Rainforests are the predominant natural vegetation throughout the wet tropics. The defining characteristics of a tropical rainforest are temperature and rainfall. Wherever temperature is high enough and rainfall heavy and regular enough, there is rainforest (Bagheera, 1996). Tropical rainforests of all kinds once covered approximately 14 percent of the Earth’s surface, more than eight million square miles (Conservation International, 1998); forming an equatorial green belt around the Earth rich in diverse plant and animal species. Humans have already destroyed half of this forest area, with most damage occurring in the last 200 years (Bagheera, 1996). In 1987 alone an estimated 20 million acres of Brazilian rainforest were cut and burned (Miller & Tangley, 1991, in Kricher, 1997). At the current rate of deforestation, within 177 years all tropical rainforests on Earth could be gone (Kricher, 1997). The effects of this massive deforestation have already begun to influence the planet. Among the many threats of tropical deforestation, global warming is perhaps one of the most severe. For this reason, a look tropical deforestation and its effects on global climate change will be the focus of this paper.
Tropical deforestation refers to the cutting, clearing, and removal of rainforest, usually converting it into other less biodiverse, unsustainable ecosystems. Deforestation is often done for short-term profit at the expense of long-term sound economic and ecological policy (Kricher, 1997). Many factors have attributed to the destruction of rainforests especially over the last two decades. Rainforests are being cut and burned for agric...
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