Destruction Of The Rainforest Essay

2067 words - 8 pages

Rainforests are the Earth's oldest living ecosystems. Fossil records show that in South East Asia, for example, rainforests have existed in more or less their present form for 70 to 100 million years. The rainforests of South America, along the Amazon river are the Earth's richest natural reserves. The National Wildlife Federation have indicated that one fifth of all birds and plants on earth evolved there.Yet, rainforests are being destroyed at a staggering rate. According to the National Academy of Science, at least 50 million acres a year are lost. This is an area the size of England, Wales and Scotland combined. At this rate, there will not be rainforests in the world in years to come.Have world leaders and traders really considered the consequences of the level of destruction happening around the tropical countries on the World as a whole, let alone the local areas themselves? I do not think so. In this essay, I shall explore such issues as, the effect on native habitat and the effect on global climate in opposition to the positive aspects of new development.Rainforests are defined primarily by two factors. Firstly their location, in the tropics and secondly, the amount of rainfall they receive. Rainforests will receive around 4 to 8 metres of rain per year. In these forests, the heavy vegetation blocks the rainfall and water reaches the floor of the forest by rolling down branches and trunks or as a fine spray. Another factor is that there is no cold or hot times during a year. There is no season, therefore, of slower growth. So life is abundant and interdependent.The rainforests of the tropical countries of the continents of South America, Asia, and Africa are extremely important, having many essential functions. The trees themselves, some of which will be thousands of years old, may reach as high as fifty metres. In Malaysia, there are about 750 species of tree in a single 10-hectare area of land. This number of species is the same as that of the whole of North America. The trees provide a habitat to birds, insects, mammals and plants. The National Academy of Science have documented that in a typical four square mile patch of rainforest, there may be 1500 species of flowering plants, 750 species of trees, 125 mammal species and 150 different species of butterfly.The felling of the trees has a devastating effect on the life of the forest. The trees themselves will be the natural habitat of animals, birds and plants. The falling trees will kill so much. Plants, like ferns, will be crushed and for those not damaged, there will be no shelter from the heavy rains. They may even be washed away with the nutrients of the soil by the heavy rains, there being no trees to hold the soil together. For those animals that do survive, monkeys for example, there will be extreme competition to live in those trees which do remain. For those on the ground, there will be an increased risk of being attacked by predators. It is recorded that an area the size of...

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