About Rainforests

about rainforests
  • We are wasting Earth's supreme biological riches just as we are starting to realise their genuine importance. Rainforests concealed 14% of the earth's land surface one time; now they only conceal 6% and specialists predict that the existing rainforests might be destroyed in less than 40 years.
  • Masses (one and one half) of rainforest vanish each second with terrible outcomes for both developing and industrial countries.
  • Rainforests are abolished because their usefulness is recognised as just the cost of its timber by thoughtless governments, multi-national logging companies, and land owners.
  • Almost fifty percent of the world's species of plants, animals and microorganisms will be demolished or under extreme risk throughout the next quartile period because of rainforest deforestation.
  • Experts predict that we are losing 137 plants, animal and insect species each day because of rainforest deforestation. That equals 50,000 species each year. As the rainforest species vanish, so do countless probable cures for deadly diseases. 121 prescription drugs sold all over the world come from plant-derived sources. While 25% of Western pharmaceuticals are derived from rainforest ingredients, less that 1% of these tropical trees and plants have been tested by scientists.
  • The majority of rainforests are emptied by chainsaws, bulldozers and fires for its timber price and then are pursued by farming and ranching operations, also by world geniuses such as Mitsubishi Corporation, Georgia Pacific, Texaco and Unocal.
  • There were an estimated ten million Indians living in the Amazonian Rainforest five centuries ago. Today there are less than 200,000.
  • Just in Brazil, European colonists have demolished over 90 native tribes since the 1900's. With them have gone centuries of accumulated knowledge of the medicinal value of rainforest species. As their homelands continue to be destroyed by deforestation, rainforest peoples are also disappearing.
  • Most medicine men and shamans remaining in the Rainforests today are 70 years old or more. Each time a rainforest medicine man dies, it is as if a library has burned down.
  • When a medicine man dies without passing his arts on to the next generation, the tribe and the world loses thousands of years of knowledge about medicinal plants that cannot be replaced.

The Richness of the Rainforests

amazon
  • The Amazon Rainforest covers over a billion acres, surrounds areas in Brazil, Venezuela, Colombia and the Eastern Andean region of Ecuador and Peru. If Amazonia were a country, it would be the ninth largest in the world.
  • The Amazon Rainforest has been defined as the "Lungs of our Planet" because it provides the necessary environmental world service of constantly recycling carbon dioxide into oxygen. Over 20 percent of the world oxygen is generated in the Amazon Rainforest.
  • Over fifty percent of the world's predicted 10 million species of plants, animals and insects live in the tropical rainforests. One-fifth of the world's fresh water is in the Amazon Basin.
  • One hectare (2.47 acres) may contain over 750 types of trees and 1500 species of higher plants.
  • Approximately 80% of the developed world's diet began in the tropical rainforest. Its generous presents to the world include fruits like avocados, coconuts, figs, oranges, lemons, grapefruit, bananas, guavas, pineapples, mangos and tomatoes; vegetables including corn, potatoes, rice, winter squash and yams; spices like black pepper, cayenne, chocolate, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, sugar cane, turmeric, coffee and vanilla and nuts including Brazil nuts and cashews.
  • Approximately 3000 fruits are located in the rainforests; just 200 of these are currently in use in the Western World. The Indians of the rainforest use over 2,000.
  • Rainforest plants are rich in secondary metabolites, especially alkaloids. Biochemists think alkaloids defend plants from disease and insect attacks. Plenty of alkaloids from advanced plants have verified to be of medical worth and advantage.
  • At present, 121 prescription drugs sold all over the world come from plant-originated resources. Whilst 25% of Western pharmaceuticals originate from rainforest ingredients, less than 1% of these tropical trees and plants have been tested by scientists.
  • The U.S. National Cancer Institute has recognised 3000 plants that are active against cancer cells. 70% of these plants are located in the rainforest. Twenty-five percent of the active ingredients in today's cancer-fighting drugs come from organisms located just in the rainforest.
  • Vincristine, extracted from the rainforest plant, periwinkle, is one of the world's most powerful anticancer drugs. It has drastically improved the survival rate for acute childhood leukaemia since it was discovered.
  • In 1983, no U.S. pharmaceutical companies took part in research programs to find fresh drugs or cures from plants. Nowadays, more than 100 pharmaceutical companies and various branches of the US government, including giants like Merck and The National Cancer Institute, are engaged in plant research projects for possible drugs and cures for viruses, infections, cancer, and even AIDS.

Rainforest Action

  • Professionals are in agreement that by leaving the rainforests in one piece and collecting its many nuts, fruits, oil-producing plants, and medicinal plants, the rainforest has more financial worth than if they were cut down to make grazing land for cattle or for timber.
  • Up-to-date figures reveal that rainforest land switched to cattle operations harvests the land owner $60 per acre and if timber is harvested, the land is worth $400 per acre. Nevertheless, if these renewable and sustainable resources are harvested, the land will yield the land owner $2,400 per acre.
  • If supervised correctly, the rainforest can make available the world's need for these organic reserves eternally.

An adequate need for environmental and organically harvested rainforest commodities is required for conservation attempts to prosper. Buying sustainable rainforest products can result in constructive alterations by generating a market for these commodities whilst assisting the local people's economy and offers the financial explanation and substitute to cutting the forest merely for the price of its timber.

THE IMPORTANCE OF THE RAINFOREST

The attractiveness, magnificence, and agelessness of a principal rainforest are beyond description. It is not possible to catch on film, to express in words, or to illustrate to those who have never had the overwhelming encounter of staying in the soul of a top rainforest.

Rainforests have advanced over millions of years and turned into the extremely complicated surroundings they are these days. Rainforests exemplify a supply of living and breathing renewable organic resources that have added a richness of reserves for the existence and happiness of humanity. These reserves have included basic food supplies, clothing, shelter, fuel, spices, industrial raw materials, and medicine for all those who have resided in the splendour of the forest. Nevertheless, the internal subtleties of a tropical rainforest are a complex and delicate system. Everything is so co-dependent that disturbing one part can cause mysterious injury or even devastation of the complete. Unfortunately, it has just taken a century of human interference to abolish what nature intended to remain forevermore.

The extent of human burdens on ecosystems all over has intensified in the last few decades. The international economy has tripled in size and the world population has increased by 30 percent since 1980. Consumption of everything on the planet has increased- at a price to our environment. In 2001, The World Resources Institute projected that the need for rice, wheat, and corn is anticipated to grow by 40% by 2020, growing irrigation water demands by 50% or more. In addition, they stated that the need for wood could double by the year 2050. Sadly, it is only the tropical forests of the world that distribute the majority of the world's demand for wood.

In 1950, approximately 15 percent of the Earth's land surface was protected by rainforest. Nowadays, over fifty percent has gone up in flames by now. In less than fifty years, more than fifty percent of the world's tropical rainforests have fallen victim to fire and the chain saw, and the rate of destruction is still speeding up. Astonishingly, more than 200,000 acres of rainforest are burned every day. That is over 150 acres lost each minute of every day, and 78 million acres lost every year! More than 20 percent of the Amazon rainforest is already gone, and much more is extremely threatened as the devastation carries on. It is projected that the Amazon alone is disappearing at a rate of 20,000 square miles a year. If nothing is done to control this trend, the entire Amazon could well be gone within fifty years.

amazon deforestation

Enormous deforestation brings with it many unattractive outcomes-air and water pollution, soil erosion, malaria epidemics, the release of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, the removal and devastation of local Indian tribes, and the loss of biodiversity through extinction of plants and animals. Less rainforests mean less rain, less oxygen for us to breathe, and a risk of global warming.

So who is really to blame? Think about what industrialized Americans have done to our own motherland. 90 percent of North America's virgin forests were transformed into firewood, shingles, furniture, railroad ties, and paper. Other industrialized countries have done not done any better. Malaysia, Indonesia, Brazil, and other tropical countries with rainforests are often labelled as "environmental villains" of the world, primarily because of their reported levels of devastation of their rainforests. Even so, the levels of deforestation, up to 60 percent of their territory are still covered by natural tropical forests. Actually, nowadays, most of the burdens on their existing rainforests come from servicing the needs and markets for wood products in industrialized countries, which have exhausted their own organic resources by now. Industrial countries would not be able to purchase rainforest hardwoods and timber if Americans had not cut down their own trees a long time ago, neither would poachers in the Amazon jungle be killing jaguar, ocelot, caiman, and otter if they did not offer profitable markets for their skins in Berlin, Paris, and Tokyo.

THE BIODIVERSITY OF THE RAINFORESTS

Why should we worry about the loss of tropical forests bearing in mind our own bad management of natural resources? The loss of tropical rainforests has a great and destructive effect on the world because rainforests are so biologically different, more than other ecosystems on Earth - for example, temperate forests.

Consider these facts:

  • One pond in Brazil can maintain a bigger variety of fish than is located in all of Europe's rivers.
  • A 25-acre plot of rainforest in Borneo might hold over 700 species of trees - a number equal to the total tree diversity of North America.
  • A single rainforest reserve in Peru is home to more species of birds than are found in the entire United States.
  • One single tree in Peru was located to harbour forty-three diverse species of ants - a total that estimates the whole number of ant species in the British Isles.
  • The number of species of fish in the Amazon outdoes the number found in the entire Atlantic Ocean.

The biodiversity of the tropical rainforest is so vast that less than 1 percent of its millions of species have been researched by scientists for their dynamic components and their probable uses. After an acre of tropical rainforest disappears, the effect on the number of plant and animal species lost and their possible uses is astounding. Scientists project that we are losing more than 137 species of plants and animals each single day because of rainforest deforestation.

Unexpectedly, scientists have greater knowledge of how many stars there are in the galaxy than they have of how many species there are on Earth. Evaluation range from 2 million to 100 million species, with a best estimate of approximately 10 million; only 1.4 million of these species have really been named. Nowadays, rainforests inhabit just 2 percent of the whole Earth's surface and 6 percent of the world's land surface, however, these existing luxurious rainforests help over fifty percent of our planet's wild plants and trees and one-half of the world's wildlife. Hundreds and thousands of these rainforest species are being destroyed prior to being recognised, much less categorised and analysed. The scale of this loss to the world was emotionally explained by Harvard's Pulitzer Prize-winning biologist Edward O. Wilson over a decade ago:

"The worst thing that can happen during the 1980s is not energy depletion, economic collapses, limited nuclear war, or conquest by a totalitarian government. As terrible as these catastrophes would be for us, they can be repaired within a few generations. The one process ongoing in the 1980s that will take millions of years to correct is the loss of genetic and species diversity by the destruction of natural habitats. This is the folly that our descendants are least likely to forgive us for."

Even so, the damage carries on. If deforestation continues at the existing pace, scientists project 80 to 90 percent of tropical rainforest ecosystems will be demolished by 2020. This devastation is the key influence forcing an unrivalled species death rate in 65 million years.