Each year, millions of acres of rainforest are destroyed from land clearing for unsustainable development, logging, mining and a multitude of other threats. Although rainforests only cover about 6% of the planet, the natural resources they provide are irreplaceable. Here are 5 key reasons to help save our rainforests:
1. Clean Air
Rainforests are natural air filters. They store and filter excess carbon and other pollutants from the atmosphere and release oxygen through photosynthesis. Without rainforests, our planet is unable to mitigate excess greenhouse gas emissions, which destabilizes the Earth’s climate.
2. A Healthy Water Cycle
Rainforests filter and regulate the flow of water. Trees release water from their leaves during a process called evapotranspiration. This water, after entering the atmosphere, contributes to cloud formation and eventually makes its way to the rivers. Water from the rivers then moves into the oceans, regulating the circulation of ocean currents and influencing overall climate.
3. Habitat for Countless Species
Rainforests are the most biodiverse habitats on Earth, housing nearly 80% of the world’s terrestrial biodiversity. They host an expansive array of plants and animals, many of which are still unknown to science. Without our rainforests, we lose some of the most iconic species on Earth, as well as the potential for discovery of countless new ones.
4. Livelihoods for Billions of People
Rainforests provide homes and natural resources that support livelihoods for over 1.2 billion people around the world. They serve as the ancestral homeland to indigenous communities who rely on them for food, water, medicine and shelter. Many of these communities do not have legal rights to their land, so they could stand to lose both their land and access to resources.
5. Hope for Future Generations
The preservation of our rainforests is the best, most cost-effective defense we have against the loss of biodiversity and the current climate crisis. When these tropical forests experience rapid deforestation, harmful greenhouse gases are released back into the atmosphere. In addition to impacting billions of people and countless threatened species, this contributes to an unpredictable global climate, leaving the future of the planet uncertain.