About Me

My photo
Feel free to drop me a line at laura.nunn@gmail.com

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Can't see the rainforest for the jungle

When I was at primary school we did a project on the jungle.  We learned about sloths and ecosystems and tree canopies.  We studied rainfall, and decked the entire classroom out to look like a jungle, complete with paper-chain creepers and vines.

There was only one thing about the jungle the teacher forgot to tell us.  To this day, I have no idea where on planet earth the jungle is.

And is it the same thing as a rainforest?  Or are rainforest and jungles different?  What's the difference between Epping Forest and a rainforest?  Is either a jungle?

So I asked TheBloke (TM).  He laughed so much at me that he was unable to reply for a full five minutes.  In case anyone like me is confused by the rainforest / jungle terminology and/or location, TheBloke (TM) says:

The jungle and the rainforest are the same thing.  They are mostly found in South America and Africa, but essentially most places along the equator.

This seems to make sense.  Tarzan lived in the jungle and I think he had a pet chimpanzee and they definitely come from Africa.  Or maybe you do get them in South America too.  I don't know.  And "jungle tribes", well the documentaries often show them living in South America.  So that makes sense.

I just have one more question.  When did the rebrand from jungle to rainforest happen?  It must have been some point after 1989 when Mrs Ruddy at Booth Wood Primary School taught us all about the jungle.  But some point before 1993 when McDonalds produced literature saying they weren't chopping down the rainforests.  They never claimed not to chop down the jungles, as far as I'm aware.

So why did they rebrand?  Assuming the two terms are interchangeable, what is inherently better about a rainforest than a jungle?  Living in England, I'm honestly a bit sick of rain, so maybe they did it to put off tourists.  Maybe Um Bongo (the fruit-based, slightly racist drink that claims, "Um Bongo, Um Bongo, they drink it in the jungle") had to rewrite their entire marketing literature, as "Um Bongo, Um Bongo, they drink it in the rainforest" didn't sound quite so snappy.

I shall ponder upon this.  Consider it being pondered.


Erica said...

Probably best not to mention cloudforests to you then...

Sara said...

Sorry I'm commenting on this almost a month late, but I just wanted to say I remember the jungle project, and I was probably confused about the difference for quite some time too! Didn't mention it to my American friend though... they already think my knowledge of the world (as learned in England) is pretty crap!