WHY ARE RAINFORESTS BEING DESTROYED? Every year an area of rainforest the size of New Jersey is cut down and destroyed. The plants and animals that used to live in these forests either die or must find a new forest to call their home. Why are rainforests being destroyed? Humans are the main cause of rainforest destruction. We are cutting down rainforests for many reasons, including:
extraction of minerals and energy. Rainforests are also threatened by climate change, which is contributing to droughts in parts of the Amazon and Southeast Asia.
Drought causes die-offs of trees and dries out leaf litter, increasing the risk of forest fires, which are often set by land developers, ranchers, plantation owners, and loggers. In 2005 and 2010 the Amazon experienced the worst droughts ever recorded. Rivers dried up, isolating communities, and millions of acres burned.
The smoke caused widespread health problems, interfered with transportation, and blocked the formation of rain clouds, while the burning contributed huge amounts of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere, worsening the effects of climate change. Meanwhile, Indonesia has experienced several severe droughts in recent decades. The worst occurred in 1982-1983 and 1997-1998 when millions of acres of forest burned.
RAINFOREST DEFORESTATION PHOTOS ** The vast majority of scientists believe that human activities are contributing to climate change. Forests can be managed effectively without endangering rare species of plants and animals and without risking global environmental damage. Companies that harvest timber should not be allowed to clear cut large areas of forest and should be required to plant new trees after they cut old trees down.
Governments should create large parks and reserves where hunting and logging are not allowed. As a world community, we must be careful not to destroy the resources that people will need in the future. Many animals from the rainforests are brought to our country illegally. Parrots and iguanas, for example, are often imported illegally. We should not buy these animals, since that encourages other people to bring in more animals.