Tropical forests are dying. Are we in time to fix it?
Understanding the importance of tropical forests is necessary to be aware of the profound damage caused by their destruction and disappearance. In recent decades, the alteration of the main lungs of the Earth is having dire consequences, unfortunately, they have been visible for a long time. The Amazon Rainforest is one of the most important and largest tropical forests , but it is not the only one. There are more than fifteen forests whose protection is essential for the survival of species and populations around the world. The reality of what happens in these forests affects us more than we can imagine. Everything on the planet is connected in multiple ways. The oxygen we breathe and the water we drink depend on them. Now a study published by the Stockholm Resilience Center warns that tropical forests are dying. The process known as "sabanization" begins to be palpable, its consequences? Irreversible.
The importance of tropical forestsWater is synonymous with life and biodiversity. Without it, no species is capable of surviving beyond a certain time. Did you know that tropical forests are the main creators of the water cycle? A very delicate process that should never be altered. Tropical forests are responsible for storing and releasing water into the environment. When they register high temperatures, they draw groundwater into the atmosphere, forming clouds that return to the ground as rain. In this way they manage to cool and regulate the temperature of the planet. Similar is what happens with carbon dioxide. Bringing together a countless number of trees and plants, its absorption capacity is enormous. Thanks to them we can breathe cleaner air and have innumerable benefits thanks to the properties of their great vegetation. Consequently, tropical forests are home to the majority of species known to exist on Earth . In fact, its richness is such that it is estimated that “40% to 70% of all living species originate in tropical forests”. Not counting the ones we still don't know about.
The largest tropical forests on the planetThe Amazon Rainforest is the best known tropical forest . In fact, it is the largest that exists on Earth. To get an idea, it covers 40% of the South American continent and is present in 9 countries. The importance of the Amazon for the planet is substantial. However, being present in so many states has caused its weakening. According to data collected by NASA, the worst number of fires in the Brazilian Amazon was reached in August: 29,307. Apart from the Amazon, as we mentioned at the beginning, there are about fifteen more forests whose importance should also be brought to light:
- Congo Rain Forest
- Valdivian Temperate Humid Forest
- Daintree Moist Forest
- Southeast Asian Rainforest
- Tongass National Forest
- Kinabalu National Park
- Santa Elena Cloud Forest Reserve
- Sinharaja Forest Reserve
- Pacific Temperate Humid Forest
- Sundarbans Research Forest
- Monteverade Forest
- Papua New Guinea
- Sapo National Park Rain Forest
Why are tropical forests disappearing?The causes that explain why tropical forests are disappearing are: deforestation, fires and soil alteration. In short, the action of the human being. The overpopulation that we currently experience requires more resources, food and space. Faced with this scarcity, many regions of the world have chosen to sacrifice tropical forests. A feasible solution in the short term but devastating in the long term. If they continue to disappear at the current rate, the consequences to which they are doomed will be irremediable. As the newspaper El País explains:
“Less rain, more fires, little jungle; little forest, more fires, less rain. That is the vicious circle that puts the stability and conservation of the Amazon at risk.”And let us remember that without water no living being can survive. Plants, animals and even the human species would disappear.
From jungle to savannah, the future of tropical forestsCan you imagine that one day the Amazon is like the Savannah of Tanzania? That is the future that awaits tropical forests if the current situation is not reversed. According to the latest study by the specialized environmental institute, the Stockholm Resilience Center, the countdown has begun. Arie Staal, main author of the study, explained to El País:
“There is reason enough to worry. If tropical forests change to a degraded state and become savannas, then the original species are lost, less carbon dioxide is stored, and less precipitation occurs.”Without tropical forests, climate change will be even worse . More periods of droughts, fires and floods. Did you know that they are also responsible for retaining moisture in the soil, preventing avalanches in winter? Given this, scientists insist on the importance of immediately stopping all these destructive human actions. Reforestation is not enough, each tropical forest is unique and its role in the functioning of the planet is definitely irreplaceable. This is why from Rewinder we call you to the revolution, there is a new present to build, we have the opportunity to stop and reverse the situation. The Rewinder forest grows day by day thanks to you but also, remember, the grain of sand that we individually contribute each day will be the necessary component for a settled and strong future on which to continue as a species and as a planet.