Imagine a place full of trees; green beyond the eye can see. Bright colored birds flying around, singing high above you. A jaguar lying on a branch, sloths dozing in the vegetation, dolphins swimming along in the river. This place might seem like a scene from a fairytale, but it is a real place. That is the rainforest, home to about half of the world's wildlife, and it's in danger, but there is still hope to save it!
Although most of the oxygen that we breathe in is from microorganisms in the ocean, rainforests still play a vital role in providing us with fresh air. They are responsible for 20% of the oxygen that we breathe in and they clean our atmosphere, taking in 20% of carbon dioxide emissions annually. 20% of our carbon dioxide might not seem like very much, but when you consider that global CO2 emissions are 36 billion tons annually, that means that the rainforests are removing over 7 billions tons of carbon dioxide every year (that's more than the US's annual emissions)!
A canopy of trees overhead, plants growing along the forest floor, animals running around or swinging through the tress, and so many other wonders are found in these amazing habitats! Rainforests are a great place to visit where you can explore the area by foot, watching the animals where they belong. Or maybe you can camp out there and enjoy the splendor of nature even longer. You can even go rafting or kayaking along a river or in a lake where you'll find a variety of aquatic creatures!
Rainforests are full of biodiversity, being home to an estimated 30 to 50 million plant and animal species! In the Amazon rainforest alone, there are at least 427 mammal, 1,300 bird, 378 reptile, 400 amphibian, and 3,000 freshwater fish species, as well as 40,000 plant species! It is estimated that 1 in 10 of the world's species can be found in the Amazon rainforest! Animals found in rainforests include jaguars, orangutans, harpy eagles, pink river dolphins, poison dark frogs, and many more wonderful creatures!
Home to Endangered Species
Many endangered species are found in rainforests, leaving these magical places as the only home that they have left. Orangutans, once found throughout southeast Asia, are now only found in the rainforests of Borneo and Sumatra. In Borneo there are about 41,000 individuals and about 7,500 in Sumatra, these being the last wild orangutans on Earth!
They are in Danger!
Rainforests are home to many endangered species, but the rainforests themselves are also in danger. Logging, cattle grazing, mining, pollution, and hunting include some of the threats that rainforests around the world are facing. Chemicals used on crops near the forests kill pollinators that are critical to helping the plants thrive. Water pollution harms both plant and animal life, as does littler both on land and in waterways. Pollution all over the world is also resulting in acid rain which makes its way into rainforests, harming wildlife there. Land is also cleared to make room for cattle grazing, killing all plant life that was previously there, killing many animals in the process, and reducing the animals' habitat. In Sumatra and Indonesia, similar clearing of the land for palm oil production is killing animals such as pygmy elephants, orangutans, and Sumatran tigers which can only be found in that region!
What you can do
Even though you might not live in the rainforest or anywhere near it, there are still plenty of things that we can do to help save it. We can reduce our carbon footprint (being vegan reduces your carbon footprint by approximately 74%) , boycott palm oil, make sure our products are sustainable and urge those that aren't to become sustainable, buy organic products, make sure that our litter is properly disposed of, use recycled materials, etc. There are so many things that we can do to help save our rainforests!
Rainforests are truly magical places, with many unique features, they are home to many wonderful creatures and vital to our survival. They are in danger however, but luckily, there is still hope if we all do our part to save them!
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