The tropical rainforest is degrading at a rapid rate. Logging, agriculture, and mining are just a few causes of deforestation. The destruction of the tropical rainforest is a serious problem that affects all of us here on planet Earth. You have probably already heard a lot about the tropical rainforest, but these five facts will help you to understand what is at stake.
1) Historically, tropical rainforests covered 14% of the Earth. Now tropical rainforests cover less than half of that. In 40 years, the tropical rainforest could be completely destroyed if the current rate of degradation continues. Although the tropical rainforest still spans across a large amount of land, we are doing a great job of cutting it down. We are wiping out the tropical rainforest faster than it can regenerate.
2) Deforestation accounts for the loss of 137 plant, animal, and insect species each day. Each species plays an important role in the food chain. When the chain is broken, it results in the overpopulation or underpopulation of other species. The loss of species from the tropical rainforest at this rate is not sustainable.
3) One out of four Western pharmaceuticals is made from ingredients found in the tropical rainforest. Medications used to treat various physical and physiological ailments require the use of plants that are found exclusively in the tropical rainforest.
4) More than 2000 plant species found in the tropical rainforest contain cancer-fighting elements. We have yet to identify all of the medicinal benefits that the plants of the tropical rainforest have to offer. If we lose the rainforest, we eliminate the possibility of discovering new types of cancer treatments.
5) Many of the animals that live in the tropical rainforest are not capable of surviving in a different habitat. The tropical rainforest is home to a rich variety of species that cannot migrate to a new territory. Destroying the tropical rainforest will wipe out all of these creatures, permanently.
Not only is the tropical rainforest a vital part of a healthy global environment, but the rainforest is worth more alive than dead. Economists figure that the monetary value of the medicinal plants, oil producing plants, fruits, and nuts is greater than the profit made from cutting off trees. The continued destruction of the tropical rainforest is truly nonsensical. Check out our recently redesigned site to find out how you can help support the Rainforest Partnership.
Sources and Statistics Cited