Jungle, also described as a tropical rainforest, manifests as a region of densely forested vegetation with a thick and intricate undergrowth, practically impenetrable without cutting through it.
Jungles are unlike temperate and sub-tropical rainforests in that the underlayer is dense and overgrown. Jungles thrive in low-lying areas, often intersected by numerous streams that give sunlight a selective opportunity to penetrate to the forest floor, while rainforests may be mountainous. Often jungles form on the lowland margins of rainforests.
Among the most remote and inaccessible places on Earth, these regions remain largely untamed and cut off from civilization. They experience no dry season, receiving a consistent monthly rainfall of at least 4 inches throughout the entire year, often much more. The jungle floor is composed of decaying plant and animal matter, teeming with insect life. Many giant insects hunt in jungles.
Vast expanses of these regions are waterlogged lowlands, known as "flooded forests," where the water table hovers just inches below the surface or inundates the land entirely. This includes environments like mangrove swamps, which are commonly found along saltwater coastlines. At higher elevations, "cloud forests" dominate the landscape, featuring persistent, frequent, or seasonal low-cloud cover. These areas exhibit a unique and challenging ecosystem, contributing to their reputation as some of the most obscure places on the planet.
In localized areas, situated near water sources, indigenous communities lead a traditional hunter-gatherer lifestyle. They rely on the rich resources of the jungle to sustain their way of life, trading high-value forest products like hides, feathers, honey and hardwoods. These indigenous groups have honed their knowledge of the jungle's flora and fauna over generations, using sustainable practices to extract valuable materials while preserving the ecosystem.
Jungle regions provide a natural habitat that's able to produce many unusual plant species; in a medieval setting, a small amount of these find their way to temperate markets, but food supply is abundant for locals. Items like yams, coffee, chocolate, bananas, mangoes, papayas and avocados have encouraged many Orientals and Europeans to trade with, or colonise, jungle populations.
Travellers move at a slow pace, feeling their way cautiously through the thick vegetation, often without knowledge of their surroundings. This leads to a sense of disorientation as they navigate the dense vegetation. Jungles are known for their oppressive daytime heat and humidity, creating challenging conditions for explorers. With nightfall, temperatures can drop sharply, producing a wet, penetrating cold. Creating a fire is impossible for those unfamiliar with these places.
There is a propensity for rapid, heavy rainfall. In just five minutes, an inch of rain can pour down, saturating the jungle floor and transforming it into a challenging, muddy terrain. The constant lingering moisture in the air has the effect of dampening sound, creating an environment where even large animals can approach closely without being heard. This is made worse by the constant chatter and noise made by birds and buzzing insects. Newcomers cannot help being restless and unsettled as they acclimate to the unfamiliar and often noisy natural environment.
Maps prove nearly futile, as the relentless jungle swiftly reclaims open spaces, trails and even villages or ruins that have been abandoned. Progressing overland is a slow and arduous endeavor, averaging approximately half a mile per hour under favorable conditions, and a mere half mile per day when conditions become especially challenging. Travelers are vulnerable to a multitude of health hazards. Disease and fungal infections, collectively known as "jungle rot," pose a constant threat. Profuse perspiration in the stifling heat leads to uncomfortable body rashes, while the relentless tropical sun can cause heat exhaustion.
Tropical maladies further compound the risks, including dengue fever, scrub typhus, malaria, typhoid, cholera, hepatitis, diarrhea, dysentery and allergic reactions to insect bites. Blood-sucking leeches are abundantly present, adding to the discomfort and potential health concerns of travelers. Finding a source of clean water in these challenging environments is an elusive and often impossible task.
Below is a list of the most extensive jungles in the world:
- Amazon - enormous jungle covering northern South America
- Central America - from south of the Yucatan to Panama
- Choco-Darien - a moist forest west of the Columbian Andes
- Congolese - a broad belt of forest in Central Africa
- East Indies - peat swamps predominating throughout the archipelago
- Guinean - stretching from the Gold Coast to Senegal
- Indochinese - extensive area surrounding Burma, Siam and southern China
- Pacific Islands - scattered throughout the tropical Pacific
- Tamil - Ceylon and southern India
Jungle is often a featureless expanse, with little change from place to place. However, below is a list of elements and features that occasionally occur in jungle ranges:
The following monsters are common to jungle ranges:
- Asiatic Elephant
- Bat (giant)
- Black Ant (giant)
- Boa Constrictor
- Boar (wild)
- Brobdingnagian Lizard
- Carnivorous Ape
- Dog (wild)
- Dragonis Huakinthos (blue dragon)
- Dragonis Prasinochlorio (green dragon)
- Frog (giant)
- Frog (large)
- Komodo Lizard
See List of Ranges