Rainforest Vocabulary

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This rainforest vocabulary list for kids is linked to the pages on BoliviaBella.com that contain information on the tropical rainforest in Bolivia and South America. To learn lots more about how important the rainforests are to EVERYONE ON EARTH, please visit my rainforest videos page and watch some amazing stuff!

DEFORESTATION is when you cut or burn down all the trees in a forest because you want to take the tree trunks somewhere else to chop them into boards for building houses or making furniture or paper, or because you want to clear the land to use it for something else, like to plant crops or pasture for your cows or sheep. Deforestation is dangerous for human beings, plants and animals because the forests make the oxygen we need to breathe and survive! Also, cutting down forests leaves the land bare naked and the wind and water are able to blow and wash all the nutrients out of the soil, so just a couple of years later, it’s no good for farming any more and no crops will grow on it. So people are deforesting areas of rainforest that took hundreds of years to grow, just to use them for 2-3 years!!

CONSERVATION is when people work together to make sure a specific ecosystem, plant species or animal species has everything it needs to be able to be healthy, to survive, and to reproduce. For scientists and conservationists protecting the environment, rescuing endangered species, helping them recover so they won’t become extinct, and teaching others about conservation is a full time job, but we can all work to protect and conserve our Earth and natural resources! We should all be thinking about conservation in everything we do: every time we run water, when we use electricity, while we drive a car, if we buy products that aren’t biodegradable, or when we throw out our trash. We have to make conservation something everyone does every day.

Even the littlest creatures deserve better!

take care of our earth

CONTAMINATION is when you get something dirty and you don't clean up after yourself - like when factories pour chemicals into rivers and oceans, or when cars, planes and trains burn fuel that dirties the air, or like when you don't recycle and your trash gets buried in the ground along with millions of other people's trash. And when you get something dirty, it stops working well, like the Earth. When we contaminate the air, the oceans, and the land, the Earth can’t give us what we need to survive cuz we’ve used up, destroyed or contaminated the resources nature needs to produce what we need.

ECOSYSTEMS are specific areas, like parts of the forest, that have a certain climate and certain animal and plant species (and humans!) that are used to living there and won't survive anywhere else. Everything they need is in their special ecosystem: the right temperature and weather, the right foods and water, everything that is right for them to make that region their home. And anything we do to change how much food or water is available to them or to contaminate their ecosystem, causes them to die out and there are fewer and fewer of them until their species disappears altogether. That’s because in ecosystems everything and everyone depends on each other, so they all have to be perfectly balanced.

ENDANGERED species are plants or animals that are not able to survive because of all the changes going on around them. When we make changes to our environment that cause damage to the ecosystems plants and animals need, what we're really doing is putting them in danger because we're taking away the resources they need to survive, like clean air and water, or the food they eat, or the plants, trees or ground they live in. Imagine if suddenly you were taken away from your family and left alone in the middle of the Sahara desert. Would you know how to survive? People who live in the Sahara would know what to do. But because you are not from there you would be in danger of dying because you wouldn't know where to find food and water.

EXTINCTION is when a species doesn't exist any more. Something endangered their environment and ecosystems that made things not right any more and they weren't able to adjust to the changes and survive. So their species died out and we'll never ever see them again! Sometimes species become extinct very quickly because something really harmful happens to their ecosystem. Dinosaurs became extinct because the earth cooled down too much and they couldn’t adapt. Sometimes it takes a while for a species to slowly die out one by one. Sometimes species become extinct suddenly – like when they have a very small ecosystem and they exist nowhere else but in that ecosystem and then a forest fire destroys the ecosystem and the whole species!

Please learn and share this rainforest vocabulary with others. It's really important to help our friends and family understand that rainforest conservation is important to EVERYONE ON EARTH!!! If you didn't understand something on this rainforest vocabulary list or if you have other rainforest vocabulary words you need help with, you can write me! I want everyone to learn about the rainforest!

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