Ranger Report About Deforestation of the Rainforest

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1 Ranger Report About Deforestation of the Rainforest

2 About deforestation Forests are cut down for many reasons, but most of them are related to money or to people s need to provide for their families. The biggest driver of deforestation is agriculture. Farmers cut forests to provide more room for planting crops or grazing livestock. Often, many small farmers will each clear a few acres to feed their families by cutting down trees and burning them in a process known as slash and burn agriculture. Deforestation is brought about by: people; countries; material. conversion of forests and woodlands to agricultural land to feed growing numbers of development of cash crops and cattle ranching, both of which earn money for tropical commercial logging which destroys trees as well as opening up forests for agriculture; felling of trees for pulp (for paper), exotic hardwood for furniture, firewood and building building roads through the forest causing the animals to not be able to migrate. constructing hydroelectric dams which flood upstream forests leading to widespread forest loss. Deforestation doesn t just threaten our climate, it threatens the livelihoods of 1.6 billion people that rely on forests for food and economic activity. Forests also serve as habitats to rare and undiscovered animal and plant species and play a key role in providing water and preventing flooding and erosion.

3 Did you know? The World Resources Institute regards deforestation as one of the world's most pressing land-use problems. An area of forest equal to 20 football or rugby fields is lost every minute. The world s rain forests could completely vanish in a hundred years at the current rate of deforestation. Deforestation also drives climate change. Forest soils are moist, but without protection by sun-blocking tree cover they quickly dry out. The poor soils of the humid tropics do not support agriculture for long. Thus people are often forced to move on and clear more forests in order to maintain production. Removing trees deprives the forest of portions of its canopy, which blocks the sun s rays during the day and holds in heat at night. This disruption leads to more extreme temperature swings that can be harmful to plants and animals.

4 Effects of Deforestation Soil Erosion: The first effect that could be seen after significant depletion of forests is soil erosion. The roots of the trees hold the soil together. No trees means no beneficial soil. Ground Water Table: The water holding capacity of the soil also gets reduced when there are no trees. This is because the quality of the soil gets affected when it cannot stay in one place due to erosion. If the soil is not able to retain water, then obviously the ground water levels will be reduced. Depletion of Biodiversity: If there is no shelter, then there is no reason for animals to stay in that area. Forests provide shelter to animals. Deforestation takes away their shelter. Floods: Trees provide major obstructions to flowing water, thus allowing it to percolate. Every cut tree contributes to water not percolating into the ground, which collectively cause floods. Floods result in major wastage of usable water. Drought: If all the water is going away in the form of floods, or even in the form of evaporation (which, by the way, is increased in deforested areas), there won't be any water left for usage. Lack of usable water will invariably lead to drought.

5 The Disappearing Rainforests Referenced from rain-tree.com 1. We are losing Earth's greatest biological treasures just as we are beginning to appreciate their true value. Rainforests once covered 14% of the earth's land surface; now they cover a mere 6% and experts estimate that the last remaining rainforests could be consumed in less than 40 years. 2. One and one-half acres of rainforest are lost every second with tragic consequences for both developing and industrial countries. 3. Rainforests are being destroyed because the value of rainforest land is perceived as only the value of its timber by short-sighted governments, multi-national logging companies, and land owners. 4. Nearly half of the world's species of plants, animals and microorganisms will be destroyed or severely threatened over the next quarter century due to rainforest deforestation. 5. Experts estimate that we are losing 137 plant, animal and insect species every single day due to rainforest deforestation. That equates to 50,000 species a year. As the rainforest species disappear, so do many possible cures for life-threatening diseases. Currently, 121 prescription drugs sold worldwide come from plant-derived sources. While 25% of Western pharmaceuticals are derived from rainforest ingredients, less that 1% of these tropical trees and plants have been tested by scientists. 6. Most rainforests are cleared by chainsaws, bulldozers and fires for its timber value and then are followed by farming and ranching operations, even by world giants like Mitsubishi Corporation, Georgia Pacific, Texaco and Unocal. 7. There were an estimated ten million Indians living in the Amazonian rainforest five centuries ago. Today there are less than 200, In Brazil alone, European colonists have destroyed more than 90 indigenous tribes since the 1900's. With them have gone centuries of accumulated knowledge of the medicinal value of rainforest species. As their homelands continue to be destroyed by deforestation, rainforest peoples are also disappearing. 9. Most medicine men and shamans remaining in the rainforests today are 70 years old or more. Each time a rainforest medicine man dies, it is as if a library has burned down.

6 What can be done? The quickest solution to deforestation would be to simply stop cutting down trees. Learn about companies that aren t doing the right things. For example: YUM! Brand companies like KFC have been shown buying commodities linked to rainforest destruction in Indonesia, a country that broke the world record for deforestation in recent years. This is not only driving endangered wildlife like orangutans and Sumatran tigers towards extinction, it is causing huge amounts of climate pollution. Indonesia is now the world's third largest greenhouse gas polluter after China and the U.S. Making things worse, much of this forest destruction is linked to illegal activities and social conflict. These things don't belong in your products. Many other companies, including Nestle, Kraft, Kimberly-Clark and Unilever, have taken action to avoid forest destruction in Indonesia. As the world's largest fast-food company it is critical that YUM! Brands do the same. Together, all of us, must work together to stop the deforestation of the rainforest! It is for the health of every individual on the planet Earth. There are some steps that you can take Use less paper. Use less wood. Replant native trees where you live. The number of new tree plantations is growing each year, but their total still equals a tiny fraction of the Earth s forested land. Recycle so less material must be created for products. Support organizations that are fighting rainforest deforestation. Stop buying from companies that encourage rainforest destruction Sign petitions, get involved, support elected officials who will commit to helping preserve the forests. Volunteer at wildlife sancutaries Conserve water, electricity. Everybody using less puts less demand on the environment.

7 TEST YOUR KNOWLEDGE 1. True or false: Deforestation is good for humans. 2. How many species of plants and animals are lost to deforestation each day? A B C - 1, What percentage of Western medicines are derived from rainforest plants? A - 1 B - 25 C What are the effects of deforestation in the rainforest? Pick all that apply A - soil erosion B - floods C - drought D depletion of biodiversity 5. True or false: You can take steps to help stop deforestation. ANSWERS 1. False 2. B 3. B 4. A / B / C / D 5. True

8 COLORING ACTIVITY

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