The Amazon rainforest is one of the most important natural resources in the entire world. It holds a wide variety of plants and wildlife that are waiting to be discovered by scientists. Many of these new species may prove to be quite useful in treating a variety of diseases and other ailments.
Unfortunately, deforestation is destroying these beautiful habitats. The effects of this massive deforestation go much deeper than just the loss of plant species. And this is exactly what we are going to tackle in this article. Let’s explore seven of the most interesting Amazon rainforest deforestation facts.
1. Irreversible Damage on the Horizon
One of the most alarming Amazon rainforest deforestation facts is that current estimates show that the entire area could be completely destroyed in 100 years. That means realistically that within two or three generations our relatives may no longer be able to experience the natural beauty of this wonderful area.
The primary reasons for this are global warming and mass clearing of areas for agricultural and other human uses. As the temperature rises and the rainforest shrinks in size, the process of evapotranspiration is disrupted. Even more alarming, new mathematical models predict this process could occur as early as 40-50 years from now.
2. Massive Amounts of Destruction
Another one of the more interesting Amazon rainforest deforestation facts has to do with the amount of destruction that is occurring on a global scale. On average, we are losing up to one acre of rainforest area each second. This amount equals just about the size of an American football field.
To put those numbers in perspective on a yearly scale, that adds up to about 31.5 million acres of lost rainforest habitat per year. The majority of these losses occur as a direct result of logging and land clearing for agricultural use.
3. Losing Important Insects
While insects may not be the most comfortable thing to live around, they serve an important purpose in the world. They help break down waste products to fertilize the ground, function as an important element in the food chain, and are great tunnelers that help funnel water to the root systems of plants.
It is currently estimated that as much as 80 percent of all insects live in tropical rainforest. Many of which are currently waiting for discovery by scientist as more and more species are cataloged each year. With the destruction of their native environment, this can spell the eradication of one of the most important elements of this natural balance.
4. Paper Waste Plays a Major Role
Perhaps one of the most interesting Amazon rainforest deforestation facts has to do with paper use. Logging continues to be one of the largest contributors to the destruction of rainforest all across the globe. The majority of these products are used in construction, papermaking, and other industrial products.
What many of you may not know is that America uses much more resources per person than other developing nations. With a population that counts for approximately only five percent of the world, Americans consume one-third of all the paper that is produced globally. To help ease this burden, consider sticking to electronic printouts to reduce needless waste.
5. Oxygen Generation
Approximately 20 percent of all the oxygen currently being produced comes from the Amazon rainforest alone. That is another one of the more interesting Amazon rainforest deforestation facts. Forests all across the globe play a major role in naturally cycling carbon dioxide into oxygen for us to breathe.
While smaller plant species like grass and flowers also play an important role, larger trees are the primary driving force behind this process. At the rate of current habitat loss, the amount of oxygen production is well on its way to a massive decline worldwide. Even worse, other rainforests all across the globe are also being destroyed at an alarming rate.
6. A Carbon Bomb in the Making
Many of you know that rainforests play a very important role in the absorption of greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide worldwide. However, what you may not know is that tropical rainforests are crucial for storing massive amounts of carbon worldwide. The current estimates show that worldwide tropical forests store as much as 210 gigatons of carbon. In fact, up to 15 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions come are released from rainforests as a result of deforestation.
This carbon is trapped in a variety of methods in the forests. The majority ends up being stored physically in the wood of trees. Over time, it is slowly released back into the atmosphere as the tree’s life cycle ends. Afterward, it is reabsorbed by other trees in the environment and the process is repeated. With the reduction in forests occurring at an alarming rate, this delicate process is being disrupted.
7. Disruption of the Water Cycle
One of the lesser known Amazon rainforest deforestation facts has to do with the effects of deforestation on the water cycle. Tropical rainforest all across the globe play a crucial role in managing the water cycle for their surrounding areas. The roots help secure soil and prevent erosion while also helping to funnel water deep below ground.
The foliage of plants helps shade soil layers beneath from direct sunlight thereby preventing evaporation. As the trees naturally breathe water vapor back into the atmosphere, the water is trapped in the area and forms into clouds where the rain is returned to the area. With the destruction of natural forests habitats, however, these natural processes are being disrupted. As a result, it can drastically reduce the average rainfall for a specific area.
As you can see from these Amazon rainforest deforestation facts, there is much more to lose than just a few plants and animal species. Rainforests all across the globe play a major role in a variety of important processes ranging from carbon absorption to water table maintenance.
While the destruction is occurring at a very quick pace, it’s not too late to do something about it. Feel free to share this article with your friends to help get the word out on rainforest deforestation.