Protecting Our Forests: Tropical Forests

If you’ve read our previous article titled “Forests,” you would now know about the important role that forests play in their ecosystems and the Earth as a whole. Therefore, it’s important to be aware of what’s happening to them, and learn how to protect and conserve them. If you read the previous article titled, “Forests”, you know the role forests play in their ecosystems and the Earth as a whole. Now it is important to be aware of what is happening to forests and how to protect and conserve them.

To recap, there are three main types of forests. The first is temperate forests, defined by the moderate climate of their regions and four distinct seasons. The second is boreal forests, defined by their long and cold winters with much snow. The last type is tropical forests, defined by their high levels of biodiversity and their commonly high levels of precipitation and humid climate.

There are different factors that are contributing to the harm done to forests depending on location, forest type, etc. However, the reliance that humans have on forests, as well as the ripple effect that destroying forests has on the Earth, is something they all have in common.

To centralize, Tropical rainforests contain around 80% of the Earth’s species and documented wildlife while only covering less than 5% of the Earth’s land. However, some of the factors that are directly harming tropical rainforests are logging and clearing for farming. When logging takes place, rainforest trees are cut down for their timber  which harms the species living there and destroys the soil compactness, forest floor shrubs, and all layers of a rainforest. A common form of clearing a rainforest for farming is slash-and-burn cycles (where fires are set to certain parts of the forest to clear for farming). This is incredibly harmful, not only because tropical rainforests are crucial carbon sinks, a habitat for many species, and many people rely on them, but it is very difficult to regrow a tropical rainforest from nothing. The trees of tropical rainforests are tremendously tall and wide. Rainforests have many layers to them, from the Emergent top layer to the forest floor of the trees. In addition, rainforest trees are very old. Trees in the Amazon rainforest are found to be from 300 to 1000 years old. Knowing this, the notion of rebuilding and regrowing rainforests after severe deforestation and burning would be incredibly challenging and take much time.

However, there are many ways people are trying to take part in restoring rainforests and preventing more destruction all around the world. Many researchers have been testing the most effective ways to plant native species of vegetation to optimize the regrowth of the forests. Many, on an individual level, have tried to support small businesses and use ethically sourced foods and materials. Spreading the importance of protecting rainforests and how to start is important too. There are many ways to help make a positive impact. Research ways that you can help out in your community and the world.

5 Ways To Help Conserve Tropical Forests:

  1.  Learn: Research more about the importance of tropical forests and ways you can help. Use trustworthy sources and books to learn about how tropical forests work and how you can help.
  2. Share: Spread the word throughout your community! Start an organization or club and help educate others.
  3. Choose Sustainable: Choosing products made from recycled materials will not only help avoid using up further materials, but it also minimizes your carbon footprint. Some of the trees growing in rainforests that are hundreds of years old are used for materials, and as learned, they will take years to restore.
  4. Buy From Indigenous Communities: Buy fair-trade products produced by indigenous communities to protect the rainforests and buy ethically made products. Buying from these communities supports them as well as teaches you about their culture.
  5. Raise Money Or Donate: Not everyone can donate, but if you have the time, raising money to support initiatives that work towards preserving and restoring our rainforests could really make a difference!

Sources:

“5 Ways to Help the Amazon Rainforest.” WWF, http://www.wwf.org.uk/updates/ways-help-amazon-rainforest. Accessed 10 Feb. 2021.

“9 Rainforest Facts Everyone Should Know.” Rainforest Alliance, 20 June 2019, http://www.rainforest-alliance.org/articles/9-rainforest-facts-everyone-should-know. Accessed 10 Feb. 2021.

“10 Things You Can Do.” Rainforest Foundation US, rainforestfoundation.org/engage/10-things-you-can-do/. Accessed 10 Feb. 2021.

Butler, Rhett. “The Rainforest Canopy.” Mongabay.com, 30 July 2012, rainforests.mongabay.com/0401.htm. Accessed 27 Jan. 2021.

Cortés, David. “Rainforest during Foggy Day,” Pexels, 30 Mar. 2018, http://www.pexels.com/photo/rainforest-during-foggy-day-975771/. Accessed 27 Jan. 2021.

“Deforestation and Forest Degradation | Threats | WWF.” World Wildlife Fund, 2010, http://www.worldwildlife.org/threats/deforestation-and-forest-degradation. Accessed 27 Jan. 2021.

“Deforestation of the Rainforest – Tropical Rainforest Biomes – KS3 Geography Revision.” BBC Bitesize, http://www.bbc.co.uk/bitesize/guides/zpmnb9q/revision/4. Accessed 27 Jan. 2021.

“Forest Restoration in the Amazon Region | Global Forest Atlas.” Yale.edu, 2009, globalforestatlas.yale.edu/amazon/conservation-initiatives/forest-restoration. Accessed 27 Jan. 2021.

Live Science Staff 14. “The Ancient Trees of the Amazon.” Livescience.com, 14 Dec. 2005, http://www.livescience.com/3979-ancient-trees-amazon.html. Accessed 27 Jan. 2021.

Luke, Marianne. “What Is a Temperate Forest?” Sciencing, 30 Apr. 2018, sciencing.com/temperate-forest-8780358.html. Accessed 27 Jan. 2021.

Meek, Taylor. “Effects of Deforestation: How Does Agriculture Cause Deforestation?” Sentientmedia.org, 20 Sept. 2019, sentientmedia.org/how-does-agriculture-cause-deforestation/. Accessed 27 Jan. 2021.“WWF – Discover Tropical Rainforests.” Panda.org, 2020, wwf.panda.org/discover/our_focus/forests_practice/importance_forests/tropical_rainforest/. Accessed 27 Jan. 2021.

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