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The Path To Extinction For Rain Forests

2703 words - 11 pages

Rainforests are defined by an excessive amount of rainfall. They are extremely vital organs of the global ecosystem and are responsible for nearly a third of the world’s oxygen provision. With over 30 million different species of plants and animals, they are believed to be the eldest and most complex land based ecosystems on the globe. Rainforests can be thought of as massive sponges, which suck up over half of the world’s rainfall and then release it back into the air in the forms of giant compounds of mist and water vapor. Throughout the 20th century tropical rainforests have become subject to great agricultural clearances and logging, which have shrunken the occupancy of rainforests dramatically. This can clearly be seen in West Africa where 90% of the original rainforest has been lost and on Madagascar where two thirds of the rainforest has been cut down. At the current rate scientists have estimated that it is only a matter of ten years before the Indonesian forest is completely gone and 13 to 16 years before the rainforest of New Guinea has followed its path to extinction.
Deforestation of the rainforest deal with lethal threats to the animals and the climate, Edward Osborne Wilson, biologist at Harvard University has said that 50,000 species could become extinct each year. He is also worried that due to the habitat destruction, that is deforestation of the rainforest, a quarter or more of the world’s animal species could become extinct within the coming 50 years.
The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) has defined deforestation a process in which natural forests are cut down through burning or logging, “either to use the timber or to replace the area for alternative uses”. According to WWF “Deforestation continues to be an urgent environmental issue that jeopardizes people’s livelihoods, threatens species, and intensifies global warming”. Deforestation is often the victim of palm, pulp, and soy plantations or other forms of infrastructure or logging, forest fires, climate change, and the harvesting of fuel-woods.

Landslides & Erosion

With the increase of logging and global deforestation of the rainforest, hazard related concerns have been expressed. Natural buffers provided by the forest have disappeared and the safety of local populations, questioned. Tree roots function as a natural method of keeping soil, rocks, and other unstable natural matter, in place, through binding with the bedrock. The removal of vegetation, specifically on steep hillsides with loose or shallow soil, raises the threat of landslides, which can be fatal to inhabitants.
Many of the nations occupied by the rainforest are categorized as being part of the developing world. An example of such a nation is Haiti, on the Caribbean island of Hispaniola. Haiti’s residents are amongst the poorest in the Americas, with a GNI of $760.00 as of 2012, this compares to the USA’s GNI of $50,120.00 in 2012. The rainforest is an essential part of the Haitian...

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