Rainforests make up some of the most valuable resources we have, yet they are
being destroyed in massive proportions. Many medicines, foods, natural
insecticides and oil producing trees are found in the rainforest.
rainforest also holds endless possibilities for useful, undiscovered resources.
These could include cures for disease and new food crops that will be wiped out
before they are found because of the destruction of the rainforests.
The rainforest is also home to millions of species of animals, plants and
insects as well. It is estimated that five out of six rainforest species have
never been seen. This adds up to millions of organisms that have never before
been encountered. This demonstrates that more species live in the rainforest
than any other ecosystem on earth, and we are obliterating their on habitat.
The rainforest is also a big producer of the world's oxygen supply. When we
destroy the rainforest, we are destroying our own oxygen supply. Massive
destruction of our precious rainforests is caused by logging, colonization due
to overpopulation, and cattle ranching.
The first major cause of mass destruction of the rainforest is logging. There
can be as many as 200 different species of trees on one acre of land.
This high number of different species of trees means there is only a few
commercially valuable trees per acre. Trees considered commercially valuable are
mahogany and tropical cedar. These trees and used for panelling, and building
boats an furniture.
Loggers must bulldoze roads through the forest to find enough of these
valuable trees to make a profit. This consumes many other trees that are in the
way of the road. The trees in the rainforest are connected a the top with vines,
so when one commercially valuable tree gets cut down, on average 17 other
non-commercially valuable trees fall down with t. Because of these practices,
the logging industry can eradicate 30 percent of a rainforest where only a few
commercially valuable trees were cut down. At this rat, they will be able to
clear out whole rainforest sin a few years. After the loges themselves destroy
so much rainforest, the roads they leave behind induce the next phase of
rainforest destruction: colonization.
Another major cause of mass rainforest destruction is colonization. Roads
left behind by loggers make the rainforest accessible to farmers looking for a
place to live and grow crops. Farm families clear and burn the remains of the
forest to plant crops to keep and sell. These families clear more land than they
need to show others that they own it and have "developed" it. These colonists
are forced to move to the rainforest because there is no room anywhere else for
them to live.
Most of the land is owned by large corporations, so families feel lucky if
they are fortunate enough to have their own land in the rainforest. Population
growth forces the people to move to the rainforest. Even if farm families can
get their own plot of rainforest land, it is not long before they have to move
again and clear out more rainforest. Rainforest land loses nutrients quickly
after it has been cleared, and it soon becomes eroded and infertile. Since crops
won't grow after this happens, farm families willingly sell the bad land to
commercial companies. These companies then use the acquired land to form large
produce export plantations or cattle ranching: the most destructive form of land
The final major cause of mass rainforest destruction is cattle ranching.
Cattle ranching in the rainforest yields very low amounts of beef, but it is
replacing farming that was more productive.
Cattle ranching yields 91 pounds of beef per acre per year, where as corn
yields 5,000 pounds per acre per year. This is a very inefficient use of the
land, and is also bad for the economy. After five to ten years of mediocre beef
yields; erosion, weeds and loss of fertility force the ranchers to look for more
land. The ranchers keep moving farther into the rainforest and clearing more
land in a big cycle. Also, raising cattle requires less labor, so there are
fewer jobs. The people without jobs are just more people who wan to move to the
rainforest. The land just keeps getting cleared and burned until there is no
The rainforest gives us so much, and has so many possibilities, yet we are
clearing and burning it down. Animals, plants and insects are being eradicated
at the rate of 1,000 species per year. If the rainforest keeps being destroyed
at the current rate, it is 10,000 species will be wiped out per year. If we want
to save the earth, we must start with the rainforests. They are the connection
between man and nature, and if the human race wants to save the planet, the
first step is saving the rainforest. The rainforests are the most valuable
resources we have.