Rainforests cover only 6% of the Earth's landmass (2% of the Earth's total
surface), yet they contain more than half of the world's estimated 10 million species of plants, animals and insects!
The density of species is so great that one hectare (2.47 acres) may contain over 750 types of trees, and 1500 other varieties of plants
Sadly, experts estimate that we are losing 137 plant, animal, and insect species every single day due to
destruction of the rainforests. That’s about 50,000 species a year being lost forever.
As they disappear, so do many possible cures for life-threatening diseases. 25% of Western pharmaceuticals are derived from ingredients in the rainforests,
yet scientists have only tested about 1% of the plants in the forests.
There are indigenous people who know about these plants, and pass the information from generation to generation. Unfortunately their homes are being destroyed and they are being forced off the land that has sustained them for thousands of years.
In Brazil alone, more than 90 indigenous tribes have been wiped out. With them have gone centuries of accumulated knowledge of the medicinal value of the rainforests.
About 2,000 trees per minute are cut down in the rainforests. As roads are cut deep into the forest to get to the timber, poor settlers follow and settle all along the roads. These settlers often set fires to clear the forest for farming. As rich as the rainforests are in some ways, it makes terrible farmland. Most of the nutrients of a rainforest ecosystem are stored in its vegetation rather than in its soil.
The result is nearly complete erosion in a few years. The settlers then pick up and move deeper into the forest to start the process over again.
All of this leaves only small patches of rainforest., which usually wither due
to an upset of the ecosystem's species balance. Predator habitat is
insufficient, and pollinating insects may have trouble reaching the remaining
The Amazon Rainforest has been described as the "Lungs of the Earth. More than 20 percent of the world’s oxygen is produced in the Amazon Rainforest.
It’s estimated that over half of the developed world's diet originated in the
tropical rainforests. Their bountiful gifts include: tomatoes, corn, rice, coconuts, oranges, figs,
avocados grapefruits, bananas, mangos, guavas, chocolate, coffee, vanilla, black pepper, potatoes, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, cashews, brazil nuts, lemons, yams and sugar.
At least 3000 fruits are found in the rainforests; of these only 200 are now in use in the Western World. The Indians of the rainforests use over 2,000.
So what can you do to save these bountiful lungs of the earth? Plenty. Visit our
free donation center daily. Sponsors will make donations that go to the
Adopt an Acre program. The funds will be used to buy and protect a beautiful parcel of rainforest, spanning one million acres in Belize.
You can also use any of our services
to generate funds that will purchase and save rainforest automatically.
Your shopping choices can make a difference too! Avoid Mahogany and Rosewood products. They come from the rainforests and are rarely harvested in a sustainable manner.