A rainforest can be defined as “a luxurious, dense forest rich in biodiversity found typically in tropical areas with consistently heavy rainfall”. Rather than enhancing the beauty of nature rainforests are important to the world because of their vital role in maintaining the earth’s eco-system. Further, rainforests help to stabilize the world’s climate, provide a home to many plants and animals, maintain the water cycle, protect against flood, drought and erosion, support tribal people and are a source of medicines and food. Therefore, preserving the few rainforests left in the world is undoubtedly important.
Nevertheless, due to the mindless rat race after the development of the world with new science and technology, humans are destroying the rain forests, which are called as the ‘lungs of earth’, without considering the possible alarming outcomes of their acts. For instance, reports reveal that more than 20 percent of the Amazon rainforest – the world’s largest forest – has been destroyed and that much more is severely threatened as the destruction continues. It is also estimated that the Amazon alone is vanishing at a rate of 20 000 square miles a year.
So, now it is high time for the world to cease for a while and ruminate about protecting the “lungs of earth’, the rain forests, before experiencing the daunting outcomes that the disappearance of rain forests will result in. For example, rainforests create about a quarter of the oxygen of the world and without so-called rainforests, there will be much less oxygen in the air, which means that humans cannot survive without rainforests.
Thus, it is necessary that before wiping out rainforests from the world, one should consider the negative outcomes and the importance of rainforests.
First and foremost, rainforests play a practical role in keeping our planet healthy by absorbing carbon dioxide and releasing oxygen that we depend on for our survival. This aids in stabilizing the earth’s climate. And through the process of transpiration which creates clouds rainforests add water to the atmosphere, thereby helping to maintain world’s water cycle. Also, like a huge sponge, rainforests conserve half of earth’s rain water.
In effect, without rainforests there would be more and more droughts, famines and diseases. Consequently, it is really important that we humans stand to preserve rainforests like Amazon rainforest, Congo rainforest and Sinharaja rainforest.
In addition, rainforests claim a high biodiversity while containing about half of the existing plants and animal species in the world. They provide natural habitats to most of the world’s bird species. For instance, in Sri Lanka, out of twelve endemic mammal species of the country, eight are only found in Sinharaja rainforests such as “Giant squirrel”, “badger mongoose” and “torque macaque”, and 19 of Sri Lanka’s endemic bird species are found in Sinharaja rainforest. Incidentally, many threatened species of mammals, reptiles, amphibians and butterflies are found in Sinharaja reserve including the leopard. Hence, in order to protect the biodiversity in the only planet confirmed to host life in the entirety of universe, the rainforests should be carefully protected. It is essential to preserve rainforests to preserve endemic and threatened plant and animal species of the world as well.
Not only that, rainforests are pharmacies that contain tropical forest plants with medicinal values. More than 25% of modern medicines are originated from tropical forest plants and hundreds of rainforest plants are used in modern medicine. Incidentally, rainforests are an underlying, hidden element behind the modern medical field which means in order to maintain a healthy world, we ought to secure the greenish rainforests.
Besides, it is estimated that 80% of the world’s diet originated from rainforest plants and many food sources are still being discovered in rainforests. Thereby, it is really important to safeguard rainforests which are a source of food and water.
Rainforests prevent soil erosion as well. It is worthy noting that soil in rainforests lacks nutrients for the nutrients are stored in numerous trees and plants rather than soil. However, if trees are removed from the forests, nutrients are removed with it. Furthermore, it would cause blockages and floods in lowland rivers and would leave upland rivers dry.
Moreover, many indigenous people find their habitats in rainforests, depending on them for their food, shelter and medicine, Thus, deforestation of rainforests also mean the uprooting of these native people. So, it is important to preserve rainforests.
Nonetheless, despite all these benevolent effects of rainforests, humans continue to destroy them. In a way, logging, agriculture, mining, oil extraction and dam-building can be regarded as direct human causes of deforestation. In other terms, the increasing human population and consumption result in the disappearance of rainforests due to the vast amount of resources, products, and services humans take from them.
All in all, by considering the benefits gained through rainforests and the negative impacts the destruction of rainforests would cause, it is evident that it is quite important to protect rainforests. And in order to save rainforests, the authority may organize awareness programs about the importance of rainforests and about how individuals can support saving rainforests. In addition, we must restore damaged ecosystems by planting trees on land where forests have been cut down and encourage people to live in a way that doesn’t hurt the environment. In other words, it is okay to visit rainforests because they are such interesting places to visit and to do research, but it is indispensable that we only leave our footprints behind without harming the rainforests.
Eventually, I would like to state that the whole globe should stand in unity to preserve the “lungs of the world”; the rainforests which adds a vivid beauty to the earth. So, let us protect the rainforests which protects us!