Chilling Facts About Environmental Health / Facts About the Loss of Rainforests

Facts About the Loss of Rainforests

Fact #1: Millions of Plant and Animal Species Depend Directly on Rainforests

Rainforests provide habitat, food and shelter to millions of plant and animal species. In fact, as many as 70 percent of all land species live in the forests, with many more being occasional or regular visitors.

Fact #2: Rainforests are a Priceless Source of Various Forests Products

Rainforests are a source of a wide range of products ranging from timber to cocoa and coffee to medicinal products with the latter having big potentials in cancer treatment. See this teak furniture guide for a good source of information regarding timber used in making furniture. Over 2,000 of plants that grow in rainforests have been found to destroy cancer cells. But since less than one percent of species have been tested so far, there are probably more with many having other medicinal value as well.

Fact #3: Rainforests Play the Key Role in the Climate

Rainforests have a major impact on weather patterns and temperatures, while the trees also absorb huge amounts of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases which trap heat and warm up the Earth’s surface.

Fact #4: We are Losing Rainforests at an Alarming Rate

Rainforests used to cover 6 million square miles of the Earth’s surface. Today, only 2.6 million square miles are left. Each year, over 55,000 square miles of forests are lost which is more than half the size of the United Kingdom. At the current rate of rainforest loss, they will be gone completely in a century.

Fact #5: Rainforest Loss Can Mainly be Attributed to Intentional Deforestation

Although some deforestation is also a result of natural disasters such as wildfires or combination of human factor and natural events, rainforest loss can mainly be attributed to intentional deforestation. Millions of trees are being cut down to supply wood and paper industry, while large slices of rainforest are also cut down by the loggers to build roads. However, agriculture is responsible for deforestation the most. Farmers cut down or burn large areas of rainforests to get land to grow crops or graze livestock. Other major drivers of deforestation include mining and illegal logging.

Fact #6: Loss of Rainforests Threatens Millions of Species, Speeds Up Climate Change and Directly or Indirectly Seriously Endangers Lives of Millions of People Worldwide

Loss of habitat due to deforestation is threatening millions of species, bringing thousands at the brink of extinction. But it also accelerates climate change because the fewer the trees the more greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. Lastly, loss of rainforests is a major concern for humans as well because millions of people depend directly on the forests, while loss of plant and animal species could also lead to loss of potential cures for a number of diseases.