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Rainforests Essay Research Paper The rainforests are

Rainforests Essay, Research Paper The rainforests are very important to the world for many reasons, most of them being very simple. One major reason is that the plants in the forest turn carbon dioxide into clean air, which helps us

Rainforests Essay, Research Paper

The rainforests are very important to the world for many reasons, most of them being very simple.

One major reason is that the plants in the forest turn carbon dioxide into clean air, which helps us

fight pollution. Also, by absorbing carbon dioxide, the rainforests help deter the greenhouse effect.

The trees of the rainforest store carbon dioxide in their roots, stems, branches, and leaves.

The plants and animals of the rainforest also provide us with food, fuel wood, shelter, jobs, and

medicines. “Image losing the potential cure for cancer or AIDS that might have been found in an

undiscovered plant from the rainforest.” (Tropical Rainforest Coalition, 1996)

“The vine Aucistrocladus koropensis may be effective in treating AIDS; we can only guess what

other beneficial plants may be destroyed before we find them.” (Allo, 1996) It is repeated often

that the rainforest contains important plants that will cure the worst diseases of today. Although

there is scientific proof of its value, the rainforest continues to disappear.

“In ever sense, a standing rainforest supplies more economic wealth then if it were cleared? ?yet

deforestation continues at an alarming rate.” (Tropical Rainforest Coalition, 1996)

According to the National Forest Association of Forest Industries (1996), “there are about 4

billion hectares of forest in the world, of which about 25 percent is tropical rainforest.”

The rainforest is full of diversity when it comes to the plants and animals that inhabit it? many of

them are found no where else on Earth. These species have extremely valuable medical

properties? the only known cure for certain diseases come from species of the rainforest.

As an example of the rainforest?s diversity, “a single hectare in Kenya?s Kakamega Forest may

host between 100 and 150 different tree species, compared to only about 10 different species in a

hectare of the forest of North America.” (Allo, 1996)

The diversity of rainforest species applies to much more than just trees. “Although insects represent

only 62 percent of the 1.4 million named organisms on the planet, scientists estimate that the total

number of arthropods to number between 8 million and 80 million.” (Allo, 1996)

Only 20 percent of the nutrients of the rainforest are in the soil; 80 percent of the nutrients remain in

the trees and plants. The rainwater of the forest is recycled by evaporation. Clouds above the

forest?s canopy help reflect sunlight which keeps temperatures within the forest to remain more

stable.

Although rainforests take vast amounts of time to regenerate, young forests are more effective at

removing carbon from the air than older forests. Older forests absorb carbon less efficiently, but

have more total carbon stored within them.

The soil of the rainforests is only suitable for being rainforest soil, crops do not grow well in it.

When forests are cut down, the soil erodes quickly and soon only a dry desert remains.

Humans also inhabit the rainforests. Most of these people are indigenous, or Indian. It is estimated

that there are over 1,000 or more indigenous groups around the world, but they are also becoming

extinct. “In 1900, Brazil had one million Indians. Today, there are fewer than 200,000 in the

Amazon.” (Stevenson Press, 1996)

There are two types of rainforests: tropical and temperate.

Tropical rainforests are found in 85 countries around the world. “Ninety percent of these forests

are concentrated into fifteen countries, each country containing over 10 million hectares each.”

(Malaysian Timber Council, 1995) Tropical rainforests are located near the equator, where

temperatures stay above 80 degrees Fahrenheit year round. These dense, damp forests occur in

Latin and South America, Africa, and in Southeast Asia. “Although they [tropical rainforests] cover

just seven percent of the Earth?s surface, they can provide habitat for between 50 and 90 percent

of its plant and animal species. In 1990, tropical rainforests totaled some 1.7 billion hectares.”

(Forest Alliance of British Columbia, 1996) Half of the world?s rainforests lie within the borders of

Brazil, Indonesia, and Zaire.

A tropical rainforest has three layers: the forest floor, the understory, and the canopy. The forest

floor has poor soil. Mainly insects live on this layer, although large mammals like gorillas and

jaguars are also found there. Many smaller animals, including anteaters, lemurs, and tree kangaroos

live in the understory. This is also where many small trees and shrubs are found. The canopy, or

top layer, is made up of the tops of trees which can grow to be over 200 feet high. Many tropical

birds, monkeys, apes, snakes, and other animals live in the canopy.

Temperate rainforests are much younger than their tropical relatives. Most temperate rainforests

are less than 10,000 years old, compared to the tropical rainforests? millions of years. The soil in

temperate forests are full of much more nutrients than that of the tropics.

Temperate rainforests are located along the Pacific coast of Canada and the United States, and are

also found in New Zealand, Tasmania, Chile, Ireland, as well as Scotland and Norway. Temperate

rainforests are much more scarce than tropical rainforests.

Some countries have both types, for example: “Australia has both tropical and temperate

rainforests. Although Australia is mostly desert with little forest, it is recognized as a leader of the

scientific understand of rainforests.” (National Association of Forest Industries, 1996)

The cause of the destruction of the rainforest was put very simply by the Forest Alliance of British

Columbia (1996): “The global population has more than tripled this century, and will continue to

grow for the next 50 years, particularly in developing countries. World population is expected to

reach ten billion by 2050.” Because the number of people living on the planet increases every year,

the number of forest products needed also increases, forcing temperate and tropical rainforests to

be cut down.

Almost half of all tropical deforestation has occurred in South America.

“The rainforests of the world are disappearing at a rate of 80 acres per minute, day and night?

?major climatic and other environmental changes will occur if this continues.” (Costa Rica

Rainforests Outward Bound School, 1996) The destruction of the rainforests cause carbon dioxide

to be released, which in turn allows the greenhouse effect to occur. The greenhouse effect raises

the temperatures all around the world, and can cause ice caps to melt. When ice caps melt, the sea

level rises, causing major flooding around the world.

Traditionally there were three major causes of destruction to the rainforest: farming, ranching, and

logging.

Farmers in rainforest countries are often poor and can?t afford to buy land. Instead, these farmers

clear rainforest land to grow their crops. Because tropical rainforest soil is so poor in nutrients,

farmers cannot reuse the same land year after year. In following years, farmers just clear more

land, destroying the forest piece by piece.

Ranching also causes destruction of the rainforests. Ranchers clear large areas of rainforest to

become pastures for their cattle. This land does not cost them very much, so they can sell cattle at

low prices. Because it is very profitable, ranchers continue to clear rainforest land so they can raise

and sell more cattle. “During the 1980s, about 16.9 million hectares of tropical rainforest was cut

down and replaced with farms and grazing land for cattle.” (Forest Alliance of British Columbia,

1996)

The third major traditional reason for destruction of the rainforests is logging. Trees from the

rainforest are used for building houses, making furniture, and providing pulp for paper products,

such as newspapers and magazines. Rainforest that was chopped down can grow back over time,

but they will never have the same variety of plants and animals they once did.

The Amazon rainforest still remains as it was years ago, with less destruction occurring than in

many other forests, because it is very large and remote. But the Amazon may not remain so

peaceful for long. Transnational corporations are now targeting the Amazon and the other

rainforests because of the latest problem of in rainforest destruction: Greed.

Corporations have convinced many rainforest countries that it would improve their economies by

allowing the companies to use the land, and now these countries economies have become

dependent on it.

Oil companies often attempt to trick and bribe the Indians into signing over to them the rights of the

land. But the people have begun to fight back, for example: “Occidental Petroleum?s use of

coercion to get the native communities to sign away land rights violates Ecuadorian and

international law protecting indigenous people, and runs counter to company policies that state

Occidental will “protect the environment, health and safety? of the communities in which we

operate.”" (Wright, 1996)

Although Occidental is attempting to fight local governments, the oil produced if Occidental were

to win the land would only satisfy the petroleum needs of the U.S. for thirteen days.

The rainforests are disappearing rapidly, and mainly for correctable problems? that should have

been corrected years ago.

“Tropical rainforests once covered more than 14 percent of the Earth?s land area? they now

amount to less than 6 percent.” (Tropical Rainforest Coalition, 1996)

The cause of the destruction of the rainforest was put very simply by the Forest Alliance of British

Columbia (1996): “The global population has more than tripled this century, and will continue to

grow for the next 50 years, particularly in developing countries. World population is expected to

reach ten billion by 2050.” Because the number of people living on the planet increases every year,

the number of forest products needed also increases, forcing temperate and tropical rainforests to

be cut down.

Almost half of all tropical deforestation has occurred in South America.

“The rainforests of the world are disappearing at a rate of 80 acres per minute, day and night?

?major climatic and other environmental changes will occur if this continues.” (Costa Rica

Rainforests Outward Bound School, 1996) The destruction of the rainforests cause carbon dioxide

to be released, which in turn allows the greenhouse effect to occur. The greenhouse effect raises

the temperatures all around the world, and can cause ice caps to melt. When ice caps melt, the sea

level rises, causing major flooding around the world.

Traditionally there were three major causes of destruction to the rainforest: farming, ranching, and

logging.

Farmers in rainforest countries are often poor and can?t afford to buy land. Instead, these farmers

clear rainforest land to grow their crops. Because tropical rainforest soil is so poor in nutrients,

farmers cannot reuse the same land year after year. In following years, farmers just clear more

land, destroying the forest piece by piece.

Ranching also causes destruction of the rainforests. Ranchers clear large areas of rainforest to

become pastures for their cattle. This land does not cost them very much, so they can sell cattle at

low prices. Because it is very profitable, ranchers continue to clear rainforest land so they can raise

and sell more cattle. “During the 1980s, about 16.9 million hectares of tropical rainforest was cut

down and replaced with farms and grazing land for cattle.” (Forest Alliance of British Columbia,

1996)

The third major traditional reason for destruction of the rainforests is logging. Trees from the

rainforest are used for building houses, making furniture, and providing pulp for paper products,

such as newspapers and magazines. Rainforest that was chopped down can grow back over time,

but they will never have the same variety of plants and animals they once did.

The Amazon rainforest still remains as it was years ago, with less destruction occurring than in

many other forests, because it is very large and remote. But the Amazon may not remain so

peaceful for long. Transnational corporations are now targeting the Amazon and the other

rainforests because of the latest problem of in rainforest destruction: Greed.

Corporations have convinced many rainforest countries that it would improve their economies by

allowing the companies to use the land, and now these countries economies have become

dependent on it.

Oil companies often attempt to trick and bribe the Indians into signing over to them the rights of the

land. But the people have begun to fight back, for example: “Occidental Petroleum?s use of

coercion to get the native communities to sign away land rights violates Ecuadorian and

international law protecting indigenous people, and runs counter to company policies that state

Occidental will “protect the environment, health and safety? of the communities in which we

operate.”" (Wright, 1996)

Although Occidental is attempting to fight local governments, the oil produced if Occidental were

to win the land would only satisfy the petroleum needs of the U.S. for thirteen days.

The rainforests are disappearing rapidly, and mainly for correctable problems? that should have

been corrected years ago.

“Tropical rainforests once covered more than 14 percent of the Earth?s land area? they now

amount to less than 6 percent.” (Tropical Rainforest Coalition, 1996)

Worldwide boycotts are the most effective ways of stopping rainforest destruction. Boycotting fast

food restaurants that serve hamburgers that came from cattle raised on rainforest land could help

prevent matters from getting worse. News such as “more than 25% of the forests in Central

America have been cleaned for pasture land [and] most cattle produced in Costa Rica is exported

to developed countries for use in fast food hamburgers” (Costa Rica Rainforest Outward Bound

School, 1996) could have easily been prevented by boycotting the hamburgers.

It is believed by many ecologists that some tropical rainforests can be harvested without causing

damage to the great variety of plants and animals that live there. “The key is careful planning,

sensitive harvesting, and appropriate silvicultural regimes to ensure healthy new forests are

regenerated.” (Forest Alliance of British Columbia, 1996)

One could help prevent destruction by not buying furniture products made from rosewood,

mahogany, ebony, and teakwood, because they most likely came from the rainforests.

If one wishes to become more involved with protection of the rainforests, it is possible to adopt

acres of rainforest land. “For only $45, you can “adopt” one acre of rainforest. Your contribution

funds land acquisition, legal fees, and security costs to ensure that acre will be protected as part of

a designated land preserve.” (Tropical Rainforest Coalition, 1996) (See Appendix)

Ecotourism programs are available for those who adopt so that they may see their land and

experience the true beauty of the forests.

Tourism itself aids in protecting the rainforest, for example: “According to Guatemala?s Minister of

Culture, ecotourist traffic has kept away poachers, illegal wood harvesters and burners, and

drug-runners with secret air strips in the north jungle. (Rembert, 1996)

As mentioned earlier, boycotts can really help to protect the forest. Companies such as Mitsubishi,

who are helping to fund oil pipeline projects that build pipelines directly through rainforest land,

may consider stopping their actions if their customers show concern.

Although it appears as though everyone can help protect the forests, in order for their long-term

existence, the local people who are used to burning and cultivating, logging, and hunting must learn

the alternatives to the traditional, destructive occupations.

“Ecology is not about saving a tree here and a river there; rather, it is about the complex system

that governs how things work together.” (Hayes, 1996) “Both temperate and tropical rainforests

are important, if we want to protect them, we must learn to use them with care. We must

understand how forest ecosystems work, and how our everyday decisions effect their well-being.”

(Forest Alliance of British Columbia, 1996)

The purpose of this paper is introduce the reader to the truths about the rainforests and its

destruction. The rainforests are disappearing acres per minute, a number that grows so quickly it

would be impossible to cite here because it would grow outdated within a week. The rainforests

are home to over half of the entire species of the world, which are being destroyed with the

rainforests.

Unlike the rainforest itself which may appear to grow back, it will never be the rainforest it once

was, and all of those species that were killed will never return again. Many of those species that

have not yet been discovered may very likely cure cancer, AIDS, and many of the other diseases

and viruses of today. If the rainforests disappear, so will most of the population of the world. This

report will help the reader to learn more about the causes of the horrifying destruction, and ways

that the reader can help stop it!

This report is about many aspects of the rainforest: what rainforests are, a brief summary of the

importances of the rainforests, a description of the destruction of the rainforest, and an informative

section about how an average person can help to save the rainforest.

In this report the reader will learn many things, from the great diversity of the rainforest, to why

simply not buying fast food hamburgers can help to save it. Also, the reader will hopefully have a

better understanding of how more slowly developing countries? economies work and how laws

really do help to protect the environment to a certain extent. Acres of rainforest are destroyed

every minute, this paper will explain to the reader why this is happening, and why this needs to be

stopped.

Dear Citizen of Earth November 1, 1999

The most important piece of Rainforests Destruction information to understand is this:

If no action is taken, between 2012 and 2016 the land area of virgin Rainforests will go below the critical built-in natural safeguard threshold providence of 10% virgin Rainforests area with its 50% species remaining.

This issue of Rainforests destruction and mass species extinctions is the # 1 issue facing humanity. We may have as little as 5 years to create the awareness to completely stop Rainforests destruction before this momentum brings us through our Omega Point.

LOVEARTH was formed 11 years ago with the intent to bring awareness to the devastating effects which humanity is inflicting on our beautiful planet. The 6 billion people now living on Earth are already far beyond its carrying capacity.

Our reckless expansion into wilderness areas is causing countless atrocities to all life sustaining ecosystems. The virgin Rainforests are home to 61.8% of all the biological diversity on Earth. In this, the richest environment for life, we are destroying a land area which is equivalent to the size of the city of Error! Bookmark not defined. Japan ( 240 square miles ) every day. This equals 6417 acres per hour, 107 acres per minute or 1.78 acres per second.

This destruction of virgin Rainforests land area causes somewhere between 93 and 1609 Rainforests species extinctions per day. The wide disparity of these species extinction numbers is because of 4 Error! Bookmark not defined. the best scientific consensus has yet to agree upon.

We believe, based on the Fibonacci series of numbers which are found throughout nature, that there are approximately 560 Rainforests species extinctions per day. This equals one Rainforests species extinction every 2 minutes and 33 seconds.

We are but a strand in the fabric of life, all intricately interdependent on one another. And yet here we are, in the mere geological blink of an eye, eroding the very foundation of our own existence with mass species extinctions. This 6th great mass extinction period on Earth that we are insanely causing by the suicidal annihilation of the Web of Life, will very soon bring about our own extinction.

In 1992 some 1,700 of the world’s leading scientists, including the majority of the most intellectually elite people on Earth, the living Nobel Laureates in the Sciences, signed the document World Scientists’ Warning To Humanity. It states, “Human beings and the natural world are on a collision course. Human activities inflict harsh and often irreversible damage on the environment and on critical resources? and may so alter the living world that it will be unable to sustain life in the manner that we know.”

The Omega Point is the point in time, when all of the devastation we have inflicted over the years to our life support ecosystems finally becomes too much and they irreversibly fail, no longer able to sustain Homo Sapiens. What this translates into for our future generations is an ever increasingly nightmarish slippery slope to extinction.

If we are going to survive, it is imperative that we change our ways completely and change them right now. As Albert Einstein said, “We shall require a substantially new manner of thinking if mankind is to survive.”

We believe that as early as 1991, because of the cumulative shortsighted destruction egregiously caused by Homo Sapiens to all life ecosystems, humanity entered a gray zone where the Omega Point may be crossed for our species at any time. We can tell you with all assurance that we will pass the Omega Point somewhere between the years 2012 – 2016 at our present rate of Rainforests destruction.

Between the years 2012 – 2016 we will go below the 10% / 50% Safeguard Threshold Providence ( STP ). This will occur when 10% of Virgin Rainforest Area ( VRA ) with 50% of Rainforest Species ( RS ) are all that remain from what originally had been. This was before our population started growing exponentially 12,000 years ago with the advent of the new food energy technology, known as agriculture.

The beautiful providence that nature safeguards is the diversity of life itself. If we fell, level or slash and burn 90% of the Virgin Rainforest Area, only 50% of Rainforests Species will go extinct. Somehow in the last 10% of VRA nature magically holds on to 50% of RS. Lucky for us we realized this in time, before we violate nature’s inherent limits.

We use the beauty of this built-in natural threshold, as the barometer to tell us when the Omega Point for Homo Sapiens will occur. If we ever go below this 10% / 50% Safeguard Threshold Providence, we will become extinct. This is analogous to when humans lose more than 90% of their liver function, they will almost always die. If they lose less than 90% of their liver, they most likely will survive.

As of November 1, 1999, all that remains of the Virgin Rainforest Area is 23.88% with 57.71% of Rainforest Species. The amount of VRA that is being destroyed by humanity this year alone is equal to the land area of all the following states put together: Rhode Island, Delaware, Connecticut, New Jersey, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Hawaii, Maryland and South Carolina. This is almost the size of the United Kingdom

This bleak situation of breaking the 10% / 50% Safeguard Threshold Providence between the critical years 2012 – 2016 gets even worse when you take into account the enormous momentum of our exterminating machine. It will take about 3 to 6 years for us to put on our brakes to stop it. This means that as early as 2006 if we have not created the awareness and changed our status quo lifestyles we will slide through the Safeguard Threshold Providence of 2012.

There is yet another factor that hastens this outcome by approximately 1 more year, and that is, there is a difference between a Virgin Rainforest Area that has never been touched by man and one that was. If we were to walk from a VRA to a Rainforest leveled 1000 years ago and left alone for the intervening years, we would not recognize the difference between them. They look very much the same to the untrained eye.

Now we have learned in the Rainforest leveled a 1000 years ago, only about 17% of the original inhabiting species are found today. This means 83% of the original biodiversity has still not returned. Nature takes her own time to heal and fully restore. It can take as short as one to two million years, providing there is a favorable geological environment for nature to rebalance and achieve full self organization restoration.

Therefore when only 10% Virgin Rainforests Area remains, somewhere between 5% and 10% of these Rainforests will not be virgin. They will have been touched by man at sometime in the past, resulting in many fewer species. This means we will reach 50% Rainforest Species remaining, when there is about 11 % Virgin Rainforests left.

This is where the 10% / 50% STP will lose another year. Then minus the 3 to 6 years to stop our momentum and we are looking at the years 2005 to 2012. This leaves us as little as only 5 years to become aware and take action before it’s too late.

Nothing is more important than the issue of these mass Rainforests extinctions. This is the number one issue now facing humanity.

With the manmade ecological disaster of mass species extinctions we are losing the full richness of nature’s beauty. Each time we lose a species we lose their invaluable genetic code. Their form-field vanishes forever. The fabric of life is losing too many strands and is quickly beginning to unravel to a point of no return. Homo Sapiens cannot survive without this Web of Life that supports us all.

What about the all of the still unknown detrimental effects that Rainforests destruction and mass species extinctions will have on the oxygen / carbon cycle, the hydrological cycle and the electromagnetic cycle? And what about the 50% or more of all the drug compounds to help cure diseases that are found in the Rainforest? They are forever gone with every extinction of life.

What do we do to stop future plagues, when in fact, it is we who are creating them by the very destruction of the Rainforests in the first place? Mass species extinctions are creating havoc with the checks and balances found throughout nature. Plague causing life forms will run amuck and spread uninhibited up the food chain. A quick and certain Catch-22 to extinction for Homo Sapiens, if we let it be. We must change our ways immediately. We must become sustainable so that we may leave our future generations a beautiful Earth upon which they may flourish.

Rainforests Biodiversity Scale Of Destruction

( see scale below ) shows in an easy to understand way the exact scale of annihilation we humans are causing to the Rainforests. Over a 37 year span it shows year by year what percentage of Rainforests Land Area and what percentage of Rainforests Species remain. It also shows what percentage of species are going extinct per year and how many are going extinct per day.

The scale is based on the 25 million square kilometers of Rainforests that once covered our beautiful Earth and the current rate of deforestation, 222,000 square kilometers per year. These numbers are computations from many sources including satellite imagery, World Resources Institute, Friends of the Earth, The United Nations and most recently the Woods Hole Research Center.

This scale also takes into account that if the current trends are to continue, we would peak at 250,000 square kilometers per year in the period from 2005 to 2010 and then would begin to fall because not enough Rainforests would remain to sustain such high declines. As of today, November 1, 1999 there are 5.97 million square kilometers left or 23.88% Virgin Rainforests Area, with 57.71% Rainforests Species remaining.

You will find Rainforests scale a useful tool to help yourself, your family and friends to understand the ramifications of not taking action immediately. Once again let us remind you, there is nothing more important than the issue of these mass extinctions. It is the number one issue now facing humanity. Please share this study and scale.

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