VOICES FOR THE AMAZON

WHAT IS A TROPICAL RAINFOREST?

A Tropical Rainforest is a hot, humid, and flourishing dense forest, usually found around the equator. Tropical rainforests receive around 100 inches (254 centimeters) of rainfall yearly, and contain tall broad-leaved evergreen trees that form a continuous canopy.

Rainforests hold about 25% of all terrestrial (land) carbon and are the most important land ecosystems for mitigating climate change. The great amassing of trees in the tropics pulls in toxic levels of carbon from the atmosphere, holding it in the trees’ limbs, trunks, leaves and roots. Because tropical forests are moist and receive high levels of rainfall, they release vast amounts of moisture into the air daily. Studies have shown that declines in forest cover is equal to the reduction in the area’s water supply. Cutting down trees in forests affects rainfall and the local and global weather patterns. Research has shown that the reduction of rainfall lessens the amount of moisture crossing the oceans, creating a rise in oceanic temperatures and the intensification of storms.

Rainforests hold about 25% of all terrestrial (land) carbon and are the most important land ecosystems for mitigating climate change.

Tropical Rainforests hold the greatest abundance of species, containing about 90% of Earth’s species while covering less than 10% of the planet’s surface. Rainforests are the healthiest and most adaptable communities in the world. The hot and humid climate of the tropics around the equator yields a higher level of productivity for these ecosystems. It should be no surprise that these areas have higher numbers of species and life in sheer quantity, and have a healthier and stable environment with abundance, interaction, renewal, and complexity. Higher levels of biodiversity creates more resilience and ecosystems stability, which enables the system to withstand and recover from disasters.

Tropical Rainforests hold the greatest abundance of species, containing about 90% of Earth’s species while covering less than 10% of the planet’s surface.

No other type of ecosystem provides more benefits for biodiversity, food, weather patterns, fresh water, and human health than tropical rainforests. Research has shown that in 50 years, one tree can recycle approximately $37,500 worth of water, create $62,000 worth of air pollution control, mitigate $31,250 worth of soil erosion and produce $31,250 worth of oxygen. Trees are one of the world’s most valuable assets.

In 2014, it was estimated that 70,000 miners were operating in the Peruvian Amazon, having destroyed nearly 60,000 hectares of forest.

Originally, rainforests covered approximately 12 percent of the Earth’s surface. Today there is only around 5% of tropical forests left with losses from deforestation being upwards of 80,000 – 100,000 acres of tropical forests daily. Between 2000 and 2012, more than 720,000 square miles (2 million square km) of forests around the world were destroyed. It is estimated that 10,000 species become extinct yearly. At the current rates of destruction, tropical forests worldwide could disappear within the next hundred years. We are destroying the ecosystems that are keeping us healthy.

The Amazon is the World’s Largest Rainforest.

The Amazon Basin holds the largest tropical rainforest in the world, containing approximately 34% of the world’s intact forests, is the size of the lower 48 states of the United States and covers 6-8 million square kilometers. The Amazon rainforest is one of the wettest places on Earth, containing over a billion acres of forests and diverse habitats that are homes to countless species and peoples. The equatorial latitude provides a predictable environment that is consistently warm and humid that allows organisms to thrive.

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