Rainforests are the species-richest
ecosystems on the Earth. They cover only 5% of the Earth's
but contain more than half of all the plant and animal species on the
Many of our modern medicines
come from rainforests. More than 70% of plants that have anti-cancer
properties are found in rainforests.
And there are many properties we haven't discovered yet - scientists
estimate that they've been able to study
only 1% of rainforest species. We are wiping out species
that could possibly cure cancer and other bad diseases.
There are about 60 million indigenous
people who live in tribes and rely on rainforests for
their traditional lifestyle.
Rainforests also act as huge water
pumps that balance water availability by absorbing it when
it's plentyful and releasing it when it's scarce. This prevents flooding and erosion
during the wet season and stops large rainforest river systems
like Amazon and Congo from running out of water during the dry. Agriculture
in those areas would suffer if we lost those water pumps. And some
countries that benefit from them are major food exporters, so the loss of food production
would affect many other countries.
Another Bad Reason -
Rainforest Destruction Increases Global Warming
is a very serious problem. The most vital role of rainforests today is
they are an enormous help in the fight against global warming.
Burning rainforests, which is one of the ways to destroy them (when
clearing land for agriculture), releases
as do the side effects - decomposition of dead plant matter
and oxidation of soils. So rainforest destruction is
for 17% of our annual carbon dioxide emission. This is more than all
the world's cars, ships and aeroplanes release together.
rainforest plants absorb
4.8 billion tonnes carbon
dioxide every year - equal to 10% of our annual greenhouse
gas emissions, which increase global
By saving the forests we save a natural mechanism that removes some of
the carbon dioxide that we humans put into the atmosphere.
about as much carbon
trees as there is in the atmosphere. Interfering with this balance will
have serious consequences.
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does that mean?