Rainforest Depletion: Adverse Effects on the Environment

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Rainforest Depletion: Adverse Effects on the Environment

Introduction

The depletion of tropical rainforests by third world countries, as well as by American industry, has been a growing area of concern for many environmental organizations. Animal rights activists are livid at the frightening rate in which species are becoming extinct in these regions. Conservationists argue that the foliage is disappearing at rates that replanting programs will never be able to compete with. Environmentalists and Meteorologists fear that the elimination of enormous quantities of acreage will result in a long list of problems, including global warming, abnormal precipitation patterns, and unpredictable weather systems, just to name a few. While many of these adverse effects to the regional ecosystems and to the planet as whole may not be evident right away, studies show that if the rate at which these forests are harvested or burned continues as is they will happen eventually. The intent of this paper is to focus on some of the environmental concerns with regard to their causes, the long term effects, and what can and should be done to prevent them.

What is a “Tropical Rain Forest”?

A forest can be categorized in several ways. To be considered a Tropical Rain Forest, the region must:

1. Lie between the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn.

2. Maintain a temperature between 70 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit year round.

3. Have between 80 and 400 inches of rainfall annually.

This map shows the regions meeting these criteria (highlighted in green):

Rainforests can be further broken down into categories depending on how far above sea level they are, but for our purposes we will focus on al...

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...e. A number of organizations are devoting their time and effort into increasing awareness and fighting the industry who through their thoughtlessness continue to scavenge the resources that the rainforests have to offer. Despite their efforts, the destruction of these vital ecosystems continues at an alarming rate. More and more species are dying off each day, and we continue to pump vast quantities of harmful gases into the atmosphere, leaving no natural means to cleanse the air we breathe. River basins are drying up because precipitation levels are falling with the absence of the foliage that stimulated them. Some may argue that the short term benefit to those utilizing the forests for survival outweigh the potential long term hazards. Whatever the case, the possible outcomes certainly are disturbing and should warrant more attention than they are presently given.

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