Rainforests – The lungs of Earth

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Rainforest all around the world:

  • This amazing forests covered 1.77 billion hectares or 6.8 million square miles of land which is at least 8 percent of Earth’s land surface or 3% percent of total Earth’s surface but yet they contain 40% to 75% of all of the world’s plant and animal species
  • Tropical rainforests have been called the “Lungs of the Earth” because it cleanses about ten percent of greenhouse gases produced from human activities

 

They imitate crucial part in Earth’s Environment:

Tropical forest trees, like all green plants, take in carbon dioxide and release oxygen during photosynthesis.

Forests are a stabilizing force for the climate. They regulate ecosystems, protect biodiversity and play an integral part in the carbon cycle, support livelihoods, and supply goods and services that can drive sustainable growth.

Approximately 2.6 billion tons of carbon dioxide, one-third of the CO2 released from burning fossil fuels, is absorbed by forests every year.They have other climatic effects like; cloud formation by recycling water vapor.

How we are causing damage

Rainforests are going under heavy legal and illegal logging for their precious agricultural uses viaslashing, burning (a recent case of Amazon rainforest fire) & clear-cutting throughout the 20th century and hence the size of the rainforests has been shrinking thought out the world.

Reports form may Govt. & Non- Govt. bodies have declared that large numbers of species are on the verge of extinction, approx. more than 50,000 a year; at that rate, said from Harvard University, a quarter or more of all species on Earth could be exterminated within 50 years  if keep removinghabitat environment by destroying  the rainforests.Expansion of urban areas is another factor causing the loss of rainforest

Dangers of Loss of Rainforests

Deforestation is considered to be one of the contributing factors to global climate change. Which makes impact on the global carbon cycle. If greenhouse gases are in large enough quantity, they can force climate change, according to Daley. While oxygen (O2) is the second most abundant gas in our atmosphere, it does not absorb thermal infrared radiation, as greenhouse gases do. Carbon dioxide (CO2) is the most prevalent greenhouse gas. CO2 accounts for about 82.2 percent of all U.S. greenhouse gas, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). About 300 billion tons of carbon, 40 times the annual greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuels, is stored in trees, according to Greenpeace.

The deforestation of trees not only lessens the amount of carbon stored, it also releases carbon dioxide into the air. This is because when trees die, they release the stored carbon. According to the 2010 Global Forest Resources Assessment, deforestation releases nearly a billion tons of carbon into the atmosphere per year, though the numbers are not as high as the ones recorded in the previous decade. Deforestation is the second largest anthropogenic (human-caused) source of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere (after fossil fuel combustion), ranging between 6 percent and 17 percent, according to a study published in 2009 in Nature.

Carbon isn’t the only greenhouse gas that is affected by deforestation. Water vapor is also considered a greenhouse gas. “The impact of deforestation on the exchange of water vapor and carbon dioxide between the atmosphere and the terrestrial land surface is the biggest concern with regard to the climate system,” said Daley. Changes in their atmospheric concentration will have a direct effect on climate.

Deforestation has decreased global vapor flows from land by 4 percent, according to an article published by the journal National Academy of Sciences. Even this slight change in vapor flows can disrupt natural weather patterns and change current climate models.

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