Worldwide, our forests cover about 31% of the Earth’s land surface. Of this, 36% are primary forests, which have taken hundreds of years to grow and cannot be replaced in our lifetime. Only about 5% of our planet’s land cover is rainforest, roughly equivalent to the size of Australia. That may seem like a lot, but our rainforests are being destroyed at the rate of over 80,000 acres (32,000 hectares) per day!
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Much of this destruction is caused directly by human activity in the forests. Cattle ranching, agriculture, mining, the oil and gas, and lumber industries are some of these activities. Some forests are being destroyed due to changes in the world’s climactic conditions, resulting in unusual droughts, flooding and other forms of forest degradation. Human activities are causing some of these climate changes. Consequently, no matter how near or far from a forest each of lives, we are all directly and indirectly responsible for the destruction of our forests.
There are literally hundreds of things we could do to help save our forests. Some of them are even quite easy and would take very little effort. If each of us made just a few small changes in the way we live our daily lives, the result of our combined efforts could be substantial. The problem is, many people are unwilling to give up some of the conveniences and luxuries they’ve become accustomed to living with. Perhaps if more people understood how truly serious the consequences of deforestation really are, they would be much more concerned about taking the necessary steps to save our forests.
The world’s forests are being destroyed at unimaginable rates. Could it be that our forests are disappearing so fast that our minds can’t grasp the reality of what is happening? Or could it be that those of us who don’t live near forests don’t understand how our daily actions affect forests hundreds or thousands of miles away? Let’s take a look at our local situation. The United Nations declared 2011 International Year of Forests. So we thought we’d share some important information with you about our Bolivian forests.
As you read the following keep in mind that more than 20 percent of the world’s oxygen is produced in the Amazon rainforest, more than half of the world’s estimated 10 million species of plants, animals and insects live in tropical rainforests, one-fifth of the world’s fresh water is in the Amazon basin, one hectare (2.47 acres) may contain over 750 types of trees and 1500 species of higher plants, at least 80% of the developed world’s diet originated in the tropical rainforest, and the number of species of fish in the Amazon exceeds the number found in the entire Atlantic Ocean. Source.