Rainforest2 Essay

This essay has a total of 5890 words and 20 pages.

rainforest2




The Tropical Rainforests of the World In this term paper, I will explain the great
importance of the tropical Rainforests around the world and discuss the effects of the
tragedy of rainforest destruction and the effect that it is having on the earth. I will
talk about the efforts being made to help curb the rate of rainforest destruction and the
peoples of the rainforest, and I will explore a new topic in the fight to save the
rainforest, habitat fragmentation. Another topic being discussed is the many different
types of rainforest species and their uniqueness from the rest of the world. First, I will
discuss the many species of rare and exotic animals, Native to the Rainforest. Tropical
Rainforests are home to many of the strangest looking and most beautiful, largest and
smallest, most dangerous and least frightening, loudest and quietest animals on earth.
There are many types of animals that make their homes in the rainforest some of them
include: jaguars, toucans, parrots, gorillas, and tarantulas. There are so many
fascinating animals in tropical rainforest that millions have not even identified yet. In
fact, about half of the world’s species have not even been identified yet. But
sadly, an average of 35 species of rainforest animals are becoming extinct every day. So
many species of animals live in the rainforest than any other parts of the world because
rainforests are believed to be the oldest ecosystem on earth. Some forests in southeast
Asia have been around for at least 100 million years, ever since the dinosaurs have roamed
the earth. During the ice ages, the last of which occurred about 10,000 years ago, the
frozen areas of the North and South Poles spread over much of the earth, causing huge
numbers of extinctions. But the giant freeze did not reach many tropical rainforests.
Therefore, these plants and animals could continue to evolve, developing into the most
diverse and complex ecosystems on earth. The nearly perfect conditions for life also help
contribute to the great number of species. With temperatures constant at about 75-80
degrees Fahrenheit the whole year, the animals don’t have to worry about freezing
during the cold winters or finding hot shade in the summers. They rarely have to search
for water, as rain falls almost every day in tropical rainforests. Some rainforest species
have populations that number in the millions. Other species consist of only a few dozen
individuals. Living in limited areas, most of these species are found nowhere else on
earth. For example, the maues marmoset, a species of monkey, wasn’t discovered until
recently. It’s entire tiny population lives within a few square miles in the Amazon
rainforest. This species of monkey is so small that it could fit into a persons hand! In a
rainforest, it is difficult to see many things other than the millions of insects creeping
and crawling around in every layer of the forest. Scientists estimate that there are more
than 50 million different species of invertebrates living in rainforests. A biologist
researching the rainforest found 50 different of ants on a single tree in Peru! A few
hours of poking around in a rainforest would produce several insects unknown to science.
The constant search for food , water, sunlight and space is a 24-hour pushing and shoving
match. With this fierce competition, it is amazing that that so many species of animals
can all live together. But this is actually the cause of the huge number of the different
species. The main secret lies in the ability of many animals to adapt to eating a specific
plant or animal, which few other species are able to eat. An example of such adaptations
would be the big beaks of the toucans and parrots. Their beaks give them a great advantage
over other birds with smaller beaks. The fruits and nuts from many trees have evolved with
a tough shell to protect them from predators. In turn toucans and parrots developed large,
strong beaks, which serves as a nutcracker and provides them with many tasty meals. Many
animal species have developed relationships with each other that benefit both species.
Birds and mammal species love to eat the tasty fruits provided by trees. Even fish living
in the Amazon River rely on the fruits dropped from forest trees. In turn, the fruit trees
depend upon these animals to eat their fruit, which helps them to spread their seeds to
far - off parts of the forest. In some cases both species are so dependent upon each other
that if one becomes extinct, the other will as well. This nearly happened with trees that
relied on the now extinct dodo birds. They once roamed Mauritius, a tropical island
located in the Indian Ocean. They became extinct during the late 19th century when humans
overhunted them. The calvaria tree stopped sprouting seeds soon after. Scientists finally
concluded that, for the seeds of the calvaria tree to sprout, they needed to be digested
by the dodo bird. By force feeding the seeds to a domestic turkey, who digested the seeds
the same way as the dodo bird, the trees were saved. Unfortunately, humans will not be
able to save each species in this same way. Each species has evolved with its own set of
unique adaptations, ways of helping them to survive. Every animal has the ability to
protect itself from being someone’s next meal. To prevent the extinction of a
species each and every species must develop a defense tactic. The following are just a few
of Mother Nature’s tricks. · CAMOFLAGE The coloring of some animals acts as
protection from their predators. Insects play some of the best hide-and-go-seek in the
forest. The “walking stick” is one such insect; it blends in so well with the
palm tree it calls its home that no one would notice unless it’s moved. Some
butterflies, when they close their wings, look exactly like leaves. Camouflage also works
in reverse, helping predators, such as boa constrictors, sneak up on unsuspecting animals
and surprise them. · SLOW AS A SNAIL The tree-toed sloth is born with brown fur, but you
would never know this by looking at it. The green algae that makes its home in the sloths
fur helps it to blend in with the tops of the trees, the canopy, where it makes it’s
home. But even green algae isn't the only thing living in a sloth’s fur; it is
literally “bugged” with a variety of insects. 978 beetles were once found
living on one sloth. The sloth has other clever adaptations. Famous for its snail-like
pace; it is one of the slowest moving animals on earth. It is so slow that it often takes
up to a month to digest it’s food. Although its tasty meat would make a good meal
for jaguars and other predators, most do not notice the sloth as it hangs in the trees,
high up in the canopy. · DEADLY CREATURES Other animals don’t want to announce their
presence to the whole forest. Armed with dangerous poisons used in life threatening
situations, their bright colors warn predators to stay away. This enables them to survive
everyday emergency situations. The coral snake of the Amazon, with its brilliant red,
yellow, and black coloring, is recognized as one of the most beautiful snakes in the
world, but it is just as deadly as it is beautiful. The coral snake’s deadly poison
can kill in seconds. Other animals know to stay away from it. The poison arrow frog also
stands out with its brightly colored skin. It's skin produces some of the strongest
natural poison in the world, which indigenous people often use for hunting purposes. It's
poison is now being tested for use in modern medicine. In a single raiforest habitat,
several species of squirels can live together without harming one another. This bewilders
many people, Louise Emmons found. Why can nine species of squirrels live together? Well,
in a brief summary each of the nine species is a different size; three have specialized
diets or habitats, which leaves six species that feed on nuts, fruits and insects, and so
potentially compete for food. A closer look showed that three of the six, a large, a
medium, and a small one live in the forest canopy and never come to the ground. The
largest squirrel feeds mainly on very large, hard nuts, and the smaller ones eat smaller
fruits and nuts. The other three species, again a large medium and small one live in the
ground and eat fruits and nuts of the same species as their canopy neighbors, but only
after they fall to the ground. Tropical rainforests are bursting with life. Not only do
millions of species of plants and animals live in rainforests, but many people also call
the rainforest their home. In fact, Indigenous, or native, people have lived in
rainforests for thousands of years. In North and South America they were mistakenly named
Indians by Christopher Columbus, who thought that he had landed in Indonesia, then called
the East Indies. The native people of the rainforest live very different lives than us. In
this section, I will explain how very different our lives differ than from the indigenous
people of the rainforest. Although many indigenous people live very much like we do, some
still live as their ancestors did many years before them. These groups organize their
daily lives differently than our culture. Everything they need to survive, from food to
medicines to clothing, comes from the forest. · FOOD Besides haunting, gathering wild
fruits and nuts and fishing, Indigenous people also plant small gardens for other sources
of food, using a sustainable farming method called shifting cultivating. First they clear
a small area of land and burn it. Then they plant many types of plants, to be used for
food and medicines. After a few years, the soil has become too poor to allow for more
crops to grow and weeds to start to take over. So they then move to a nearby uncleared
area. This land is traditionally allowed to regrow 10-50 years before it is farmed again.
Shifting cultivation is still practiced by those tribes who have access to a large amount
of land. However, with the growing number of non-Indigenous farmers and the shrinking
rainforest, other tribes, especially in Indonesia and Africa, are now forced to remain in
one area. The land becomes a wasteland after a few years of overuse, and cannot be used
for future agriculture. · EDUCATION Most tribal children don’t go to schools like
ours. Instead, they learn about the forest around them from their parents and other people
in the tribe. They are taught how to survive in the forest. They learn how to hunt and
fish, and which plants are useful as medicines or food. Some of these children know more
about rainforests than scientists who have studied rainforests for many years. The group
of societies known as Europeans includes such cultures such as Spanish and German.
Similarly, the broad group, Indigenous peoples includes many distinct culture groups, each
with its own traditions. For instance, plantains (a type of banana) are a major food
source for the Yanonami from the Amazon while the Penan of Borneo, Southeast Asia, depend
on the sago palm (a type of palm tree) for food and other uses. All Indigenous people
share their strong ties to the land. Because the rainforest is so important for their
culture, they want to take care of it. They want to live what is called a sustainable
existence, meaning they use the land without doing harm to the plants and animals that
also call the rainforest their home. As a wise Indigenous man once said, “The earth
is our historian, our educator, the provider of food, medicine, clothing and protection.
She is the mother of our races.”(11) Indigenous peoples have been losing their lives
and the land they live on ever since Europeans began colonizing 500 years ago. Most of
them died from common European diseases which made Indigenous people very sick because
they had never had these diseases before. A disease such as the flu could possibly kill an
indigenous person because he/she has not been exposed to this disease before. Many
Indigenous groups have also been killed by settlers wanting their land, or put to work as
slaves to harvest the resources of the forest. Others were converts to Christianity by
missionaries, who forced them to live like Europeans and give up their cultural
traditions. Until about forty years ago, the lack of roads prevented most outsiders from
exploiting the rainforest. These roads, constructed for timber and oil companies, cattle
ranchers and miners, have destroyed millions of acres each year. All of the practices
force Indigenous people off their land. Because they do not officially own it, governments
and other outsiders do not recognize their rights to the land. They have no other choice
but to move to different areas, sometimes even to the crowded cities. They often live in
poverty because they have no skills useful for a city lifestyle and little knowledge about
the culture. For example, they know more about gathering food from the forest than buying
food from a store. It’s like being forced to move to a different country, where you
knew nothing about the culture or language. Indigenous groups are beginning to fight for
their land, most often through peaceful demonstrations. Such actions may cause them to be
arrested or even to lose their lives, but they know that if they take no action, their
land and culture could be lost forever. Kaypo Indians, for example, recently spoke to the
United States Congress to protest the building of dams in the Amazon, and were arrested
when they arrived back in Brazil, accused of being traitors to their own country. In
Malaysia, the Penean have arrested for blocking logging roads. Many people living outside
of rainforests went to help protect the Indigenous people’s culture. They understand
that Indigenous people have much to teach us about rainforests. Since we (the US and other
countries) have been working with the Indigenous People and other rainforest protection
agencies, we have learned many things about the forest, including it’s ecology,
medicinal plants, food and other products. It has also showed us how crucial it is for the
Indigenous people of the rainforest to continue their daily and traditional activities
because of their importance in the cycle if the rainforest. It has shown us that they have
the right to practice their own lifestyle, and live upon the land where there ancestors
have lived before them. (2) One such example of a invasion of the Ingenious people’s
privacy is a new so called “emergency” called the Cofan Emergency. This
dispute is about an Indigenous tribe called the Cofan. Historically, the Cofan occupied
some half a million acres of rainforest along the Aguarico River in the Ecuadorian Amazon.
Because their traditional territory has been significantly reduced through invasions by
oil companies such as Texaco, the Cofan now live in five small, discontinuous communities.
However, they still utilize and protect a region of about 250,000 acres, including two
reserves in the Amazon. In addition to displacing the Cofan and other indigenous groups,
oil development, which began in this region over thirty years ago, has also caused serious
environmental destruction. The deforestation of some two million acres of rainforest and
contamination of the regions waterways has resulted in the loss of plant and animal
diversity, and drastically affected the social and economic well-being of local Indigenous
peoples. This devastation continues. Last year, ten new concessions were licensed to
international oil companies in the Ecuadorian Amazon, opening an additional five million
acres of forest to oil development. One of these oil blocks, Block 11 awarded to the
US-based Santa Fe Energy, lies within Cofan territory and will directly affect at least
three communities. In order to protect the remaining intact rainforest areas of their
homeland and the adjacent ecological reserves, the Cofan are seeking $5,000 to purchase an
outboard motor and a video camera, in order to coordinate between disperse communities and
document the destruction caused by oil development. Cofan leaders plan to work with their
communities and document the destruction caused by oil development. Also they planned to
work with their communities to organize against further environmental destruction by the
oil companies. This grant will also cover for legal costs to demarcate the Cofan community
lands. In the next section of this term paper, I will be discussing a subject relating to
the rainforest called habitat fragmentation. Fragmentation of a habitat, by its very
nature, reduces the total amount of area of the original habitat type. Two researchers,
Ann Keller and John Anderson suggest that the absolute habitat loss of pristine habitat
and the reduced density of resources associated with fragmentation potentially impacts the
biota (the plant and animal life of a region) more than any single factor. Habitat
fragmentation affects the flora and fauna (plants and animals) of a given ecosystem by
replacing a naturally occurring ecosystem with a human-dominated landscape which may be
inhospitable to a certain number of the original species. However, in direct contrast to
the ocean as a geographic barrier, the human landscape matrix is typically accessible to
plants and animals, in that they are able to easily disperse across it, if not reside in
it. On the other hand, the human landscape may directly contribute to the extinction of
species by slanting the ecosystem balance of species which are highly adaptable to
changing conditions. For example, the increased amount of human-dominated landscape allows
certain species to grow phenomenally, which can result in harm to species which rely
exclusively on very scarce areas . A commonly referred to example of this is a bird called
the brown-headed cowbird. This bird is best characterized as a “nest parasite”
because it because it replaces the eggs of another species with eggs of their own ,
allowing the other species to incubate and raise their young. Their increased numbers have
had negative effects on the reproductive successfulness of many forest-dwelling birds. In
addition to titling the ecosystem balance in favor of species which are highly adaptable,
the loss of habitat associated with habitat fragmentation may simply cause the other, less
adaptable species rates to decline. A man named James Saunders documents one remarkable
example of how changing large expansive areas of the birds of the wheatbelt of western
Australlia as a result of fragmentation. He showed that 41% of the birds native to the
region have decreased in range or abundance since the 1900’s and indicated that
almost all of these changes resulted directly from habitat fragmentation and the decline
in abundance of native vegetation. Although some species have increased in abundance, he
noted that many more species have been adversely affected than have benefited.
Continues for 10 more pages >>




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