Destruction of Rain Forest Essay

This essay has a total of 1213 words and 5 pages.

Destruction of Rain Forest

"In every sense, a standing rain forest supplies more economic wealth than if it were
cleared … yet deforestation continues at an alarming rate." (Tropical Rain Forest
Coalition, 1996). Rain Forests have played a significant role in shaping modern biology.
The destruction of the rain forests will determine the fate of all species humans plants
and animals. Many people do not understand the long- term consequences of losing the
earth's rain forests. They have provided all living beings with many natural resources and
medicines. Their complete destruction will affect all living conditions due to the
influence they have on the climate around the world. Traditionally though, there are three
major causes of the destruction to the rain forests: logging, farming and ranching.

For years rain forests have provided countries around the world with valuable resources,
such as plants for medicine, energy, and minerals. First of all, in America, one fourth of
all drugs prescribed have originated from rain forests. SP-303 is a compound extracted
from a plant found in South America. Two products have been derived from this compound:
Provir and Virend. Provir helps treat respiratory infections in children, while Virend is
a topical ointment used to treat the herpes simplex virus. Another product from medicinal
plants includes elements that treat addictive painkillers. (Refer to appendix 1) Secondly,
in Brazil alone, the rain forest contains 45% of Brazil's hydroelectric power ("In the
Forest"). Thirdly, the soils of the tropical rain forest are typically nutrient poor; all
of the nutrients are held in the living organisms. The warm, moist conditions in the
forest are ideal for the decomposers breaking down the remains of dead organisms. This
quick decay returns the carbon and oxygen in the decomposing material to the air, and
returns nitrogen, phosphorous, calcium, and other minerals to the soil. (Refer to appendix
2) In the soil, a thick mat of plant roots and root almost immediately take up the
minerals like fungi know as Mycorrhizae ("World Of Biology"). Any nutrients in the soil
would be swiftly drifted away by the heavy rainfall. The soils in many areas of the
tropical rain forests are laterite soils. These soils are reddish in colour and contain
high levels of aluminium and iron, and resist leaching. Nutrients from decomposing
organisms are found throughout the rain forest, not only in soil but also in trees. All of
them are considered a backbone in today's world. (Refer to appendix 3)

Moreover, the trees of the rain forest store things other than minerals such as carbon
dioxide, in their roots, stems, branches and leaves. The trees also provide fresh air and
release oxygen. This helps fight pollution and even gives out oxygen necessary for human
life. Rain forests receive more than 200 days of rain per year, or as much as 240 inches
of water. (Refer to appendix 4) They are characterised by thousands and even millions of
plants and trees growing dense over the land, which soak up rainwater from the soil and
return it to the air through transpiration. At least half of that water then falls back
down onto the forest as it rains again. Hence, most rain forests are located in the
central region of the earth, near the equator, where temperatures range from 70-90°C or
warmer. When a forest is burned large quantities of carbon dioxide are released from the
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