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The Rainforest

Home | Introduction | Where are the worlds Rainforest? | What are Rainforests like? | Indigenous People | Tourism | Disappearing??? | Conclusion | Bibliography

Why are the Rainforests disappearing?

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 shocking 6%,  experts estimate that the last remaining rainforests could be destroyed in less than 40 years.
One and one-half acres of rainforest are lost every second with bad consequences.
Rainforests are being destroyed because the value of rainforest land is seen as only the value of its timber by multi-national logging companies, and land owners.
Nearly half of the world's species of plants, animals and micro-organisms will be destroyed or badly threatened over the next quarter century due to Rainforest deforestation.
Experts estimates that we are losing 137 plant, animal and insect species every single day due to rainforest deforestation. That means up to 50,000 species a year.
As the rainforest species disappear, so do many possible cures for life-threatening diseases. At the moment, 121 prescription drugs sold world-wide come from plant sources. While 25% of Western pharmaceuticals are come from rainforest ingredients, less that 1% of these tropical trees and plants have been tested by scientists.
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.
There were an estimated ten million Indians living in the Amazonian Rainforest five centuries ago. Today there are less than 200,000.
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 the tribal home grounds continue to be destroyed by deforestation, rainforest peoples are also disappearing.
Most medicine men and shamans remaining in the Rainforests today are 70 years old or more. Each time a Rainforest medicine man dies so does the knowledge dies with them.