If a tree falls in a forest does anybody hear it, does anybody hear the forest fall
Tropical rain forests truly are the glory of nature.
There are more tree species in 125 acres of Peninsular Malaysia, then found in the whole of North America, which really brings home the magnitude and importance of these wonderful forests.
Research shows us, that the canopies of these forests may well contain as many as 30 million insect species that are still unknown to mankind, they cover only 7% of the earth’s surface, and yet remarkably they house as many as 80% of all of the earth species.
Many of the drugs we use today are derived from rain forest plants, in the tropical rain forest of Madagascar, there are over 12,000 different plant species; with one of the biggest breakthroughs in cancer comes from the Madagascar periwinkle, yet sadly these forests are now in danger.
Sadly Madagascar is one of the world’s poorest countries and there has been extensive tree removal over the last few years, now the forests and animals that live in them, are under constant pressure from a growing population desperate for land, which is something we discussed in greater detail here.
The plight of the rain forests
Deforestation is the permanent removal of trees to make room for something besides a forest, experts estimate that a chunk of forest the size of a soccer field is lost every second to deforestation.
Currently, we have lost half of the world’s tropical forest, with deforestation rates almost doubling during the last twenty years, if we’re not careful, the cost of tree removal may mean we witness the complete destruction of these wonderful rain forests in another few decades.
It is hard for the government to resist the development of the remaining rain forest, tree removal prices far out weight demand, in a country where so many people are in desperate poverty, follow the link for further reading on deforestation facts.
Hope is on the horizon for the rain forests
Fortunately, there may be a glimmer of hope for the future of the tropical rain forest, and the natural plant and wildlife they house. It comes with the move towards a renewed tree planting campaign, in the humid tropics, which could do much to counter the build-up of CO2 in the global atmosphere.
As trees photo-synthesis they absorb CO2, and because a tree is basically half carbon there is no better place for a tree to grow than the tropics with their warmth and moisture, two and a half acres can soak up to ten tons of carbon each year for several decades. If you do the maths, what that means, is that one million square kilometers can lock away 1000 million tons of carbon, realistically, however, we will never be able to completely eliminate all the accumulation of carbon in the global atmosphere, because there is not enough available land.
For those keen to find out more, this article is a fascinating read.