Followers of this blog know that I have a passion for rainforest and cloud forests – in fact they were the inspiration for my novel (one reviewer called it the “most detailed and compelling character”). Rainforests are found in the warm tropics where rainfall is high in places like: west Africa (90% loss), Papua New Guinea and Indonesia (both in danger of being logged out). The Amazon is the most famous tropical forest and deforestation is considered a national emergency in Brazil. I saw so much of the gorgeous forests disappear (especially noticeable from the air) after growing up in Costa Rica and returning in the 90’s. Costa Rica has been at the forefront of conservation since then of course.
- More than half of all species in the world are indigenous to the rainforests – not counting those still undiscovered.
- Rainforests are the “lungs of the planet”: processing oxygen through photosynthesis and absorbing carbon dioxide.
- The moisture plants transpire creates clouds and rain, keeping the forests warm and humid i.e. you might say they are self watering.
- New medicines are found from chemicals in exotic plants every year.
- They are the most beautiful wildernesses on our planet !
CAUSES OF DEFORESTATION
- Logging and clearing for agriculture
- Urbanization (notably in Australia)
- Clearing for ranching (demand for beef)
- Demand for biofuels, palm oils and other rainforests products
- Roads, dams and mining together also contribute to loss.
I’ve only skimmed the surface. Can You Add to this short essay on rainforests around the globe? Reply below.
(Ideas: effect on climate, value of, history, indigenous people, politics, ecology, flora and fauna etc.)
If you read A Place in the World (and even if you haven’t) here is a quiz! The Winner with the most correct answers will be posted ~ Oct. 10th.
- What often happens when acres of forests are replaced with a monoculture crop?
- Describe the layers in the rainforests.
- Name at least two types of rainforests.
- Name at least three adaptations plants have made to live in this ecosystem. (Hint think moisture and light).
- List at least 3 common rainforests products.
- http://www.mbgnet.net/sets/rforest/ (good for kids)
- http://www.pbs.org/journeyintoamazonia/index.html (good for kids)
There are many compelling causes to vie for our attention. Once a year I write checks to charitable contributions and Rainforest charities are on the list. I look for ones with good track records especially with regard to how much of my contribution will go to programs versus fund raising and administration. I also want to support those that use good science – facts rather than alarmist theories. There are many rainforests nonprofits out there, but here are a few I have researched and can recommend: Rainforest Alliance (RA); Rainforest Action Network and Rainforest Partnership. Check out which one(s) you might like to support (see links above). All are conservation organizations some promote responsible, sustainable forest management,others work with farmers,indigenous people, tour operators and other groups. RA also certifies companies that work to bring sustainably “green” products to market (Nestlé, Kraft, Lipton and Ikea to name a few).