Posted on April 05 2019
More and more rainforests are being deforested worldwide - the consequences are drastic. Because with the forest not only plants and living beings disappear, but also many other existential things, such as the air we breathe every day.
Tropical forests are treasure chambers
Tropical forests extend around the equator over the land masses of the planet. They are complex biotopes that are still barely accessible to people in many areas and thus far from fully researched. This is not yet fully foreseeable what the rainforest does for our planet. Good reasons to preserve rainforests, there are, however, according to the current state of our knowledge a lot.
For example, rainforests are home to about two-thirds of the species of animals and plants on our planet. We do not yet know all the species that thrive under tropical canopy, but already a quarter of all medicines are made from substances that are part of the flora of tropical rainforests.
Globally, the rainforest plays a key role in stabilizing the climate and groundwater. Rainforests bind CO2, which is released during slash-and-burn and thus contributes to global warming. How far the rainforest influences the characteristics of the Gulf Stream can not be ignored. One thing is for sure - without the wetlands on the equator it would be uncomfortably cold in Europe. Climate change due to the disappearance of the tropical forest would be disastrous.
In addition, enough rainwater seeps into the soils of the rainforests to feed the water-bearing strata hundreds of kilometers away: the tropical rainforests of Africa nourish the springs of the Egyptian oases just before the Mediterranean coast!
The wealth of the rainforest benefits us all
In addition to their biodiversity and their importance to the global climate, tropical forests are true treasure troves. Our everyday life is full of products that we owe to the rainforest. Among them are spices, tropical fruits like mangos and papayas, but also products like coffee and cocoa!
And even rubber, palm oil or tropical woods are indispensable to the lives of people in industrialized countries.
In addition, there is the pharmaceutical use of the "rainforest pharmacy", in which every year new plants are discovered that are medically usable. In the depths of the tropical forests are probably hidden plants that contain remedies against as yet incurable diseases. With the decline of rainforests, we are destroying undiscovered potential for future generations. And it should not be forgotten that there are still people who live in and with the tropical forest - indigenous cultures with sometimes thousands of years old customs and languages that disappear together with the rainforest. Although they would be worth protecting as part of human cultural heritage.
Rainforest under fire: so much rainforest disappears every year
Yet more than 13 million square kilometers of continental area are covered by tropical rainforests. On a positive note, the destruction of forests is less rapid today than it was a few years ago. But still: more than 60,000 square kilometers of rainforest are lost every year. This also disappears the homeland of the people and animals who found their livelihood here before.
The causes of destruction
The causes of deforestation are manifold. Among the worst polluters is the clearing for pasture land production and animal feed for mass animal husbandry. But the clearing for the establishment of palm oil plantations is a cause of forest destruction. The occurrence of mineral resources under the forest floor also often seals the fate of forest stands. And of course, it's not just large corporations and industries, but also small farmers who are tackling the rainforest in search of a livelihood.
The consequences of the clearcutting
With each piece of tropical forest disappearing, deforestation continues. This not only kills numerous species, but also destroys the world's climate and destroys the planet's water cycle. After extensive clearing, the risk of soil erosion, drought disasters and floods increases, and landslides are more common. That's why the protection of the rainforest affects us all. All humanity relies on the treasure trove, the tropical forest, the lungs of the earth. And everyone can contribute. Even small changes in your own consumption patterns help to reduce the burden on the natural resources of our planet. This is not difficult and often goes hand in hand with an improved attitude to life.
The protection of the forests: what each individual can do
For example, the conscious purchase of food - who buys from the local producer in the season, for example on the market or at the farmer, gets high-quality products, often without plastic packaging and in many cases from controlled cultivation. Whether it is fruit and vegetables or organic meat, you can taste the difference! And by the way, you are leaving global logistics, which is shipping food around the world, with horrendous CO2 emissions.
If you go a step further, you can leave the car, cycle or walk and do something good for your own health and the rainforest. In any case applies here: refuel no biofuel!
You can also reduce your own paper consumption and switch to recycled or alternative paper. No longer are all alternatives unsightly gray! It goes without saying that plastic should be dispensed with to a large extent, and it is also fun with pretty fabric bags that you can also wash!
Actively contribute to reforestation
The deforestation of rainforest areas is not every day evening. Numerous organizations around the world are working to prevent the loss of tropical forests by planting trees. In the Sierra del Lacandón National Park, for example, a rainforest area of 33,000 ha was reforested through donations. By monitoring biodiversity and the use of forest rangers, such areas can be secured and thus the destruction be slowed down. The most effective is the long-term protection of the rainforest through the involvement of local organizations and the development of new sources of revenue for the inhabitants of the affected areas.
We at NIKIN participate in the protection of the forests. In cooperation with our partner OneTreePlanted, we plant a tree for every purchase in our online shop!