The Tropical Rainforests Of The World Essay
, Research Paper
In this term paper, I will explain the great importance of pollution around the world and discuss the effects of the tragedy of destructions and the effect that it is having on the earth. I will
talk about the efforts being made to help curb the rate of rainforest
destruction and the peoples of the rainforest, and I will explore a new topic
in the fight to save the rainforest, habitat fragmentation. Another topic being
discussed is the many different types of rainforest species and their
uniqueness from the rest of the world.
First, I will discuss the many species of rare and exotic animals, Native to
the Rainforest. Tropical Rainforests are home to many of the strangest looking
and most beautiful, largest and smallest, most dangerous and least frightening,
loudest and quietest animals on earth. There are many types of animals that
make their homes in the rainforest some of them include: jaguars, toucans,
parrots, gorillas, and tarantulas. There are so many fascinating animals in
tropical rainforest that millions have not even identified yet. In fact, about
half of the world?s species have not even been identified yet. But sadly, an
average of 35 species of rainforest animals are becoming extinct every day.
So many species of animals live in the rainforest than any other parts of the
world because rainforests are believed to be the oldest ecosystem on earth.
Some forests in southeast Asia have been around for at least 100 million years,
ever since the dinosaurs have roamed the earth. During the ice ages, the last
of which occurred about 10,000 years ago, the frozen areas of the North and
South Poles spread over much of the earth, causing huge numbers of extinctions.
But the giant freeze did not reach many tropical rainforests. Therefore, these
plants and animals could continue to evolve, developing into the most diverse
and complex ecosystems on earth.
The nearly perfect conditions for life also help contribute to the great number
of species. With temperatures constant at about 75-80 degrees Fahrenheit the
whole year, the animals don?t have to worry about freezing during the cold
winters or finding hot shade in the summers. They rarely have to search for
water, as rain falls almost every day in tropical rainforests.
Some rainforest species have populations that number in the millions. Other
species consist of only a few dozen individuals. Living in limited areas, most
of these species are found nowhere else on earth. For example, the maues
marmoset, a species of monkey, wasn?t discovered until recently. It?s entire
tiny population lives within a few square miles in the Amazon rainforest. This
species of monkey is so small that it could fit into a persons hand!
In a rainforest, it is difficult to see many things other than the millions of
insects creeping and crawling around in every layer of the forest. Scientists
estimate that there are more than 50 million different species of invertebrates
living in rainforests. A biologist researching the rainforest found 50
different of ants on a single tree in Peru! A few hours of poking around in a
rainforest would produce several insects unknown to science.
The constant search for food , water, sunlight and space is a 24-hour pushing
and shoving match. With this fierce competition, it is amazing that that so
many species of animals can all live together. But this is actually the cause
of the huge number of the different species.
The main secret lies in the ability of many animals to adapt to eating a
specific plant or animal, which few other species are able to eat. An example
of such adaptations would be the big beaks of the toucans and parrots. Their
beaks give them a great advantage over other birds with smaller beaks. The
fruits and nuts from many trees have evolved with a tough shell to protect them
from predators. In turn toucans and parrots developed large, strong beaks,
which serves as a nutcracker and provides them with many tasty meals.
Many animal species have developed relationships with each other that benefit
both species. Birds and mammal species love to eat the tasty fruits provided
by trees. Even fish living in the Amazon River rely on the fruits dropped from
forest trees. In turn, the fruit trees depend upon these animals to eat their
fruit, which helps them to spread their seeds to far – off parts of the forest.
In some cases both species are so dependent upon each other that if one becomes
extinct, the other will as well. This nearly happened with trees that relied
on the now extinct dodo birds. They once roamed Mauritius, a tropical island
located in the Indian Ocean. They became extinct during the late 19th century
when humans overhunted them. The calvaria tree stopped sprouting seeds soon
after. Scientists finally concluded that, for the seeds of the calvaria tree
to sprout, they needed to be digested by the dodo bird. By force feeding the
seeds to a domestic turkey, who digested the seeds the same way as the dodo
bird, the trees were saved. Unfortunately, humans will not be able to save
each species in this same way.
Each species has evolved with its own set of unique adaptations, ways of
helping them to survive. Every animal has the ability to protect itself from
being someone?s next meal. To prevent the extinction of a species each and
every species must develop a defense tactic. The following are just a few of
Mother Nature?s tricks.
The coloring of some animals acts as protection from their predators. Insects
play some of the best hide-and-go-seek in the forest. The ?walking stick? is
one such insect; it blends in so well with the palm tree it calls its home that
no one would notice unless it?s moved. Some butterflies, when they close their
wings, look exactly like leaves. Camouflage also works in reverse, helping
predators, such as boa constrictors, sneak up on unsuspecting animals and
? SLOW AS A SNAIL
The tree-toed sloth is born with brown fur, but you would never know this by
looking at it. The green algae that makes its home in the sloths fur helps it
to blend in with the tops of the trees, the canopy, where it makes it?s home.
But even green algae isn’t the only thing living in a sloth?s fur; it is
literally ?bugged? with a variety of insects. 978 beetles were once found
living on one sloth.
The sloth has other clever adaptations. Famous for its snail-like pace; it is
one of the slowest moving animals on earth. It is so slow that it often takes
up to a month to digest it?s food. Although its tasty meat would make a good
meal for jaguars and other predators, most do not notice the sloth as it hangs
in the trees, high up in the canopy.
? DEADLY CREATURES
Other animals don?t want to announce their presence to the whole forest. Armed
with dangerous poisons used in life threatening situations, their bright colors
warn predators to stay away. This enables them to survive everyday emergency
The coral snake of the Amazon, with its brilliant red, yellow, and black
coloring, is recognized as one of the most beautiful snakes in the world, but
it is just as deadly as it is beautiful. The coral snake?s deadly poison can
kill in seconds. Other animals know to stay away from it.
The poison arrow frog also stands out with its brightly colored skin. It’s
skin produces some of the strongest natural poison in the world, which
indigenous people often use for hunting purposes. It’s poison is now being
tested for use in modern medicine.
In a single raiforest habitat, several species of squirels can live together
without harming one another. This bewilders many people, Louise Emmons found.
Why can nine species of squirrels live together? Well, in a brief summary each
of the nine species is a different size; three have specialized diets or
habitats, which leaves six species that feed on nuts, fruits and insects, and
so potentially compete for food. A closer look showed that three of the six, a
large, a medium, and a small one live in the forest canopy and never come to
the ground. The largest squirrel feeds mainly on very large, hard nuts, and
the smaller ones eat smaller fruits and nuts. The other three species, again a
large medium and small one live in the ground and eat fruits and nuts of the
same species as their canopy neighbors, but only after they fall to the ground.
Tropical rainforests are bursting with life. Not only do millions of species
of plants and animals live in rainforests, but many people also call the
rainforest their home. In fact, Indigenous, or native, people have lived in
rainforests for thousands of years. In North and South America they were
mistakenly named Indians by Christopher Columbus, who thought that he had
landed in Indonesia, then called the East Indies.
The native people of the rainforest live very different lives than us. In this
section, I will explain how very different our lives differ than from the
indigenous people of the rainforest. Although many indigenous people live very
much like we do, some still live as their ancestors did many years before them.
These groups organize their daily lives differently than our culture.
Everything they need to survive, from food to medicines to clothing, comes from
Besides haunting, gathering wild fruits and nuts and fishing, Indigenous people
also plant small gardens for other sources of food, using a sustainable farming
method called shifting cultivating. First they clear a small area of land and
burn it. Then they plant many types of plants, to be used for food and
medicines. After a few years, the soil has become too poor to allow for more
crops to grow and weeds to start to take over. So they then move to a nearby
uncleared area. This land is traditionally allowed to regrow 10-50 years
before it is farmed again.
Shifting cultivation is still practiced by those tribes who have access to a
large amount of land. However, with the growing number of non-Indigenous
farmers and the shrinking rainforest, other tribes, especially in Indonesia and
Africa, are now forced to remain in one area. The land becomes a wasteland
after a few years of overuse, and cannot be used for future agriculture.
Most tribal children don?t go to schools like ours. Instead, they learn about
the forest around them from their parents and other people in the tribe. They
are taught how to survive in the forest. They learn how to hunt and fish, and
which plants are useful as medicines or food. Some of these children know more
about rainforests than scientists who have studied rainforests for many years.
The group of societies known as Europeans includes such cultures such as
Spanish and German. Similarly, the broad group, Indigenous peoples includes
many distinct culture groups, each with its own traditions. For instance,
plantains (a type of banana) are a major food source for the Yanonami from the
Amazon while the Penan of Borneo, Southeast Asia, depend on the sago palm (a
type of palm tree) for food and other uses.
All Indigenous people share their strong ties to the land. Because the
rainforest is so important for their culture, they want to take care of it.
They want to live what is called a sustainable existence, meaning they use the
land without doing harm to the plants and animals that also call the rainforest
their home. As a wise Indigenous man once said, ?The earth is our historian,
our educator, the provider of food, medicine, clothing and protection. She is
the mother of our races.?(11)
Indigenous peoples have been losing their lives and the land they live on ever
since Europeans began colonizing 500 years ago. Most of them died from common
European diseases which made Indigenous people very sick because they had never
had these diseases before. A disease such as the flu could possibly kill an
indigenous person because he/she has not been exposed to this disease before.
Many Indigenous groups have also been killed by settlers wanting their land, or
put to work as slaves to harvest the resources of the forest. Others were
converts to Christianity by missionaries, who forced them to live like
Europeans and give up their cultural traditions.
Until about forty years ago, the lack of roads prevented most outsiders from
exploiting the rainforest. These roads, constructed for timber and oil
companies, cattle ranchers and miners, have destroyed millions of acres each
All of the practices force Indigenous people off their land. Because they do
not officially own it, governments and other outsiders do not recognize their
rights to the land. They have no other choice but to move to different areas,
sometimes even to the crowded cities. They often live in poverty because they
have no skills useful for a city lifestyle and little knowledge about the
culture. For example, they know more about gathering food from the forest than
buying food from a store. It?s like being forced to move to a different
country, where you knew nothing about the culture or language.
Indigenous groups are beginning to fight for their land, most often through
peaceful demonstrations. Such actions may cause them to be arrested or even to
lose their lives, but they know that if they take no action, their land and
culture could be lost forever. Kaypo Indians, for example, recently spoke to
the United States Congress to protest the building of dams in the Amazon, and
were arrested when they arrived back in Brazil, accused of being traitors to
their own country. In Malaysia, the Penean have arrested for blocking logging
Many people living outside of rainforests went to help protect the Indigenous
people?s culture. They understand that Indigenous people have much to teach us
about rainforests. Since we (the US and other countries) have been working
with the Indigenous People and other rainforest protection agencies, we have
learned many things about the forest, including it?s ecology, medicinal plants,
food and other products. It has also showed us how crucial it is for the
Indigenous people of the rainforest to continue their daily and traditional
activities because of their importance in the cycle if the rainforest. It has
shown us that they have the right to practice their own lifestyle, and live
upon the land where there ancestors have lived before them. (2)
One such example of a invasion of the Ingenious people?s privacy is a new so
called ?emergency? called the Cofan Emergency. This dispute is about an
Indigenous tribe called the Cofan. Historically, the Cofan occupied some half
a million acres of rainforest along the Aguarico River in the Ecuadorian
Amazon. Because their traditional territory has been significantly reduced
through invasions by oil companies such as Texaco, the Cofan now live in five
small, discontinuous communities. However, they still utilize and protect a
region of about 250,000 acres, including two reserves in the Amazon.
In addition to displacing the Cofan and other indigenous groups, oil
development, which began in this region over thirty years ago, has also caused
serious environmental destruction. The deforestation of some two million acres
of rainforest and contamination of the regions waterways has resulted in the
loss of plant and animal diversity, and drastically affected the social and
economic well-being of local Indigenous peoples. This devastation continues.
Last year, ten new concessions were licensed to international oil companies in
the Ecuadorian Amazon, opening an additional five million acres of forest to
oil development. One of these oil blocks, Block 11 awarded to the US-based
Santa Fe Energy, lies within Cofan territory and will directly affect at least
In order to protect the remaining intact rainforest areas of their homeland and
the adjacent ecological reserves, the Cofan are seeking $5,000 to purchase an
outboard motor and a video camera, in order to coordinate between disperse
communities and document the destruction caused by oil development. Cofan
leaders plan to work with their communities and document the destruction caused
by oil development. Also they planned to work with their communities to
organize against further environmental destruction by the oil companies. This
grant will also cover for legal costs to demarcate the Cofan community lands.
In the next section of this term paper, I will be discussing a subject relating
to the rainforest called habitat fragmentation.
Fragmentation of a habitat, by its very nature, reduces the total amount of
area of the original habitat type. Two researchers, Ann Keller and John
Anderson suggest that the absolute habitat loss of pristine habitat and the
reduced density of resources associated with fragmentation potentially impacts
the biota (the plant and animal life of a region) more than any single factor.
Habitat fragmentation affects the flora and fauna (plants and animals) of a
given ecosystem by replacing a naturally occurring ecosystem with a
human-dominated landscape which may be inhospitable to a certain number of the
original species. However, in direct contrast to the ocean as a geographic
barrier, the human landscape matrix is typically accessible to plants and
animals, in that they are able to easily disperse across it, if not reside in
On the other hand, the human landscape may directly contribute to the
extinction of species by slanting the ecosystem balance of species which are
highly adaptable to changing conditions. For example, the increased amount of
human-dominated landscape allows certain species to grow phenomenally, which
can result in harm to species which rely exclusively on very scarce areas . A
commonly referred to example of this is a bird called the brown-headed
cowbird. This bird is best characterized as a ?nest parasite? because it
because it replaces the eggs of another species with eggs of their own ,
allowing the other species to incubate and raise their young. Their increased
numbers have had negative effects on the reproductive successfulness of many
In addition to titling the ecosystem balance in favor of species which are
highly adaptable, the loss of habitat associated with habitat fragmentation may
simply cause the other, less adaptable species rates to decline. A man named
James Saunders documents one remarkable example of how changing large expansive
areas of the birds of the wheatbelt of western Australlia as a result of
fragmentation. He showed that 41% of the birds native to the region have
decreased in range or abundance since the 1900?s and indicated that almost all
of these changes resulted directly from habitat fragmentation and the decline
in abundance of native vegetation. Although some species have increased in
abundance, he noted that many more species have been adversely affected than
Importantly, the species that typically increase in abundance or range when
habit fragmentation occurs are those which are adapted for being adaptable. In
other words, their resource needs can be met by a variety of conditions, and
thus often by human activities by reducing their competition with other
species. Because of this, these species which benefit by human activities are
not the ones we need to manage for and protect. Instead, we need to protect
those species which are adapted solely for survival in the rapidly disappearing
Besides physically changing a part of the original habitat, decreasing the size
of the original habitat can reduce the biological diversity of an area in
several ways. Reducing biodiversity of an area may occur if habitat fragments
are smaller than the home range of the animal with the largest home range that
existed within the intact ecosystem. Many birds have large home ranges because
they require patchily distributed resources. For example, one breeding pair
of ivory billed woodpeckers require five to six square miles of undisturbed
contiguous bottomland forest, and a single European goshawk requires twenty to
forty-five miles for his home range.
If a habitat fragment exists that is smaller than the minimum area required by
a given species, individuals of that species will not likely be found within
that habitat fragment. For example, the Louisiana waterthrush is rarely found
in small woodlots because they require open water within their home range, and
most small woodlots do not have year-round streams or ponds. If a species
requires two or more habitat types, they are often susceptible to local
extinction due to habitat fragmentation, because often they are unable to
freely move between the different habitat types. The blue-grey gnathatcher
moves from decidous woodland to chapparral (a warm area) during the breeding
season, and if one of the two habitat types can not be readily accesed, they
are very susceptable to local extinction.
Loss of any species from a community may have secondary effects that revrberate
throughout the ecosystem. For example, loss of a top predator from an area
because the fragment is too small can cause numbers of small omnivores to
increase, which in turn may cause excessive predation pressureon songbird eggs
and hatchlings, ultimately resulting in reproductive sucess.
Tropical communities are oftem more susceptable to loss of biological diversity
than temperate communuities, because tropical species typically are found in
lower densities, are less widely distributed, and often have weaker dispersal
capabilities. Many tropical species have evolved in that they have changed
their roles that they play in the rainforest. An example of this occurance is
the cassowary, an Austrailan rainforest frugivore, (or an animal that primarily
feeds on fruit) is extremely susceptable to local extinction by habitat
fragmentation because its habitat requirement of large coniguous rainforest
areas is compounded by its unique plant-seed despersal evolvment. This large,
flightless bird wanders nomadically in search of very large seeds, many of
which need to be digested before they will germanate. You?lll rember that
earlier another example of this situation in which the dodo bird became
extinct. The dodo bird digested seeds of the calvaria tree. But when the dodo
bird became extinct due to overhunting by humans, the calvaria tree, which made
the seeds to be digested by the dodo bird to sprout it?s plants started not to
sprout seeds. In the Rainforests, their are many such instances like this.
But unfortunately, many of them go unnoticed and thus, each day many of the
rainforest plants and animals go extinct.
Besides being home to extinction-prone species, tropical communities are prone
to destruction and fragmentation because of their physical location,
overlapping with the geographical birders of the third world nations. In
these nations, citizens often rely on the revenues raised from rainforest
timber or cattle raised on cleared land for survival. This constant pressure
on rainforest communities leads to excessive habitat fragmentation. Small
isolated fragments result, leading to an altered ecosystem balance. On the
tropical island of Java, where almost all of the original habitat remaining
exists in reserves, a group of ecologists have assessed the status of all of
the birds of prey found in the rainforest habitat. Nearly all the raptors were
extremely rare outside the reserves, as expected. They also found that the
larger the reserve was, the denser the birds populations were within the
Interestingly, a scientist named Lovejoy (I couldn?t find his first name) in
1986 found a similar phenomena with Amazonian birds in the Biological Dynamics
of forest project (BDFF) in Brazil. The primary goal of the project is to
discover how rainforest communities respond after an intact ecosystem is split
into different size fragments. They found a crowding effect, in which the
abundance of birds in a forest fragment increased significantly directly after
deforestation of the adjacent area. The increased number of birds was
attributed to the migration of birds from the newly clear-cut area to the
forest fragment. This crowding effect decreased with increasing size of a
Both tropical and temperate communities, however, are prone to the same
problems of inbreeding and loss of genetic variability, which results from
isolating subpopulations of plants and animals from each other due to habitat
fragmentation. If too large a distance exists between two fragments and a
species are unable to disperse across the area in between, the population is
essentially divided. Inbreeding may result if the subpopulation in a given
fragment is small. This has not been directly documented, but it is possible.
Size of a fragment and the amount of edge are inextricably linked. Abrupt
edges often results form fragmenting and ecosystem, in contrast to the more
gradual natural ecotones. Edge positively impacts many species of plants and
animals, but as mentioned previously, the species which benefit typically are
those which do not require human protection and management because they can
easily meet their resource need outside of the intact ecosystem. The
scientists from the BDFF project point out one exception. Tamarins and
marmosets, both species in need of protection , flourish in small tropical
rainforest reserves because of the luxurian growth of early successional plant
species, and the lack of large predators which are unable to exist in the
smaller reserves. Certainly , a system of only small reserves would not
suffice to protect the genetic heritage of biological diversity in the tropical
rainforest, but a heterogeneous mosaic of large and small reserves may provide
the best alternative.
Although edge has typically been associated with an increase in species
richness, researchers are increasingly documenting how edge effects negatively
impact the native plants and animals. The BDFF researchers pointed out that
although the number of species may be higher in edge that the adjacent interior
habitat, species diversity is usually not. Diversity takes into account not
only raw number of species, but the relative abundance of the species present.
Another potentially adverse effect of edge is that it inherently reduces the
size of the habitat interior because of the many physical changes which occur
where and edge is compared to a human dominated area. Most documented cases of
edge effects are from forest edges, so I will focus on them. In addition to
the luxuriant growth of shade-intolerant vegetation at a forest edge in
response to the increase in available light, a ?seed rain? bombards the forest
interior, often from introduced exotics. The increased exposure to wind causes
a higher rate of treefalls and tree mortality, and temperature and humidity are
quite different at the edge than in the forest interior. These physical
changes affect the plants and animals of the habitat. Lovejoy and others, in
the BDFF project in Brazil, found that the understory birds tend to avoid
artificial edges. They found 38% fewer birds 10 meters from clearing than 50
meters into the forest, and 60% fewer birds 10 meters from a clearing than 1 km
into undisturbed forest. An interesting item is that they did not find a lower
abundance of birds around natural edges, such as interior treefall gaps.
Several authors that I have read have suggested that the abundance of birds
decreases near an artificial edge due to decreased Nest success. Nest success
near edge decreased because of the increase in generalist predators and brood
parasites. As mentioned earlier, populations of brown-headed cowbirds, a brood
parasite, have increased tremendously as a direct result of human activity,
these birds have a negative impact on the nesting success of forest songbirds
that nest near the forest edge. Studies show that while vegetational changes
may extend from 300-600 meters into a fragment. This makes sense when one
considers that although generalist predators such as raccoons, cowbirds, and
chipmunks may concentrate their activity near the edge, they certainly also can
frequent the forest interior, often to the damage of those species which rely
exclusively on forest interior.
To reduce how far edge effects penetrate into a natural habitat, a biologist
Bernard Harris, proposed a system of long-rotation islands, in which and
old-growth center is surrounded by various age stands of timber. This system
provides some edge for those species which benefit from it, while minimizing
the amount of edge between the old-growth center stand and the surrounding
Now, to the final section of this term paper, the role that environmentalists
play and some of the reasons that they are trying to save it.
Rainforests cover less that two percent of the Earth?s surface, yet they are
home to some 40 to 50 percent of all life forms on our planet, as many as 30
million species of plants, animals, and insects. The Rainforests are quite
simply, the richest, oldest, most productive, and most complex ecosystems on
Earth. As biologist Norman Meyers notes, ?Rainforests are the finest
celebration of nature as ever known on the planet, and never before has
nature?s greatest orchestration been so threatned.?(4)
His quote is quite true. The following facts listed are direct proof of how
the Tropical Rainforests are being depleted.
Global Rates of Destruction
2.4 acres per second: equivalent to two U.S. football fields
149 acres per minute
214,000 acres per day: an area larger than New York City
78 million acres per year: an area larger than Poland
5.4 million acres per year
6-9 million indigenous people inhabited the Brazilian rainforest in 1500. In
1992, less than 200,000
Distinguished scientists estimate and average of 137 species of life forms are
driven into extinction every day or 50,000 each year.
While you were reading the above statistics, approximately 90 acres of
rainforest were destroyed. Within the next hour approximately six species will
become extinct. While extinction is a natural process, the alarming rate of
extinction today, comparable only to the extinction of the dinosaurs, is
specifically human-induced and unpreceeded. Experts agree that the number one
cause of extinction is habitat destruction. Quite simply, when habitat is
reduced, species disappear. In the Rainforests, logging, cattle ranching,
mining, oil extraction, and hydroelectric dams all contribute to rainforest
destruction and produce many undesired effects in the environment such as
global warming, depletion of the ozone layer, and depletion of the earth?s
But now, there may be some help for the rainforest. Until recently, few
vacationers would even dream of visiting a rainforest. But travelers are now
abandoning the traditional beach vacation to visit remote, unspoiled areas all
over the world. They try to avoid the fast pace and congestion of the
traditional tourist centers, opting instead for more adventure, stimulation and
a desire to learn while on vacation. This growing trend of travel has come to
be known as ecotourism.
Though there are many definitions of ecotourism, the term is most commonly used
to describe any recreation in natural surroundings. The Ecotourism Society
adds social responsibilities to define ecotourism as ?purposeful travel to
natural areas to understand the culture and natural history of the environment,
taking care not to alter the integrity of the ecosystem, while producing
economic opportunities that make the conservation of natural resources
beneficial to local people?(5)
However defined, ecotourism is a force shaping the use of the tropical
Rainforests. This will be even more true in the future due to ecotourism?s
rapid growth. Global tourism is one of the largest industry in the world and
ecotourism is the fastest growing segment of the industry.
Tourism is largely responsible for saving the gorillas of Rwanda from
extinction. The gorilla was threatened by both poachers and local farmer,
whose land clearing practices were destroying the gorillas? natural habitat.
Rwanda?s Parc des Volcans, created by Dian Fossey as a wildlife preserve, has
become an international attraction and the third largest source of foreign
exchange for Rwanda. Revenues from the $170-a-day fee that visitors will pay
to enter the park have allowed the government to create anti-poaching patrols
and employ local farmers as park guides and guards. Even this success is
danger from the civil war that is encroaching and endangering both the forest
and tourist industry.
If ecotourism is going to be influential in saving Rainforests, income from
tourism must reach the people who will ultimately decide the forest?s future.
Unfortunately, too often the money generated does not benefit these people.
Instead, it goes to developed countries, where the tourists originated, giving
little economic protection to the forests. Profits leak back to the developed
nations through tour operators, plane tickets, foreign owned accommodations and
use of non-local supplies. The World Bank estimates that worldwide only 45
percent of tourism?s revenue reaches the host country.
In less developed areas, the percentage is often lower. One study of the
popular ecotourism destination of the Annapurna region of Nepal found that only
10 cents of every dollar spent stayed on the local economy. Within the
country, the money may end up in the large cities of in the hands of the
Tourist dollars should help to acquire and improve management of conservation
areas on which the tourism is based, but money from tourism does not often end
up with the agencies that manage these areas. In Costa Rica, the park service
does not earn enough money from its entrance fees to manage and protect its
numerous parks. Only 25% of it?s budget comes from fees; the other three
quarters must come from donations. Tourists often resent paying large sums of
money on entrance fees. Although these fees are only a small portion of the
money spent on a trip they can be the most important dollars spent in
protecting the resource because they go directly toward protecting the site.
The environmentalists and government officials play a vital part in the
protection of the Rainforests. Without them, all of the Rainforests would
probably be gone. (4)
In conclusion, the Rainforests, the lungs of the earth will be gone in just a
few years if the current rates of destruction continue. But luckily, there are
environmentalists there to protect the rainforest and potentially protecting
our lives. I say protecting our lives because in the past 100 years the earth?s
temperature has risen one degree Fahrenheit. This may sound small and
insignificant but it is very serious. Combined with global pollution from
cars, factories, etc. the depletion of the Rainforest has caused the level of
the earth?s air quality to lower, more arctic icebergs to melt causing water
levels to rise around the world causing more erosion and nameless other
If within 20 years, more is not being done estimates the rainforest action
network, our earth will begin to change into a hot planet, flaming with CO2,
with clouds made up of sulfuric acid, much like the planet Venus. (11) These
factors, in the advanced stage of Global Warming are what the earth is coming
to if something is not being done soon about the destruction of the tropical
Rainforests and various other types of pollution. The earth will become a
death trap for the human race unless we act now!