What is an Endangered Rainforest?
An endangered rainforest is a rainforest in which the vegeatation, ecosystem, and animals are in danger of extinction. A rainforest is defined as any forest with a high annual rainfall. As much of 45% of all the world's animal species are said to live in rainforests. Rainforests are also responsible for about 28% of the earth's oxygen turnover. Oxygen turnover, in this case, refers to the process of photosynthesis, in which plants convert carbon dioxide into stored carbon.
An endangered rainforest may be classified as such for a number of different reasons. Some rainforests, such as Great Bear Rainforest, are in danger because of the logging industry. In these cases, a large percentage of the trees are cleared for the commercial use of the lumber. This act makes the rainforest an endangered area by destroying the habitat of the many species of wildlife that live there. The clearing of trees also impairs the migration routes of many animals.
Another factor that may lead to a rainforest becoming endangered is the introduction of non-native plants and animal species into the rainforest ecosystem. Plants and animals that are not native to the habitat will create an endangered ecosystem by severely altering the habitat, making it difficult for native species to co-exist. In some cases, non-native animals that are introduced into rainforests will prey on the native species.
In countries such as Brazil, the endangered rainforest is the result of a number of different factors related to the growth of industry. Tourism, for example, may lead to the building of highways through a threatened rainforest. Other times, cattle ranchers might build in the rainforest.
There is much debate as to how long the rainforests can survive in the modern world. Some scientists have argued that rainforests will become obsolete in about 100 years if action are not taken. Some scientists have argued that we are in danger of losing all the world's rainforests within 75 years. Government regulations, community activism, and some voluntary changes in corporate practice have proven successful at helping to reforest some areas of endangered rainforest, though.
There are a number of groups dedicated to preserving the world's endangered rainforests and rainforest species. Groups such as the Rainforest Foundation Fund have raised money to campaign against destruction of rainforests by working with governments to protect these ecosystems. These funds also campaign to protect the rights and lifestyles of the indigenous peoples who live in the rainforests.
@browncoat - The bigger threat to rainforests in modern times is actually climate change. Rainforests are in a very delicate balance with the weather, which is why they are almost impossible to recreate once they have been cut down. They provide the conditions they need to survive, such as heavy humidity.
If the climate changes too much the forests will probably end up dying off because they just can't cope with it. And that will take out all the endangered rainforest species at the same time.
@irontoenail - That's why scientists today are so very careful about biological border controls. There are so many endangered species in the rainforests all over the world that we don't even know about yet. They still go on expeditions into the Papua New Guinea rain forests every few years and discover birds and frogs that no one has ever seen before.
But if a species like rats is introduced to a place where they didn't evolve, they can spread much more quickly than humans and pose a threat to fauna and flora we aren't even aware of yet.
I visited a temperate rainforest in the South Island of New Zealand once and there was a species which had been introduced that was destroying the whole ecosystem. Actually, there were several and the one people often think of is the possum, or the house-cat, both of which are problems in that country.
But in this particular forest most of the wildlife lived either directly or indirectly from the sweet sap that the trees produced. And the introduction of European wasps was endangering that system, because they were eating all the sap and not leaving any for the other creatures.
It's not something that you could ever really predict would happen either. It's not like those idiots who released rabbits everywhere and then were shocked when they started taking over farmland. I would never have guessed that wasps could be so destructive.
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