ecosystems which include animal life, vegetation growth patterns, soil composition, temperature range during different seasons, and other factors that enable organisms to survive within them. 

Comparison Between Deserts And Rainforests

Parameters of ComparisonDesertsRainforests
System Dry and hot Wet and warm 
Biodiversity Less have it Have more it 
Area Middle east Central or South America 
Plant Do not have plant Have plant 
Rain Not rain Enough  rain 

What Are Deserts?

Deserts are biomes characterized by a lack of precipitation and extreme temperatures. They often have small plants, but most deserts have no vegetation at all. Many parts of the world’s deserts are expanding due to climate change. Deserts can be found on every continent except Antarctica, although they only cover about 20% of Earth’s land surface area. 

Deserts generally receive less than 250 millimeters (10 inches) of rainfall per year and many receive even less – some as little as 10 millimeters (1/3 inch). However, some deserts such as those in central Asia may experience rainfall several times per year while others like the Namib desert in Africa may go years without any rain at all.

Deserts are dry, barren places that typically have a lot of sand and very little rainfall. Deserts can be found all over the world in different regions including North America, Africa, Australia, and Asia. The animals that live in deserts have evolved to be able to survive with very little water or food available to them. Some plants found in deserts include cacti and other succulents because they store water inside their bodies for long periods. People living near deserts must take care not to upset the delicate balance between how much water is taken from rivers and groundwater supplies due to irrigation practices such as drilling wells into aquifers (water-containing rock).

What Are Rainforests?

Rainforests are some of the most diverse ecosystems on Earth. Rainforests cover only 6% of the land surface but have over 50%of all known plant and animal species. As a result, rainforests play an important role in maintaining biodiversity. They also help regulate our planet’s climate by storing carbon dioxide through photosynthesis and releasing oxygen back into the atmosphere via respiration. Sadly, due to deforestation, many rainforest environments are disappearing at an alarming rate with one-third having disappeared since 1950

Rainforests are home to people from around the world who depend on these forests for their livelihoods or traditional ways of life. These forests also provide us with food products such as fruits, vegetables, coffee beans, bananas, and palm oil products.

Rainforests are a type of forest that is located in tropical regions that have high amounts of rainfall and humidity throughout the year. There are many types of rainforest including temperate, coniferous/deciduous, mangrove, and cloud forests. These forests can be found all over the world but most notably in Central America, South America, Africa, Asia, and Australia. While there are many types of rainforest around the globe they all share similar characteristics such as height (over 50 feet), large trees (over 20 inches wide), understory plants (ferns), canopy layer (leaves) with insolation provided by sunlight through the leaves during the day time hours. Because these forests experience high levels of precipitation water acts as a limiting factor for these forests which produce a hydro-period of 12 months.

10 Differences Between Deserts And Rainforests

1. Deserts are dry and hot, while rainforests are wet and warm.

2. Rainforests have much more biodiversity than deserts.

3. Most deserts are in the Middle East, whereas most rainforests are in Central or South America. 

4. There is less diversity of species in a desert than there is in a rainforest. 

5. A desert has many different types of plants that can survive without water for long periods, while a rainforest only has one type of plant that survives without water for short periods. 

6. The soil in a desert will be hard because it’s mostly made up of rock particles; the soil in a rainforest will be soft because it’s made up primarily of decaying leaves and other organic material.

7. Deserts have more sand and rocks, while rainforests have a lot of trees.

8. In deserts, there is little to no rainfall for months or years at a time, while in rainforests it rains every day.

9. The temperature in deserts can reach up to 130 degrees Fahrenheit during the day and dip down below freezing at night, while temperatures in rainforests are usually around 75-80 degrees Fahrenheit all year round.

10. Deserts typically get less than 8 inches of annual precipitation; this is because they are located on the leeward side of mountain ranges which block their moisture from coming through. 

Interesting Statistics Or Facts Of Deserts

1. There are about 3,500 deserts in the world.

2. The Sahara Desert is the largest and hottest desert on Earth.

3. The Gobi Desert has an average of less than one inch of rain a year. 

4. Antarctica’s ice sheet covers 98% of its surface and it is the only place with no permanent residents. 

5. In some parts of Australia, there is so much sand that you can’t see your feet when walking. 

6. It takes over 300 years for just 1 inch to form on top of all that sand.

Interesting Statistics Or Facts Of Rainforests

1. The Amazon Rainforest is the world’s largest rainforest.

2. There are more than 1,000 different species of trees in the Amazon Rainforest.

3. It takes approximately 10 years for a tree to grow from seedling to mature size.

4. One hectare (10,000 square meters) can produce up to 180 tons of oxygen per year. 

5. One-tenth of all living plants and animals on Earth live in rainforests. 

6. A typical canopy walkway is 50 feet high and 200 feet long.


In conclusion, deserts and rainforests are both similar in a variety of ways. They each have different types of plant life that are predominant to the biome they reside in as well as animals that live there. The main thing that separates these two biomes from one another is what happens when night falls-deserts do not experience rainfall while rainforests receive precipitation regularly. This means desert plants need more water than those who dwell in tropical climates due to their limited access to it throughout the day which can lead to some disadvantages for them where food sources are concerned because many cannot survive without ample amounts of sunlight or water. On the other hand, rainforest plants can thrive even during droughts thanks to how often it rains there. What’s more, deserts are located in areas where countries have less rainfall than rainforests which makes it easier for people to settle down and grow crops there.


Resource 01: https://rainforests.mongabay.com/
Resource 02: https://www.nationalgeographic.com/environment/article/deserts#:~:text

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