Understanding the importance of tropical forests is necessary to be aware of the profound damage caused by their destruction and disappearance. In recent decades, the alteration of the main lungs of the Earth is having dire consequences, unfortunately, they have been visible for a long time.
The Amazon Rainforest is one of the largest and most important tropical forests, but it is not the only one. There are more than fifteen forests whose protection is essential for the survival of species and populations around the world.
The reality of what happens in these forests affects us more than we can imagine. Everything on the planet is connected in multiple ways. The oxygen we breathe and the water we drink depends on them.
Now a study published by the Stockholm Resilience Center warns that tropical forests are dying. The process known as “sabanization” begins to be palpable, its consequences? Irreversible.
The importance of tropical forests
Water is synonymous with life and biodiversity. Without it, no species are able to survive beyond a certain time. Did you know that tropical forests are the main creators of the water cycle? A very delicate process that should never be altered.
Tropical forests are responsible for storing and releasing water into the environment. When they register high temperatures, they draw groundwater into the atmosphere, forming clouds that return to the ground as rain. In this way they manage to cool and regulate the planet’s temperature.
Similar is what happens with carbon dioxide. By gathering countless numbers of trees and plants, its absorption capacity is enormous. Thanks to them we can breathe cleaner air and have innumerable benefits thanks to the properties of its large vegetation.
Consequently, tropical forests are homes to the majority of species known to Earth. In fact, its richness is such that it is estimated that “40% to 70% of all living species originate in tropical forests.” Not counting those that we still do not know.
The largest tropical forests on the planet
The Amazon Rainforest is the best known tropical forest. In fact, it is the largest that exists on Earth. To get an idea, it covers 40% of the South American continent and present in 9 countries.
The importance of the Amazon for the planet is substantial. However, being present in so many states has caused its weakening. According to the data collected by NASA, in August the worst number of fires was reached in the Brazilian Amazon: 29,307.
Apart from the Amazon, as we mentioned at the beginning, there are about fifteen more forests whose importance should also be known:
- Congo rain forest
- Valdivian Temperate Humid Forest
- Daintree Rainforest
- Southeast Asian rain forest
- Tongass National Forest
- Kinabalu National Park
- Santa Elena Cloud Forest Reserve
- Sinharaja Forest Reserve
- Pacific Temperate Rainforest
- Sundarbans Research Forest
- Monteverade Forest
- Papua New Guinea
- Sapo National Park rain forest
Why are tropical forests disappearing?
The causes that explain why tropical forests are disappearing are: deforestation, fires and the alteration of soils. Shortly, the action of the human being.
The overpopulation that we live today requires more resources, food and space. Faced with this scarcity, many regions of the world have chosen to sacrifice tropical forests. A feasible solution in the short term but devastating in the long term.
If they continue to disappear at the current rate, the consequences to which they are condemned will be hopeless. As the newspaper El País explains:
“Less rain, more fires, little jungle; Little jungle, more fires, less rain. That is the vicious circle that puts the stability and conservation of the Amazon at risk”.
And remember that without water no living being can survive. Plants, animals and even the human species would disappear.
From jungle to savanna, the future of tropical forests
Can you imagine that one day the Amazon is like the Savannah of Tanzania? That is the future that awaits tropical forests if the current situation is not reversed.
According to the latest study by the specialized institute for the environment, the Stockholm Resilience Center, the countdown has begun. Arie Staal, lead author of the study, explained to El País:
“There are reasons enough to be concerned. If the rainforests change to a degraded state and become savannas, then the original species are lost, less carbon dioxide is stored and less precipitation occurs”.
Without tropical forests, climate change will be even worse. More periods of droughts, fires and floods. Did you know that they are also responsible for retaining moisture in the soils avoiding avalanches in winter?
Given this, scientists insist on the importance of immediately stopping all these destructive human actions.
It is not enough to reforest, each tropical forest is unique and its role in the functioning of the planet, definitely irreplaceable.
For this reason from Rewinder we call you to the revolution, a new present has to be built, we have the opportunity to stop and reverse the situation.
The Rewinder forest grows day by day thanks to you but also, remember, the grain of sand that we individually contribute each day will be the necessary component for a sedimented and strong future on which we can continue as a species and as a planet.