20 Animals And Plants That Live In The Amazon Rainforest Tropical Rainforests – 4 Ways to Stop Deforestation

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Tropical Rainforests – 4 Ways to Stop Deforestation

It is hard to imagine that we would knowingly destroy something so valuable; could it be that we are destroying them before we realize their value? Before we really understand their biodiversity? And even before we fully understand the life and ecosystems they support?

Mass deforestation brings with it many dire consequences – air and water pollution, soil erosion, release of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, displacement and destruction of indigenous indigenous tribes and extinction of many plants, animals and creatures. Fewer rainforests mean less rain, less oxygen to breathe and an increasing threat of global warming.

Confucius said: “A man who has made a mistake and does not correct it, is making another mistake.” Clearly, deforestation is a human error. So how do we fix this error? Can we correct this error?

If deforestation stopped today, it would help tremendously, but unfortunately it would not be enough. We have lost entire species, both in plant and animal life; however, all is not lost. What we can hope for in ending deforestation is a new beginning; new species in development and the rebirth of this dwindling treasure.

With the rapid loss of the Earth’s rainforests, it is time to right our wrong. There is no easy fix or quick fix, but there are definitely steps that can be taken to stop deforestation and restore not only damaged ecosystems, but the beauty of life that has been lost.

Four invaluable steps to save our rainforests:

Step #1: Education

In the last 20 years, deforestation has claimed millions of square kilometers of tropical rainforests, and to protect their future, we need to develop sound educational initiatives. Educational programs and curricula for each grade level are vital as today’s children are our future. Encouraging good global citizenship in school-aged children will help them develop a deeper understanding of conservation challenges as well as a healthy respect for the environment. However, education cannot stop with school-age children; adults need the same education about deforestation and preventive measures.

Educational resources are now becoming widely available to educators. For example, Paradise Earth Scholastic is Paradise Earth’s academic service and the Internet’s leading resource for rainforest education, packed with K-12 educational curricula, multimedia educational features, and resources for research and teaching.

Step #2: Storage policies

Conserving tropical rainforests is a worldwide responsibility, not just the responsibility of the country where the forests are. Stronger policies that prohibit deforestation must be written and implemented; our responsibility lies a little deeper. If the international community wants to ensure a higher level of protection of these forests, financial resources must be a key part of the conservation strategy.

Historically, world governments have been willing to extend loans to tropical nations and in some cases even cancel their debts in exchange for environmental protection. For example, the British government recently committed $150 million to the conservation and sustainable development of tropical forests around the globe. Germany cleared Kenya of its $400 million debt when Kenya agreed to pass environmental legislation.

In 2001, President Clinton proposed $150 million in funding to help developing countries conserve their rainforests while strengthening their economies. According to the budget, $100 million will go to conservation programs (through the US Agency for International Development-USAID), while $37 million will be earmarked for debt-to-nature swaps under the Tropical Forest Conservation Act.

In addition to financial support, developed countries can also offer their conservation expertise to developing countries and help plan new protected areas.

Step #3: Reset and Increase

Although the complete restoration of our lost rainforests seems impossible, a number of studies and regeneration projects have been carried out around the world.

In September 2008, it was announced that the first Kihansi sprat was born at the Wildlife Conservation Society’s Bronx Zoo. This tiny creature was last seen in the wild in May 2005. The birth of the Kihansi warbler has renewed hopes that this species can one day be successfully reintroduced into its natural habitat in a remote gorge in Tanzania.

In other news, researchers from the Boyce Thompson Institute for Plant Sciences (BTI) on Cornell’s campus are attempting what many thought was impossible — restoring a tropical rainforest ecosystem. Ten years after the tree plantings, Cornell graduate student Jackeline Salazar counted the types of plants that took up residence in the shade of the newly planted areas. She found an unusually high number of species — more than 100 in each plot. And many of the new arrivals were also found in remnants of the original forests nearby.

It may take hundreds of years to regain what has been lost, but every year we see proof that the “impossible” is actually quite possible.

Step #4: Support Ecotourism

According to the United Nations World Tourism Organization, sustainable tourism is envisaged to lead to the management of all resources in such a way that economic, social and aesthetic needs can be met while maintaining cultural integrity, essential ecological processes, biological diversity and systems of life support.

Responsible ecotourism involves programs that minimize the negative aspects of conventional tourism on the environment while enhancing the cultural integrity of local people and their economy. From 1993 to 2003 alone, tourism in 23 countries hosting biodiversity hotspots increased by 100 percent.

At first glance, it seems that ecotourism is designed for the traveler, but its purpose is much greater. Ecotourism creates jobs in the food and beverage service, hotel and resort industry, transportation and many other industries. Because ecotourism relies on healthy ecosystems, it provides a powerful incentive to protect our rainforests. People who make a living from ecotourism are more likely to protect local natural resources and support conservation efforts.

Correcting the deforestation “mistake” may still be possible; but not without an overdose of human efforts to end the extinction of the tropical rain forest. No matter how unattainable this goal may seem, our mistake still has a chance to be corrected.

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