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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

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

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. 
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.
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. 
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

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
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. 
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
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
Importantly, the species that typically increase in
abundance or range when habit fragmentation occurs are
those which are adapted for being adaptable. In other
words, their resource needs can be met by a variety of
conditions, and thus often by human activities by reducing
their competition with other species. Because of this,
these species which benefit by human activities are not the
ones we need to manage for and protect. Instead, we need to
protect those species which are adapted solely for survival
in the rapidly disappearing unfragmented habitat.
Besides physically changing a part of the original habitat,
decreasing the size of the original habitat can reduce the
biological diversity of an area in several ways. Reducing
biodiversity of an area may occur if habitat fragments are
smaller than the home range of the animal with the largest
home range that existed within the intact ecosystem. Many
birds have large home ranges because they require patchily
distributed resources. For example, one breeding pair of
ivory billed woodpeckers require five to six square miles
of undisturbed contiguous bottomland forest, and a single
European goshawk requires twenty to forty-five miles for
his home range.
If a habitat fragment exists that is smaller than the
minimum area required by a given species, individuals of
that species will not likely be found within that habitat
fragment. For example, the Louisiana waterthrush is rarely
found in small woodlots because they require open water
within their home range, and most small woodlots do not
have year-round streams or ponds. If a species requires two
or more habitat types, they are often susceptible to local
extinction due to habitat fragmentation, because often they
are unable to freely move between the different habitat
types. The blue-grey gnathatcher moves from decidous
woodland to chapparral (a warm area) during the breeding
season, and if one of the two habitat types can not be
readily accesed, they are very susceptable to local

Loss of any species from a community may have secondary
effects that revrberate throughout the ecosystem. For
example, loss of a top predator from an area because the
fragment is too small can cause numbers of small omnivores
to increase, which in turn may cause excessive predation
pressureon songbird eggs and hatchlings, ultimately
resulting in reproductive sucess. 

Tropical communities are oftem more susceptable to loss of
biological diversity than temperate communuities, because
tropical species typically are found in lower densities,
are less widely distributed, and often have weaker
dispersal capabilities. Many tropical species have evolved
in that they have changed their roles that they play in the
rainforest. An example of this occurance is the cassowary,
an Austrailan rainforest frugivore, (or an animal that
primarily feeds on fruit) is extremely susceptable to local
extinction by habitat fragmentation because its habitat
requirement of large coniguous rainforest areas is
compounded by its unique plant-seed despersal evolvment.
This large, flightless bird wanders nomadically in search
of very large seeds, many of which need to be digested
before they will germanate. You'lll rember that earlier
another example of this situation in which the dodo bird
became extinct. The dodo bird digested seeds of the
calvaria tree. But when the dodo bird became extinct due to
overhunting by humans, the calvaria tree, which made the
seeds to be digested by the dodo bird to sprout it's plants
started not to sprout seeds. In the Rainforests, their are
many such instances like this. But unfortunately, many of
them go unnoticed and thus, each day many of the rainforest
plants and animals go extinct.
Besides being home to extinction-prone species, tropical
communities are prone to destruction and fragmentation
because of their physical location, overlapping with the
geographical birders of the third world nations. In these
nations, citizens often rely on the revenues raised from
rainforest timber or cattle raised on cleared land for
survival. This constant pressure on rainforest communities
leads to excessive habitat fragmentation. Small isolated
fragments result, leading to an altered ecosystem balance.
On the tropical island of Java, where almost all of the
original habitat remaining exists in reserves, a group of
ecologists have assessed the status of all of the birds of
prey found in the rainforest habitat. Nearly all the
raptors were extremely rare outside the reserves, as
expected. They also found that the larger the reserve was,
the denser the birds populations were within the reserve.
Interestingly, a scientist named Lovejoy (I couldn't find
his first name) in 1986 found a similar phenomena with
Amazonian birds in the Biological Dynamics of forest
project (BDFF) in Brazil. The primary goal of the project
is to discover how rainforest communities respond after an
intact ecosystem is split into different size fragments.
They found a crowding effect, in which the abundance of
birds in a forest fragment increased significantly directly
after deforestation of the adjacent area. The increased
number of birds was attributed to the migration of birds
from the newly clear-cut area to the forest fragment. This
crowding effect decreased with increasing size of a forest

Both tropical and temperate communities, however, are prone
to the same problems of inbreeding and loss of genetic
variability, which results from isolating subpopulations of
plants and animals from each other due to habitat
fragmentation. If too large a distance exists between two
fragments and a species are unable to disperse across the
area in between, the population is essentially divided.
Inbreeding may result if the subpopulation in a given
fragment is small. This has not been directly documented,
but it is possible.
Size of a fragment and the amount of edge are inextricably
linked. Abrupt edges often results form fragmenting and
ecosystem, in contrast to the more gradual natural
ecotones. Edge positively impacts many species of plants
and animals, but as mentioned previously, the species which
benefit typically are those which do not require human
protection and management because they can easily meet
their resource need outside of the intact ecosystem. The
scientists from the BDFF project point out one exception.
Tamarins and marmosets, both species in need of protection
, flourish in small tropical rainforest reserves because of
the luxurian growth of early successional plant species,
and the lack of large predators which are unable to exist
in the smaller reserves. Certainly , a system of only small
reserves would not suffice to protect the genetic heritage
of biological diversity in the tropical rainforest, but a
heterogeneous mosaic of large and small reserves may
provide the best alternative.
Although edge has typically been associated with an
increase in species richness, researchers are increasingly
documenting how edge effects negatively impact the native
plants and animals. The BDFF researchers pointed out that
although the number of species may be higher in edge that
the adjacent interior habitat, species diversity is usually
not. Diversity takes into account not only raw number of
species, but the relative abundance of the species present.
Another potentially adverse effect of edge is that it
inherently reduces the size of the habitat interior because
of the many physical changes which occur where and edge is
compared to a human dominated area. Most documented cases
of edge effects are from forest edges, so I will focus on
them. In addition to the luxuriant growth of
shade-intolerant vegetation at a forest edge in response to
the increase in available light, a "seed rain" bombards the
forest interior, often from introduced exotics. The
increased exposure to wind causes a higher rate of
treefalls and tree mortality, and temperature and humidity
are quite different at the edge than in the forest
interior. These physical changes affect the plants and
animals of the habitat. Lovejoy and others, in the BDFF
project in Brazil, found that the understory birds tend to
avoid artificial edges. They found 38% fewer birds 10
meters from clearing than 50 meters into the forest, and
60% fewer birds 10 meters from a clearing than 1 km into
undisturbed forest. An interesting item is that they did
not find a lower abundance of birds around natural edges,
such as interior treefall gaps.
Several authors that I have read have suggested that the
abundance of birds decreases near an artificial edge due to
decreased Nest success. Nest success near edge decreased
because of the increase in generalist predators and brood
parasites. As mentioned earlier, populations of
brown-headed cowbirds, a brood parasite, have increased
tremendously as a direct result of human activity, these
birds have a negative impact on the nesting success of
forest songbirds that nest near the forest edge. Studies
show that while vegetational changes may extend from
300-600 meters into a fragment. This makes sense when one
considers that although generalist predators such as
raccoons, cowbirds, and chipmunks may concentrate their
activity near the edge, they certainly also can frequent
the forest interior, often to the damage of those species
which rely exclusively on forest interior.
To reduce how far edge effects penetrate into a natural
habitat, a biologist Bernard Harris, proposed a system of
long-rotation islands, in which and old-growth center is
surrounded by various age stands of timber. This system
provides some edge for those species which benefit from it,
while minimizing the amount of edge between the old-growth
center stand and the surrounding stands.
Now, to the final section of this term paper, the role that
environmentalists play and some of the reasons that they
are trying to save it. 

Rainforests cover less that two percent of the Earth's
surface, yet they are home to some 40 to 50 percent of all
life forms on our planet, as many as 30 million species of
plants, animals, and insects. The Rainforests are quite
simply, the richest, oldest, most productive, and most
complex ecosystems on Earth. As biologist Norman Meyers
notes, "Rainforests are the finest celebration of nature as
ever known on the planet, and never before has nature's
greatest orchestration been so threatned."(4)
His quote is quite true. The following facts listed are
direct proof of how the Tropical Rainforests are being

Global Rates of Destruction
2.4 acres per second: equivalent to two U.S. football fields
149 acres per minute
214,000 acres per day: an area larger than New York City 

78 million acres per year: an area larger than Poland
In Brazil
5.4 million acres per year
6-9 million indigenous people inhabited the Brazilian
rainforest in 1500. In
1992, less than 200,000
Species Extinction 

Distinguished scientists estimate and average of 137
species of life forms are driven into extinction every day
or 50,000 each year.
While you were reading the above statistics, approximately
90 acres of rainforest were destroyed. Within the next hour
approximately six species will become extinct. While
extinction is a natural process, the alarming rate of
extinction today, comparable only to the extinction of the
dinosaurs, is specifically human-induced and unpreceeded.
Experts agree that the number one cause of extinction is
habitat destruction. Quite simply, when habitat is reduced,
species disappear. In the Rainforests, logging, cattle
ranching, mining, oil extraction, and hydroelectric dams
all contribute to rainforest destruction and produce many
undesired effects in the environment such as global
warming, depletion of the ozone layer, and depletion of the
earth's natural resources.
But now, there may be some help for the rainforest. Until
recently, few vacationers would even dream of visiting a
rainforest. But travelers are now abandoning the
traditional beach vacation to visit remote, unspoiled areas
all over the world. They try to avoid the fast pace and
congestion of the traditional tourist centers, opting
instead for more adventure, stimulation and a desire to
learn while on vacation. This growing trend of travel has
come to be known as ecotourism. 

Though there are many definitions of ecotourism, the term
is most commonly used to describe any recreation in natural
surroundings. The Ecotourism Society adds social
responsibilities to define ecotourism as "purposeful travel
to natural areas to understand the culture and natural
history of the environment, taking care not to alter the
integrity of the ecosystem, while producing economic
opportunities that make the conservation of natural
resources beneficial to local people"(5)
However defined, ecotourism is a force shaping the use of
the tropical Rainforests. This will be even more true in
the future due to ecotourism's rapid growth. Global tourism
is one of the largest industry in the world and ecotourism
is the fastest growing segment of the industry.
Tourism is largely responsible for saving the gorillas of
Rwanda from extinction. The gorilla was threatened by both
poachers and local farmer, whose land clearing practices
were destroying the gorillas' natural habitat. Rwanda's
Parc des Volcans, created by Dian Fossey as a wildlife
preserve, has become an international attraction and the
third largest source of foreign exchange for Rwanda.
Revenues from the $170-a-day fee that visitors will pay to
enter the park have allowed the government to create
anti-poaching patrols and employ local farmers as park
guides and guards. Even this success is danger from the
civil war that is encroaching and endangering both the
forest and tourist industry.
If ecotourism is going to be influential in saving
Rainforests, income from tourism must reach the people who
will ultimately decide the forest's future. Unfortunately,
too often the money generated does not benefit these
people. Instead, it goes to developed countries, where the
tourists originated, giving little economic protection to
the forests. Profits leak back to the developed nations
through tour operators, plane tickets, foreign owned
accommodations and use of non-local supplies. The World
Bank estimates that worldwide only 45 percent of tourism's
revenue reaches the host country. 

In less developed areas, the percentage is often lower. One
study of the popular ecotourism destination of the
Annapurna region of Nepal found that only 10 cents of every
dollar spent stayed on the local economy. Within the
country, the money may end up in the large cities of in the
hands of the wealthy elite.
Tourist dollars should help to acquire and improve
management of conservation areas on which the tourism is
based, but money from tourism does not often end up with
the agencies that manage these areas. In Costa Rica, the
park service does not earn enough money from its entrance
fees to manage and protect its numerous parks. Only 25% of
it's budget comes from fees; the other three quarters must
come from donations. Tourists often resent paying large
sums of money on entrance fees. Although these fees are
only a small portion of the money spent on a trip they can
be the most important dollars spent in protecting the
resource because they go directly toward protecting the
site. The environmentalists and government officials play a
vital part in the protection of the Rainforests. Without
them, all of the Rainforests would probably be gone. (4) 

In conclusion, the Rainforests, the lungs of the earth will
be gone in just a few years if the current rates of
destruction continue. But luckily, there are
environmentalists there to protect the rainforest and
potentially protecting our lives. I say protecting our
lives because in the past 100 years the earth's temperature
has risen one degree Fahrenheit. This may sound small and
insignificant but it is very serious. Combined with global
pollution from cars, factories, etc. the depletion of the
Rainforest has caused the level of the earth's air quality
to lower, more arctic icebergs to melt causing water levels
to rise around the world causing more erosion and nameless
other effects.
If within 20 years, more is not being done estimates the
rainforest action network, our earth will begin to change
into a hot planet, flaming with CO2, with clouds made up of
sulfuric acid, much like the planet Venus. (11) These
factors, in the advanced stage of Global Warming are what
the earth is coming to if something is not being done soon
about the destruction of the tropical Rainforests and
various other types of pollution. The earth will become a
death trap for the human race unless we act now!


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