A jungle is a tropical forest with luxuriant, tangled, impenetrable vegetation, generally teeming with wildlife.
It is popularly associated with the tropics.
Before the 1970s, tropical rainforests were generally referred to as jungles, but this terminology has fallen out of usage.
A jungle is a descriptive term, not a scientific one. It is generally used to refer to land overgrown with dense, tangled vegetation.
A “jungle” is actually not an ecosystem, which means a community of organisms in a given area, including flora and fauna, and the physical environment where they interact.
On the other hand, a tropical rainforest is the type of ecosystem in which jungles are often found.
Rainforests are forests characterized by high and continuous rainfall. They cover about 6% of Earth’s surface. They are Earth’s oldest living ecosystems, with some surviving in their present form for at least 70 million years.
The Amazon Rainforest is probably one of the world’s most well known jungles. Home to over 10,000 species, with more being discovered every day, it’s a hotbed of incredible biodiversity.
India’s jungles inspired turn of the century explorer and author Rudyard Kipling who wrote the popular fable “The Jungle Book”.
The coastal jungles of West Africa likely inspired Edgar Rice Burroughs in the early 1900’s as he set down his now famous first edition of the Tarzan story.
The word “jungle” originates from the Sanskrit word Jangla, meaning dry, dry ground, desert. Although the Sanskrit word refers to dry land, it has been suggested that an Anglo-Indian interpretation led to its connotation as a dense “tangled thicket” while others have argued that a cognate word in Urdu did refer to forests.
The term “jungle” carries connotations of untamed and uncontrollable nature and isolation from civilisation, along with the emotions that evokes: threat, confusion, powerlessness, disorientation and immobilisation.
As a metaphor, “jungle” often refers to situations that are unruly or lawless, or where the only law is perceived to be “survival of the fittest”.
Upton Sinclair gave the title The Jungle (1906) to his famous book about the life of workers at the Chicago Stockyards, portraying the workers as being mercilessly exploited with no legal or other lawful recourse.
“The law of the jungle” is an expression that means “every man for himself”, “anything goes”, “survival of the strongest”, “survival of the fittest”, “kill or be killed”, “dog eat dog” or “eat or be eaten”. The Oxford English Dictionary defines the Law of the Jungle as “the code of survival in jungle life, now usually with reference to the superiority of brute force or self-interest in the struggle for survival.”
The Jungle Book (1894) is a collection of stories by the English author Rudyard Kipling. Most of the characters are animals such as Shere Khan the tiger and Baloo the bear, though a principal character is the boy or “man-cub” Mowgli, who is raised in the jungle by wolves.