Part of the problem of rainforest depletion lies in our treatment of the native peoples.

Rainforest depletion is caused by people using rainforest resources without thought as to the consequences. Part of the problem is with the farmers and people who strip the rainforest of valuable woods and animal products, often selling them at low prices to people who market them with a big markup.

One of the solutions to this problem is educating people as to the true value of what they're selling.

The other is teaching them to lie.

Let's face it, most rainforest products are valued because of their rarity and semi-forbidden nature. Why not tell the people that harvest these woods and animals that their goods sell for very high prices?
The fact is, it's cheaper to make a tree farm out of commonly found trees, then harvest, manufacture, and eventually sell authentic 'rainforest' products.
Last night, I was watching a TV special on anacondas. The show featured the many ways anacondas could be used, from their skin to their fat, which is prized for medicinal reasons.

Why not teach the native peoples to render down a few pigs and sell their fat as that of an anaconda?

Is there something wrong with saving the rainforest this way?

There are two types of rainforests: the temperate and the tropical. At one time, Tropical rain forests covered 12% of the Earth’s land mass, but now it covers only 6%. The rainfall averaged yearly is about 90-460 inches a year. Rainforests on the equator have about 12 hour days all year around. The temperature averages around 80ºF and the humidity is high, ranging from 77% to 88%. There are four layers of the tropical rainforest, each built ontop of one another. The topmost layer is called the Emergent layer. Beginning at heights of 75 feet and reaching higher than 250 feet, the emergent layer has plentiful amounts of sunshine. The next layer, The canopy, is the large covering mass of leaves that stands 60-90 feet above the rainforest ground. About 90% of the photosynthesis in the entire rainforest occurs in the canopy. The canopy also accommodates the widest variety of animal species in the world. The next level is called the understory. Starting at the ground and including everything until 50 feet above ground level, the understory is dimly lit, making it hard for young canopy plants to grow. A diversity of plants live here; however they must accommodate for the lack of sunlight. Also, the most insects live in this layer. Scientists estimate that there are over 30 million species of insects alone in the tropical rainforest. Finally, there is the Forest floor. Here, there is very limited plant life, and only 1% of the total sunlight ever reaches the forest floor. The soil is very low in nutrients, unlike the early misconceptions of the tropical rainforest soil.

The Temperate rainforest covers very little of the total land mass of rainforests in the world and are found in temperate zones. On average, the temperate rainforest is cooler and it houses the largest and oldest trees in the world. The largest strip of remaining temperate rainforest lies on the coast from Alaska to Oregon. Others are located in southern South America, New Zealand, and Tasmania.

The Amazon Rainforest is the largest plot of tropical rainforest in the world. It contains the largest source of biodiversity and genetic variation. Located in Northern Brazil, the Amazon rainforest is about 2.5 million square miles, approximately the size of Europe. Just one acre of land might contain 180 different species. Many plants and insects here have been found to obtain special healing capabilities, such as curing cancer. About ¼ of the world’s medicine is found in this forest.

In the 1500’s, Portugal royal expeditions discovered valuable dyewood, also known as Brazilwood, in this large region of South America, leading to the formation of the country with the similar name, Brazil. Initial capitalism started when merchants traded this wood to Europeans and other items to native Indians. By the mid sixteenth century, sugar developed into the leading export and Brazil became a model of trading for the world. During the 1900’s, the Amazon Rainforest began to noticeably decrease in size. New towns and roads were built including Brazil’s eighth largest city, Manaus. It is estimated that in 1970 about 1% of the Amazon Rain Forest was deforested and the year 2000, 15%. In a thirty year time span, about 14% of the rainforest was consumed, approximately the size of France. However, the total amount of rainforest in the world is about the size of Europe, or 6.7% of the Earth’s land mass. In the 1990’s, Brazil’s government and many environmental organizations began working to protect the Amazon Rain Forest. They also provide education about how to earn profits from the rainforest without damaging it. Many people harvest nuts, fruits, rubber, and other products that grow naturally in the rainforest while logging and mining companies use and cut down the wood.

A biome is described¹ as being a particular physical environment that contains a characteristic assemblage of plants and animals. The tropical rainforest biome is one of the most complex on the planet. It has a wide variety of plants and animals that live under its thick, complex web of tree branches of its emergent and upper canopy layers. In this report I am going to outline the location, climate, layers, plants, animals, and future of this beautiful, yet very unstable environment known as the Tropical Rainforest. The locations of tropical rainforests are quickly diminishing. The beautiful, colorful, and vibrant ecosystems are disappearing. However, you can still find rainforests in much of Central and South America, Africa, southeastern Asia, southern India, and northeastern Australia. A tropical rainforest is normally very hot and humid. On average a rainforest receives about 150 cm or rainfall. The reason for this high amount is because at higher temperatures, the air can hold more water vapor. All the water vapor is supplied because near the equator, the climates receive more sunlight. The sun heats the land and sea and water evaporates into the air. This water cycle repeats very frequently. A tropical rainforest is classified as Af under the Köppen Classification system. The A is given to tropical climates that are moist for all the months and have average temperatures above 15° C. The f stands for sufficient precipitation for the whole year. The average temperature is 25°C. I’ve mentioned briefly about the upper canopy and emergent layers, but what are these layers? There are four layers to a canopy: emergent, upper canopy, lower canopy (or understory), and the forest floor. The emergent layer is the very top layer of the canopy. It is populated by very tall and slender trees. They tend to have pointed leaves, because they are subjected to the harsh, dry winds. Next, the upper canopy is from 130 ft. to 60 ft. with the emergent being anywhere higher than that. There is so much food in this layer that many of the animals who live there never have to leave the tree to find food. The lower canopy is mainly 60 ft. down, mostly being shrubs, plants, or small trees. This level is in constant shade. The forest floor is usually completely shaded, less than one percent of the total amount of light makes it through. The topsoil of the forest floor is of poor quality because with so many living things all the nutrients that are left in the soil are quickly absorbed by other plants through their roots. A shrub/sapling layer, not one of the four layers, receives as little as three percent of the light, because it's slightly above the forest floor, so when light becomes available shrubs and saplings can grow very quickly. The trees give off as much as half of the humidity received by the process of transpiration, through the stomata of the leaves. Because of the conditions many trees have adapted to receive the maximum amount of sunlight or to shed water easily. There are over 2500 species of vines in the rainforest. Dominant species do not exist in the rainforest. Trees of the same species don’t grow in close proximity to others of the same species, therefore preventing mass-contamination and extinction. It also means there will be enough pollinators for each of the species’ needs. Some examples of plants in a tropical rainforest are: bamboo, mangroves, coconut trees, and durians just to name a few. There is an infinite amount of diversity when it comes to animal life. Most adapt to their surroundings much the same way plants do. Some animals have fruit diets, others have bright colors and sharp patterns. Insects are the largest group in the rainforest. They include: butterflies, mosquitoes, stick insects, and giant colonies of ants. There can be as many as 100 different species of animals in a given area at any given time. Some animals in the rainforest include: African Forest Elephant, Bengal Tiger, Chimpanzee, King Cobra, Orangutan, Sumatran Rhinoceros, Toco Toucan, Vampire Bat, and Wagler’s Pit Vipers. Some environmentalists wonder about the future of rainforests in general. Due to deforestation, clear-cutting, and air pollution much of the beautiful lands are leaving us forever along with the plants and animals. I’ll let you think about the future of rainforests, because I’m not going to continue to harp about the same issues that have been around for many decades, it’s not like we don’t know how to deal with it. Just to leave you with something to think about over half the world’s populations of plants and animals live in these rainforests, and more than forty percent of the Earth’s oxygen is produced by the very trees we are destroying. Now since you know the facts would you continue to ruin the lives of future citizens of the world we call Earth over wood? ¹ -

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