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The Tropical Rainforests 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 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
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 benefited. 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 extinction. 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 fragment.
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
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 depleted.
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


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