Rainforests are characterized by tall and very dense forests neighboring the equator and said to be the oldest ecosystem on earth.
Furthermore, rainforest experience maximum amounts of rainfall of about 98 to 177 inches per year, depending on its location. Other than being a water catchment area, the rainforest is home to various wild animals.
The most interesting facts about rainforests are that approximately 40% to 75% of all living organisms originate from the rainforest.
A warm and very wet climate describes rainforest within the tropical areas, and they do not experience any dry seasons. Average temperatures are approximately 18°C or 64.4°F per month throughout the year.
In recent years rainforests have experienced significant destruction due to deforestation.
Various abundant rainforests help in managing carbon footprinting in the atmosphere. Some of these incredible rainforests include;
It is the ‘world’s largest rainforest, and it covers an area of 5,500,000 square kilometers.
The Amazon Rainforest is within South America, and it goes through Brazil, Venezuela, Peru, Colombia, Guyana, French Guiana, Bolivia, Suriname, and Ecuador.
The Amazon Rainforest features one of the most significant rivers on earth, the Amazon River.
It is the second-largest rainforest on earth, and it covers an area of 1,780,000 square kilometers.
Its location is in Central Africa, and it features one of the longest rivers on earth. The Congo Rainforest covers a large area of northern Congo.
The Valdivian temperate rainforest covers an area of 248,100 square kilometers. This rainforest is within South America in Argentina and Chile.
This tropical rainforest covers an area of 2,600 square kilometers, located in Queensland, Australia.
Southeast Asia Rainforest:
The Southeast Asia Rainforest runs through Laos, Cambodia, Malay Peninsula, and Indonesia.
Importance of The Rainforest
Rainforests are essential in the balancing of the ecosystem.
These days, the carbon footprint is increasing in the atmosphere, which raises global temperatures.
By absorbing carbon dioxide through nature and releasing oxygen back into the environment, rainforest help in the cleaning of the atmosphere and reducing our carbon footprint.
Rainforests also help in absorbing up to 25% of the ‘world’s carbon with the Amazon rainforest absorbing around 2.2 billion tons of carbon from the atmosphere.
On another hand, rainforest help in the maintenance of water cycles on earth. The amount of water added to the atmosphere by rainforest is enough in helping in transpiration, which forms the clouds.
One of the most interesting facts about the rainforest is that the moisture generated from it travels across the world.
A study indicates that humidity generated from the rainforest in Africa ends up becoming rain in America. Despite being a water catchment area, some various indigenous animals and plants depend on the rainforest.
There are more than 30 million plants and animal species within a tropical rainforest, amazingly housing half of the ‘world’s wildlife along with two-third of plant species.
Rainforest tribes depend on medicines, shelter, and food within this ecosystem.
Rainforests are said to be as giant sponges when it comes to storing water. The Amazon Rainforest is believed to withhold about half of the ‘world’s rainwater.
From the forest floor, trees absorb water and release it back to the environment hence elevating moisture content.
If it weren’t for the ability of trees continuous recycling of enormous amounts of water, which helps in feeding the lakes, rivers, and irrigation systems, droughts would become regular.
In connection to that, diseases will become prevalent, and extreme famine will be familiar.
Rainforest help in preventing soil erosion and this is due to their roots binding the soil together while trees canopies protect the land from heavy rainfall.
Nutrients stored in trees at the rainforest making the soil deficient in nutrients. Despite the rainforest soil being low on nutrients when trees die, they decay, and the nutrients are recycled back to the ground.
More than 25% of modern medicines come from the rainforest.
There are around 7,000 medicines prescribed by doctors originates, and they from rainforest plants, yet we only understand how to use 1% of these exotic rainforest plants.
Reason for Us to Protect The Rainforest
The rate at which the ‘world’s rainforest is disappearing is alarming.
A study has shown that we are losing the world’s rainforest at a rate of 6000 acres per hour.
As deforestation continues, plants and animals that live in these ancient forests get destroyed while other species become extinct.
As the lumbering continues in the rainforests, the earth’s ecosystems become distorted.
For the human race to survive, we require the rainforest to help in the production of oxygen and an environment that is conducive for us to breathe.
The world's climate and water cycle will be affected due to deforestation.
As we are aware, the rainforest provides us with various medicinal plants that help in curing some of the deadly diseases.
Therefore, as the world community, we need to be watchful not to destroy resources that will be of great benefit to the people in the future.
Apart from various interesting facts about the rainforest that we humans need to protect, some nutritious fruits and food originate from there.
Some of these exotic fruits and foods include cocoa, coconuts, avocado, pineapples, bananas as well as yams. Export markets of tropical fruits earn up to one billion dollars per annum.
Another critical source of revenue from the rainforest includes the macadamia nuts, cashew nuts, and Brazil nuts.
If we keep destroying our rainforest, the economy of the world will be severely affected, and some of these nutritious foods will become expensive to buy or even extinct.
The amount of carbon footprint will increase due to lumbering. Trees are vital when it comes to reducing carbon footprint in the atmosphere, and each time we cut them, then carbon footprint increases.
As a result, the earth’s temperature will increase, resulting in global warming.
Consumption of Paper Per Capita
A vast area of the rainforest is destroyed annually for the production of paper.
From the temperate rainforest of Australia, Chile, and Canada to the tropical rainforest of Africa and Indonesia, lumbering for paper is one of the leading causes of deforestation.
Per capita, the United States is the largest consumer of paper and pulp products on earth. The United States is as well the primary producer of pulp and paper products on earth.
The number of paper consumption in the United States is expected to double very soon.
The United States is trying to protect the rainforest from destruction for the paper by creating paper recycling companies.
Although using paper products is vital, reducing the consumption of paper is of more benefit to the environment.
Furthermore, paper making process releases toxic fumes to the environment, which in the end increases the amount of carbon in the atmosphere.
Reasons for The Increase in Paper Demand
Paper demand has increased recently due to various factors, including the sustainable growth of e-commerce.
Due to the increasing demand for packaging materials by e-commerce companies, the need for paper products has experienced high demand.
The e-commerce companies are expected to be accountable for approximately 10.6% of the entire retail sales in 2019.
Secure and reliable internet services have enhanced the growth of e-commerce sites, which have led to an increase in demand for paper products for packaging and delivery.
The growth of industrial activities is expected to increase the demand for paper packaging products, which are essential in production and distribution procedures.
Moreover, the rise of government spending has as well increased the demand for packaging products due to the increased order for general office supplies such as office papers, binders, and folders.
Various public constructions such as hospitals and schools are government responsibilities, which in time increases demand for paper products.
Rainforests are home to all kind animal species from the loudest to the quietest, most dangerous to the most beautiful, from the largest to the smallest as well as attractive to weirdest.
Probably you have heard about some of these animals like gorillas, parrots, and jaguars.
While there are some rainforest animals, you might have never heard about like the aye-aye and the okapi. The rainforest is habitat to many animals in which some ‘haven’t been named or even identified.
As the oldest ecosystem on earth, the rainforests features devious animals.
Scientists believe that an average of 137 species become extinct daily in the rainforests.
Human activities such as cattle ranching and lumbering are the leading causes of driving these species into extinction.
Unlike the human race, animals lose their habitat when trees are cut down. Often, the rainforest animals are never given the warning to vacate during the lumbering leading to their death.
Some big mammals like the apes and leopards require miles of territory for roaming around, due to lumbering; these mammals struggle to survive in smaller and scrappy habitats.
As these ancient forests are cut down, animals living outside the rainforest suffer as well due to their loss of habitats.
Hummingbirds, warblers, songbirds, and other thousands of the North America birds often spend their time in the rainforest during winter seasons.
They often return to the same point each year, but due to deforestation, fewer birds return each spring as very few of them make it through winter.
Lumbering is not only the main reason for animal extinction but also illegal trading.
Every year monkeys and other primates are being sold in the thousands on the international market. They are being sold for, scientific research, or as pets.
On the other hand, jaguars and jungles are in danger of coming extinct since they are killed for their fur to make expensive shoes and coats.
In the Amazon River, fish are dying due to pollution from mines. Several indigenous people who depend on fish for survival have become sick due to consuming poisoned fish.
At times the extinction process happens naturally. Some species, such as saber-toothed tiger, became extinct from their failure to evolve with the rapidly changing environment.
While other species like the dinosaur became extinct due to a catastrophic event.
Nowadays, human beings are modifying natural habitat for the rainforest animals giving them no time to adapt to the environment.
In this case, various species become extinct within a short period.
Causes of Rainforest Destruction
There are numerous causes of rainforest destruction, and it is we humans are the ones to blame. We try to destroy the ancient forests for our good without figuring out what are consequences.
Commercial logging is one of the leading factors for the decline of the rainforests. Large areas of tropical rainforests are destroyed for commercial purposes.
The use of heavy types of machinery in penetrating the forest leads to extensive destruction.
Agriculture is another leading cause of rainforest destruction. Often the landless follows the road into the forest where lumbering is carried out and start farming.
People who have shifted to tropical rainforest are blamed for 60% of the destruction in ancient forests.
The undisturbed rainforests are frequently cleared to provide space for food crops or grazing cattle.
Rainforest’s soil declines quickly due to its delicate nature and productivity of cash crops and the destructive nature of our agricultural practices.
Using fuelwood as a source of energy is another leading cause of deforestation in the rainforests.
A research carried out by the United Nation’s food and agriculture organization indicates that of 2 billion people worldwide, 1.5 billion rely on wood as a source of fuel for both cooking and heating.
Most of these woods are sourced from the rainforest.
Construction of large dams has led to the destruction of various rainforests across the world. Often these dams are constructed for the production of hydro-electric power due to increased demand for energy.
Dam constructions not only destroy the ancient forest but also it has led to the displacement of people hence destroying their culture and land.
Due to the holding back of nutrient-rich soil, dams have led to the damage of the downstream ecosystem.
Some barriers are known to have caused earthquakes, including a dam in Chile, Greece, and Zimbabwe.
Mining and industries have destroyed rainforests to obtain land for establishing their projects.
These affect indigenous tribes, and at times they get displaced due to the road being constructed via their areas and opening the rainforest.
Severe air, water, and soil pollution will increase due to the presence of mines and industries.
Politicians And The Rainforest
Countries with a significant percentage of tropical rainforests often experience political instability.
Changes are happening in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Brazil, as well as the presidential elections in Indonesia.
These changes have raised concerns about whether politicians are siding with timber, palm oil, agriculture, and mining industries within the countries with the most prominent rainforest coverage on earth.
Brazil’s new president Jair Bolsonaro during his campaign he promised to open up the Amazon rainforest for development.
Whereas the Democratic Republic of Congo new president Felix Tshisekedi is yet to curd with the clearing of the forest and taking down people who are undermining conservation efforts.
The Size of Rainforest Being Cleared Per Year
The rate at which tropical rainforest cleared is shocking. Approximately 130,000 square kilometers of the rainforests are cut down or burnt annually. This size is equivalent to 3 times ‘Denmark’s area.
Cutting down the rainforest is one of the leading causes of global warming.
Around 20% of the greenhouse gas emission on earth comes as a result of clearing the tropical rainforest. The leading cause of losing the tropical rainforest is lumbering and agriculture.
In several countries, clearing rainforests for planting palm oil has become a problem and often used in the production of biofuels and cosmetics.
Despite that, the world is seeking to slow down the rate in which our climate is changing, support billions of people, and preserve mass wildlife destruction of trees continues.
Despite trees holding a significant part in preventing climate change, we continue clearing our rainforests for short term benefits without keeping in mind the long term benefits.
The rainforest covers 30% of the ‘world’s land, but that percentage is decreasing.
According to a statistic carried out by World Bank, between the years 1990 and 2016, the world lost 1.3 million square kilometers of its rainforest.
Since deforestation began, humans have cleared 46% of the ‘world’s rainforest that is according to a research carried out by journal Nature in 2015.
Within 50 years, 17% of the Amazon rainforest has perished, and the loss is still increasing. With this mass destruction of the rainforest, we could be approaching a point of no return.
The destruction of rainforest can worsen hence moving the primeval forest into a brutal circle of enforcing self-destruction.
Ways of Reducing Rainforest Deforestation
It is high time we figure out ways of curbing deforestation in our rainforest.
Rainforests are very vital ecosystems on earth since it home to various insects, animals, and plants. Approximately a third of the ‘world’s population depends on the rainforest directly for their source of revenue.
Rainforests help in regulating the ‘world’s climate as well as it purifies our waters, cleans the air we breathe, and protects the soil from soil erosion.
Deforestation is growing across the globe due to various reasons. A large area of tropical rainforests countries such as Malaysia.
The Democratic Republic of Congo, Indonesia, and Brazil are being cleared to create land for cattle ranching, soy plantation and palm oil.
Increase demand for wood across the planet has threatened many primeval forests for furniture, paper products, or fuel.
Curbing deforestation is the best way of stabilizing our climate, protect our well-being as well as save the wildlife species from extinction.
Protecting the rainforest should be our mutual responsibility regardless of how far you are living from the nearest forest.
Re-afforestation is vital when it comes to conserving our environment — replanting trees will help in balancing the ecosystem of our planet.
Planting of trees where they never existed through afforestation is as well a right way of reducing carbon footprint in our atmosphere.
Reduce the amount of paper you use. By reducing paper consumption, this means that the number of trees required for paper making will reduce.
Reducing paper consumption will help to reduce deforestation.
You can as well use recycled products to curb carbon footprint since using recycled papers will help in lowering timber demand.
In addition to decreasing the demand of cutting more trees, purchasing recycled paper products will help in reducing the amount of waste entering our fields.
One of the most effective methods of curbing deforestation is involving government. The government could help in cracking down on corruption and encouraging the conservation of this ancient forest.
Corruption is the leading cause of illegal logging and poor rainforest management in which it can lead to organized crime as well as armed conflicts.
If a forest is destroyed, the people whose ancestors have lived in and from the forest for thousands of years and have always preserved it will also be displaced.
Today, the survival of the indigenous people is in acute danger.
In addition, millions of farmers are suffering from the destruction of the rainforest because they need intact forests as water reservoirs to compensate for the rainy and dry seasons.
Planet earth is our home. Let’s do a better job of protecting our lively hood.
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Cheers to Healthy Living,
Anh-Tu and Sigmund