Our earth is covered by the thick green foliage of Rainforests which accounts nearly 6 percent of the total area on our earth. These rainforests are treasures of natural resources which are often mystical in nature. They support half of the world’s flora and fauna. It is also the residence of many tribes, who are the sole holder of these forests. The Rainforests stretch from Central America to South America’s Amazon to Africa’s central part along the equator to South Asia including India, Burma and Indonesian Archipelago to Australia and New Zealand. The Rainforests are the habitat of some 10 million breeds of plants, animals and insects including endangered species and the source of nearly 70 percent of the medicinal plants which exist in our earth. The Rainforests are full of fruit producing trees like coconuts, bananas, mangoes and many more. The benefits of this Rainforest are endless but still every second one and half acres of forests is lost due to endless chopping and cutting of trees.
We must understand the importance of Rainforests and the urgency to save them. The rainforests acts as the lungs of our planet. It takes in the carbon dioxide from the earth’s atmosphere and releases Oxygen back. This phenomenon helps in maintaining a balanced atmosphere. Rainforests produce 20 percent of Oxygen in our planet which sustains our life. Secondly, rainforest receives 1750-2000 millimetre of rain annually thus maintaining a favourable temperature in our planet. Without these rain forests our planet will have only extreme weather conditions, either extreme hot or unbearable cold climate. Rainforest therefore helps in maintaining a favourable temperature in our planet.
Scientists have prophesied that Rainforests will be completely diminished within 40 years. This will have a catastrophic effect on the survival of living beings. In 2003, France saw 15000 deaths due to severe heat strokes. 1400 people died in Netherlands. 13000 deaths in Portugal, 900 deaths in UK and 20000 deaths in Italy. Unbelievable indeed! Europe is close to Northern Arctic belt and deaths due to heat strokes is increasing day by day. Due to lack of rain severe droughts have become a regular occurrence.
The benefits of the rainforests are endless but still millions of acres of forests are being cleared only because of wood which is used for fuel and for furniture. The value of these rainforest is perceived as the value of timber by logging companies and short-sighted governments who are thinking in terms of quick profits and immediate gains only. Every second an area of a football field size is cleared by the logging companies and multinational corporations. Big multinationals and reputed global firms like Mitsubishi Corporation, Georgia Pacific, and Texaco are also involved in these deforestation activities.
It is high time that we must understand the value of the rainforests and try to protect them from further destruction. We must educate people about the damaging consequences of rainforest destruction and strategise on how to protect these forests. We have to start this from grass root level. Rainforest areas must be declared as a protected zone and any violation of its rules must have serious penalties. The steps may be difficult but we must remember that every minute about 2000 trees are felled and if this rate continues then soon we will see rainforests in only books and magazines and will cry that we lost a beautiful treasure on this planet. Of course if we survive to see them in books! Lets do our part to save the rainforests because the human existence depends on it.
[Image courtesy: http://www.flickr.com/photos/tauntingpanda/14782257/]