Submitted by: Amy Yao
Did you know the world’s rainforests are currently disappearing at a rate of 6000 acres every hour? More than half the rainforests in the world have been chopped down, resulting in only 2.5 billion acres left. When these treasured forests are continually being destroyed, it harms not only the plants and animals living in these forests, but also our world as a whole.
Many species who have made their homes in the rainforests are at risk of extinction because of deforestation. Although the rainforests cover just 7% of the earth, over 50% of all known plants and animal species live in the rainforests. With rainfall of at least 100 inches per year, these rainforests provide plants and animals with the perfect climate to thrive. With their homes being demolished, these animals have nowhere to flee and vegetation begins to die out.
The substantial amount of lumber being chopped down also negatively affects the ecosystem. We need these trees to produce oxygen and clean the atmosphere to help us breathe. They provide us with useful medicinal plants which can cure people from potentially deadly diseases. In fact, one in three prescriptions sold at pharmacies come from rainforest plants. If these plants are disappearing, diseases will be harder to cure.
Millions of people around the world rely on the rain forest for food and shelter. In many cases, companies are “clear-cutting” timber, or removing every single tree from an area. They burn down the land and use it for farming. They plant crops on it for a few seasons before moving on to a new spot in the forest. Entire forests have been cut down and converted to pastures for cattle. Mineral rich forest areas have also been destroyed to make way for mining.
However, as a community we can help change the ways of forest destruction. There are many conservation groups across the globe that protect the rainforests and regularly inspect these forests for damage. Donate to these organizations to ensure healthy rainforests. Whenever you are shopping at the grocery store, buy products marked with rain forest-friendly labels. We can verify that what we buy is not hurting the beautiful and interesting forests that provide our Earth with the resources we need.