Top 7 Rainforest Facts to Spark Your Interest in Ecology
With all these climate change problems, we do not even realize the importance of rainforests. Global warming affected many habitats and ecosystems in the area. Besides this, deforestation is also threatening hundreds of species living in rainforests, destroying their homes. Maybe some rainforest facts could shake up policymakers to make them figure out how important rainforests are.
Rainforests are situated near the equator, in the tropical climate. They represent 6% of our planet’s land surface. However, they produce 40% of the oxygen. Four layers compose the rainforest, namely the forest floor, understory, upper canopy, and emergent. Emergent trees tend to grow very tall. Their branches extend up above the canopy.
The layers of the rainforest
The upper canopy is the home of most of the animal species in the rainforest. It develops a roof which blocks the sunlight from reaching at a lower altitude, below it. Therefore, the understory is mainly shaded. This part of the rainforest is the home of many shrubs and bushes. The forest floor never knows the sunlight. There is a slight chance for plants to grow down there. Thus, it is easier to walk through the forest.
Recent researches indicate that the rainforests in the tropical area are severely affected by deforestation. Therefore, the amount of rainforest around the globe has reduced. Brazil houses a third of the tropical rainforest that remained in the world. Since 1970, in that area, over 19% of the Amazonian rainforests disappeared because of deforestation.
Approximately 2.4% of the rainforests in Brazil had been cleaned. Specialists indicate that there may occur unprecedented consequences. One of them may be drought. The Amazonian rainforests and others rainforests faced severe droughts starting with the 1990s. Researchers indicate that these droughts are the effects of deforestation and global warming. Officials developed sustainable-logging initiatives to try and discourage deforestation. Nevertheless, their efforts did not bring significant change up to this point.
The rainforest got its name from the fact that the plants and trees here are almost self-watering. All the plants release water into the atmosphere via transpiration. In this area, every canopy tree can discharge almost 760 liters of water per year. Therefore, the massive amount of moisture helps the development of thick clouds. Even if it is not always raining, this cover of clouds maintains the forest warm and humid.
The benefits of the plants in the rainforest
The weather conditions make this the perfect spot for plants to thrive. Specialists indicate that two-thirds of the species of plants in the world grow in the rainforest. Here, all the plants grow very close to one another, constantly fighting against insect predators. They managed to adapt due to the chemicals they release. That is why scientists indicate that mane=y of these plants are useful in the world of medicine.
During the last ten years, searching for plants that can be used in medicines, cosmetics and food grew to be a big business. The native communities may sometimes receive a share in later profits. However, most of the time, they do not get anything for the help they offer in identifying the useful plants. The National Cancer Institute (NCI) indicates that 70% of the anti-cancer plants grow in the rainforest. The NCI indicates that a private pharmaceutical company uses Calanolide A, a component found in a tree growing in Borneo, to develop a new drug to treat HIV.
Several plants and trees, such as orchids, have been cultivated and removes from the rainforest. The Brazil nut tree is a valuable one which did not adapt to grow anywhere else. This tree can only be found in sections of the Amazon rainforest. In those areas, the bees that pollinate orchids also pollinate this tree. Also, the agouti, a tiny tree mammal, spreads the seeds of the tree.
Did you know that…?
Specialists consider that rainforests represent the oldest living ecosystem on Earth, getting massive amounts of rainfall. There may be few people who really know some rainforest facts, regarding the weather or the species of plants and animals it protects.
- For instance, you might not have known that 50% of the animals and plants species in the world grow in the rainforest.
- Rainforests are in many countries, besides South America. They can be found in Latin America, Africa, Asia, Canada and even Alaska. However, in Antarctica, this type of forest is absent since the temperatures are too cold for the plants and animals to thrive.
- There are different types of rainforests, namely the tropical and the temperate one. The most popular type of rainforest around the world is the tropical rainforest. These forests help to balance the temperatures around the world, as well as the weather patterns. A fifth of the fresh water in the world is in the Amazon Basin, in the tropical rainforest.
The rainforest is the home of hundreds of animal species
- Therefore, rainforests help to preserve the world’s supply of drinking water. That is why they are vital to the sustainability of our planet. Another interesting fact regarding the plants growing in the rainforest is that specialists discovered 1/4 of natural medicines in the rainforests.
- Researchers indicate that within four square miles of rainforest, one can find 750 types of trees and 1500 flowering plant species. All these can be helpful in developing treatments to combat cancer. Furthermore, approximately 2000 types of plants bear anti-cancer properties. Unfortunately, at the moment, rainforests are in danger, being threatened by mining, logging, ranching, and agriculture.
- In the beginning, there were 6 million square miles of rainforest in the world. Now, because of deforestation, there is only half of that amount. If the territory of the rainforest continues to shrink, then about 5-10% of the species living there will go extinct every 10 years.
- Statistics indicate that about 80,000 football fields worth of rainforest are cut down every day. Policymakers need to increase their efforts in stopping deforestation processes until it is not too late. Many animal and plant species are in danger.
All these rainforest facts teach us to cherish and value the forests we have. They represent the home of hundreds of species of plants and animals, helping them thrive. Besides that, many of those plants help us, people, to find cures and treatments for several diseases. Therefore, we should boost our efforts to protect the environment.
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