Why are they being destroyed? In the past 50 years much of the rainforest in Africa and Asia has been destroyed. Large areas of rainforest are being cut down, often in order to remove just a few logs, and rainforest is being destroyed at double the rate of all previous estimates. Unfortunately this means that there is a very high rate of extinction, as the wildlife depending on the forest dies with it. Many rainforests in Central and South America have been burnt down to make way for cattle farming, which supplies cheap beef to North America, China and Russia. It is estimated that for each pound of beef produced, 200 square feet of rainforest is destroyed. In the past 20 years Costa Rica has lost the majority of its forests to beef cattle ranching. This is known as slash and burn farming and is believed to account for 50% of rainforest destruction. However, the land cannot be used for long: the soil is of poor quality and, without the forest, quickly becomes very dry. The grass often dies after only a few years and the land becomes a crusty desert. The cattle farmers then have to move on and destroy more rainforest to create new cattle pastures. Indigenous Indians also use slash and burn farming techniques, but on a small scale. For centuries they have used a sustainable system where, when they finish using one small patch of land, they move away to a different area and allow the forest to regenerate. Since the area cleared is small, the soil does not dry out and therefore the forest clearance is localized and temporary rather than extensive and permanent. This is believed to be the second largest cause of deforestation. Timber companies cut down huge trees such as mahogany and teak and sell them to other countries to make furniture.
Smaller trees are often used for the production of charcoal. Vast areas of rainforest are cut in one go (clear felling) and the most valuable trees are selected for timber, leaving the others for wood chipping. The roads that are created in order to cut and remove the timber often lead to further damage: see the effect of forest roads under Oil Companies. Much of the fruit, cereals and pulses we buy from tropical countries have been grown in areas where tropical rainforests once thrived. The forests are cut down to make way for vast plantations where products such as bananas, palm oil, pineapple, sugar cane, tea and coffee are grown. As with cattle ranching, the soil will not sustain crops for long, and after a few years the farmers have to cut down more rainforest for new plantations. The developed nations relentlessly demand minerals and metals such as diamonds, oil, aluminium, copper and gold, which are often found in the ground below rainforests. The rainforests therefore have to be removed in order to extract them. Poisonous chemicals are sometimes used to separate the waste from the minerals, for example mercury, which is used to separate gold from the soil and debris with which it is mixed. These chemicals often find their way into rivers, polluting water supplies which local people depend on, killing fish and other animals that feed on them. Rainforests are seriously affected by oil companies searching for new oil deposits. This is incredibly damaging as often large roads are built through untouched forests in order to build pipelines and extract the oil. This encourages settlers to move into hitherto pristine forests and start slash-and-burn farming or cutting more timber for sale or the production of charcoal.
Once established, the oil pipelines which transport the oil often rupture, spouting gallons of oil into the surrounding forest, killing wildlife and contaminating the water supplies of local villages. The World Bank and large companies invest money in developing countries to build dams for the generation of electricity. This can involve flooding vast areas of rainforest. Dams built in rainforest areas often have a short life because the submerged forest gradually rots, making the reservoir water acidic, which eventually corrodes the dam turbines. The dams can also become blocked with soil washed down from deforested highlands in heavy rains. This can cause great problems, such as flooding. How can YOU help to save the rainforests? Have a look at our page and its subheadings for information on how you can help us including sponsoring your own acre or more of rainforest. You can also get some great fundraising event ideas from for your class and school to get involved in.
TheWorldCounts, 22 July, 2014 In 100 Years, there will be no Rainforestsв When you see paper and wood, what do you think of? Do you think of the tree that was felled to make the product? Before we started to build cities many centuries ago, they say that 60% of the Earth was covered in Forests. Now, there is less than 10% left. Deforestation is when forests are converted for other purposes by cutting down the trees to clear the land for other use. With 7 billion people in the planet, we need more land to build cities, raise livestock and grow food. People also make money by clearing the forests and selling the lumber and wood to be converted into other products, such as paper. What you need to know about Deforestation Can you imagine Earth without forests?
Here are some deforestation facts for kids that can be shared to raise their awareness about our environment: 13 million hectares of forest have been cleared for other uses or by natural disaster. By the year 2030, we might only have 10% of our forests leftв and if we donвt stop deforestation, they could all be gone in 100 years. Agriculture is the leading cause of deforestation. We clear the land to raise livestock or to plant other crops that can be sold, such as sugar cane and palm oil. a. The Amazon in South America b. The Congo in Central Africa c. Southeast Asia d. New Guinea e. Madagascar Rainforests cover only 6% of the worldвs surfaceв yet they are home to more than 50% of the plant and animal species on Earth. A patch of rainforest measuring 4 square miles can contain as many as 1,500 flowering plants, 400 species of birds, 750 species of trees and 150 species of butterflies. Not counting the other living things living there. Every minute, forests the size of 20 football fields are cut down. Why are Rainforests Important? Rainforests help regulate the Earthвs temperature and weather patterns. Did you know that 20% of our oxygen is produced in the Amazon? But thatвs not all theyвre good for: They are home to plants and animals. It took 60 to 100 million years for Rainforests to evolve and it is the home of over 30 million species of plants and animals. When we clear the forests, they all die. Trees help absorb the harmful carbon dioxide that we humans release in the atmosphere and they provide the oxygen that we need to breathe. More than 25% of our medicines today come from rainforest plants. We have only explored 1% of the plants available. Just imagine what diseases the 99% that have not been explored can cure!
They soak up a lot of rainfall. The rainwater is filtered through the forest floors and supplies water to rivers and irrigation systems. They also help prevent erosion, where the soil is washed away causing blockages that in turn causes floods. They are home to indigenous people. Many tribes still live in the rainforests. If we donвt stop deforestation, more than half of our plant and animal species will be extinct. It is the oldest ecosystem on Earth and they are impossible to replace. It took millions of years for rainforests to developв how can we replenish fast enough to cope with the rate of deforestation? What can you do to help save our forests? There are many ways to help save the forests that are remaining. Reduce. Reuse. Recycle. If we recycle the products that come from trees such as paper, then we can use them over and over again. There will be a lower demand for products made from trees. Buy from companies that are environment friendly. They donвt ruin our environment just to make money. More: Try to eat less meat which requires grazing lands в another reason why forests are cleared. Buy products made out of recycled materials. Do not buy newspaper or magazines. Read them online. Certified. This means that the wood was legally cut down. Read more interesting stories about the environment at. By knowing the issues, you can contribute in your own small way by making much needed changes that are good for our environment. If you want to know about Ethical Companies and green products, visit. Itвs a collection of companies making products that are environment friendly. Letвs rewards their efforts by patronizing their products. References