Interesting facts about the rainforests

March 23, 2012 | In: Nature Facts

rainforest facts

The rainforests are the world’s oldest living ecosystems. They contain half of the planet’s plant and animal species, with approximately 30 million species. The rainforest can be described as a dense, very tall jungle. The term rain comes from the abundance of water these forests get throughout the year.

Another problem that comes along with the global warming is the reduced surface of the planet’s rainforests. 100 years ago, the rainforests covered 14% of the earth’s surface. Now, the surface covered by rainforests consists only in 6%. If things continue at this rate, biologists say that in 40 years the rainforests will disappear.

The experts estimate that every day, the ecosystem loses 137 species of plant, animal and insects. Add that up, and you’ll get 50,000 species dead in only one year.

The inhabitants of the Amazonian rainforests were the same that lived in America centuries ago. The number of Indians living in rainforests 300 years ago was 10,000,000. Now, there are only 200,000 of them. The rainforest grows a number of 3000 types of fruits, from which Indians use 2000, and the western world, 300.

Here are some interesting facts about The Lungs of the Earth, that show us the importance they have in the natural chain, and how much the planet loses if it doesn’t manage them properly:
•    A single lake in Brazil can sustain more species of plants and animals than all the rivers in Europe, combined.
•    A 25 acre forest in Brazil has a biodiversity of 700 species of trees. The United States of America has fewer than that.
•    The number of fish in the Amazon River is bigger than the number in the Atlantic Ocean.
•    An average tree in Peru holds 40 species of ants, equal to the number of ants we can find all across The British Isles.
•    The experts agree that the rainforests have a much bigger value if their pharmaceutical value is exploited, rather than cutting of its trees. Here are some numbers: if the trees are chopped, the owner gets 400$; if he converts the land to cattle operations yields, he gets 60$. And last, but not least, if these renewable and sustainable resources are harvested, the land will give its owner almost 2500$. You make the difference.

We talked a little about the Amazon. But why is the Amazon River so important? Well, it is known that this river is the biggest in the world, covering 6 million square miles, more than two thirds of all the fresh water in the world. No wonder the biodiversity is so high. In a single hectare (2.47 acres), we’re likely to find 900 tons of plants, 750 species of trees, 1500 of other plants and 300 insects. Of the millions and millions of species that can be found in the rainforest, human kind only registered 420,000 of them.

The rainforests are also known as the Pharmacy of the World, providing more than 10,000 species of plants for the scientists to study on. The only possible cures for leukemia is an extract from the plant known as the Madagascar Periwinkle, threaten to be extinct in the coming years, due to the heavy deforestation in Madagascar. This plant increased the chance of surviving for children from 20 to 80 percent. It’s 4 times bigger!

No one can say that we’re not dependent on plants in our every day life. So the next time we buy some drugs that actually save our lives, we should think that we also have a moral duty in keeping the rainforests alive.

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