Tropical Rainforests are Rapidly Disappearing

Photo+courtesy+of+proftec.com

Photo courtesy of proftec.com

Tropical rainforests are easily one of the most important and productive ecosystems on earth. These fragile areas account for 50 to 70% of the world’s plant and animal species, produce a large amount of the earth’s oxygen, and stabilize the earth’s climate, informed www.rainforestfoundationuk.org.

However, these vast landscapes are rapidly disappearing. Deforestation, which is when large amounts of forests are destroyed for other uses, is one reason to blame for the rainforests’ destruction. Large trees, such as teak and mahogany, are chopped down by timber companies to produce furniture, and smaller trees are used to make charcoal. Roads paved through the forest also cause severe damage to the forests, www.rainforestconcern.com stated.

Cattle ranching also contribute to the deforestation of tropical rainforests. This method of farming, called slash and burn, makes up half of all rainforest deforestation.

At these ranches, cows are properly treated to produce beef that would be exported to different countries. According towww.livinggreenmag.com, 55 square feet of rainforest is lost for every quarter pound of hamburger beef produced. Also, between May of 2000 and August of 2005, an area of Brazilian rainforest the size of Greece has been lost.

When these things occur, the lives of the wildlife living in the forests are in jeopardy. Approximately 30 million plant and animal species reside in the rainforests, but deforestation here may cause up to 50 thousand species to become extinct per year. Chimpanzees, mountain gorillas, hyacinth macaws, jaguars, Phillipine eagles, and bonobos are some of the endangered species in the rainforest, reported www.rainforestfoundationuk.org.

The plant and animals’ lives are not the only ones at risk. Indigenous people have lived in the rainforest for centuries and have discovered a way to sustain a comfortable life there. Due to rainforest destruction, 143 Brazilian cultural groups have become extinct. These people have great knowledge of the surrounding land and produce potentially life saving medicines and drugs for the rest of the world. Without the existence some of these people, more lives may be lost due to incurable sicknesses, www.rainforestfoundationuk.org stated.