Rain Forest Threats, Rain Forest Species More than half of Earth’s rain forests have already been lost forever to the insatiable human demand for wood and arable land. Rain forests that once grew over 14 percent of the land on Earth now cover only about 6 percent. And if current deforestation rates continue, these critical habitats could disappear from the planet completely within the next hundred years. The reasons for plundering rain forests are mainly economic. Wealthy nations drive demand for tropical timber, and cash-strapped governments often grant logging concessions at a fraction of the land’s true value. Threats Solutions WWF: Wildlife Trade What is wildlife trade? Whenever people sell or exchange wild animal and plant resources, this is wildlife trade. It can involve live animals and plants or all kinds of wild animal and plant products. Wildlife trade is easiest to track when it is from one country to another because it must be checked, and often recorded, at Customs checkpoints. Why do people trade wildlife? People trade wildlife for cash or exchange it for other useful objects - for example, utensils in exchange for wild animal skins. For a more detailed list of the various uses of wildlife, visit the TRAFFIC website. What is wildlife trade worth financially? This is a difficult estimate to make. What is the scale of wildlife trade? The trade involves hundreds of millions of wild plants and animals from tens of thousands of species. Why is wildlife trade a problem? Wildlife trade is by no means always a problem and most wildlife trade is legal. Recent overexploitation of wildlife for trade has affected countless species.
News: Rain Forest For centuries, humans have relied on rain forests for a variety of products. Foods such as tomatoes, peppers, corn, rice, coconuts, bananas, coffee, cocoa, tapioca, beans, and sweet potatoes all originally came from the rain forest. Many civilizations have exploited the timber in rain forests and cleared the land for farms. Some preliterate tribes have actually lived in the rain forests for thousands of years. Today people rely on tropical rain forests for a variety of everyday products: paper (7 percent of all paper pulp comes from the rain forest); rubber (used in tires and other products); wax (used in plastics); mahogany and teak (used in wood products such as furniture); and many other items. Destructive Activities Unfortunately, human activities have taken a toll on the rain forest. Farming. Cattle ranching also poses a danger to rain forests. Logging. Other activities. Destruction Aftermath Soil and erosion. Flora and fauna. Climate. Copyright © 2002 Grolier Incorporated.
National Geographic: Endangered species An endangered species is a type of organism that is threatened by extinction. Species become endangered for two main reasons: loss of habitat and loss of genetic variation. Loss of Habitat A loss of habitat can happen naturally. Human activity can also contribute to a loss of habitat. Development can eliminate habitat and native species directly. Development can also endanger species indirectly. Loss of habitat may happen as development takes place in a species range. Loss of habitat can also lead to increased encounters between wild species and people. Loss of Genetic Variation Genetic variation is the diversity found within a species. Inbreeding is reproduction with close family members. Loss of genetic variation can occur naturally. Human activity can also lead to a loss of genetic variation. Monoculture, the agricultural method of growing a single crop, can also reduce genetic variation. The Red List Least Concern Least concern is the lowest level of conservation. Near Threatened
Rain Forest In Brazil, which houses 30 percent of the remaining tropical rain forest on Earth, more than 50,000 square miles of rain forest were lost to deforestation between 2000 and 2005. Biologists worry about the long-term consequences. Drought may be one. Some rain forests, including the Amazon, began experiencing drought in the 1990s, possibly due to deforestation and global warming. Efforts to discourage deforestation, mainly through sustainable-logging initiatives, are underway on a very limited basis but have had a negligible impact so far. The rain forest is nearly self-watering. Plants in the rain forest grow very close together and contend with the constant threat of insect predators. The National Cancer Institute (NCI) estimates that 70 percent of the anti-cancer plants identified so far are rain forest plants. Many trees and plants, like orchids, have been removed from the rain forest and cultivated.
WWF: Illegal Wildlife Trade The world is dealing with an unprecedented spike in illegal wildlife trade, threatening to overturn decades of conservation gains. Ivory estimated to weigh more than 23 metric tons—a figure that represents 2,500 elephants—was seized in the 13 largest seizures of illegal ivory in 2011. Poaching threatens the last of our wild tigers that number as few as 3,200. Wildlife crime is a big business. Some examples of illegal wildlife trade are well known, such as poaching of elephants for ivory and tigers for their skins and bones. Stamping out wildlife crime is a priority for WWF because it’s the largest direct threat to the future of many of the world’s most threatened species.
Rainforest Coloring Pages and Activities for Kids Color in your favorite rainforest birds, mammals, reptiles and plants in our coloring book, or teach yourself about the rainforest with our fun experiments, crafts, and quizzes. Coloring Pages: Amphibians Birds Insects Mammals Plants Reptiles Hands-On Projects from The Remarkable Rainforest Teach yourself about the rainforest with experiments, crafts, and quizzes. These activities are reprinted from The Remarkable Rainforest by Toni Albert, © 1994 by Toni Albert. If you order this book directly from the publishers at 800-353-2791, mention the Rainforest Alliance.
WWF: Priority & endangered species In the time is takes you to read this page, one of our planet’s unique species will become extinct. By this time tomorrow, a further 150–200 will have disappeared forever. And by this time next year, over 50,000 more. This alarming rate of extinction is 100-1,000 times, and perhaps even 11,000 times, greater than the expected natural rate. One in four of the world’s mammals are now threatened with extinction in the near future. By and large, the cause of this decline is human activities. Habitat loss Unsustainable trade Bycatch Climate change Invasive species Pollution Human-animal conflict Find out more...