What are Rainforests?
Rainforests are forests that are rich in dark green vegetation and are normally located in tropical regions. They are commonly referred to as the “womb of life” since a large population of the world’s species (about 50-90%) is found there.
Ecologically, rainforests can be defined as forests with broad-leaved vegetation with extensive tree canopy and a home to a wide variety of flora and fauna. They are the most complicated ecosystem on the planet due to their rich diversity.
Rainforests took approximately 60 to 100 million years to become the extensive ecosystems they are today. Due to the dense population of trees, rain forests store a lot of water that is later released back into the atmosphere. Let’s have a look at some of the reasons that make rain forests vital.
24 Reasons Why Rainforests are Important
1. Rainforests are water catchment areas. Many rivers and streams in the world spring from the rainforests.
2. Maintains the water cycle. Plants in the rainforests release water into the atmosphere through transpiration and the same water returns to the ground as rain.
3. Stabilizes the earth’s climate. The carbon dioxide released into the air by animals and human beings is absorbed by plants in the rainforests. By doing this, rainforests reduce the chances of global warming proliferation.
4. They are habitats for plants. Many plant species, mostly indigenous ones are found in rains forests due to the warm and wet climate conditions.
5. They act as pharmacies. Approximately 25% of all the medicines originate from forests.
6. They provide beautiful scenes for video shooting. Of late, many musicians and movie producers make use of the rainforests for shooting certain parts of their songs or movies that display the dark green beauty of nature.
7. They minimize soil erosion. The roots anchor the soil while the dense canopy protects the soil from heavy rains hence reducing the amount of soil erosion.
8. Rainforests are tourist attraction sites. Rainforests exist in various landscapes; some are located on scenic mountain ranges, near lowland rivers and other regions. Therefore, a country that has a rainforest may receive tourists from all over the world.
9. Reinforest minimize the impact of flooding. They do this by reducing the rate of surface runoff.
10. Rainforests provide resting grounds for butterflies. Butterflies aid in the pollination of plants thereby facilitating reproduction.
11. They are a home for indigenous people. Tribal people have for a long time inhabited the rainforests which provide them with food, shelter clothing.
12. They are a source of plant products. Most of the foods we consume nowadays like coffee grapes, berries, bananas and some spices originally came from the rainforests.
13. They provide employment opportunities. Many people are employed to work in forestry in positions such as forest firefighters, foresters, wildlife consultants, wildlife officers, soil and plant scientists, etc.
14. They are a source of wood. Wood is used for timber in the construction industries and it can be burned to produce charcoal for cooking.
15. Rainforests provide an opportunity for cultural exchange. As people from different parts of the world meet and intermingle, chances that they will exchange their traditions are high. They learn the dressing code, norms and traditions of others and so on.
16. Source of recreation. As rainforests are located in various beautiful landscapes, they offer opportunities for recreational activities such as hiking, photography, birding, fishing, relaxation and wildlife spotting.
17. Availability of pulp. Rainforests contain plants rich in pulp. Pulp is used in the paper industry for making papers and books.
18. Avails oxygen in the atmosphere. Rainforests release oxygen in the air during photosynthesis. This oxygen is inhaled by humans, birds, and animals for respiration.
19. Rainforests are habitats for animals. Most wild animals have their homes in the rainforests. Endangered species also find shelter and food in these forests.
20. They provide a home for birds. The rainforest canopy provides a conducive home for birds. They also get food from the many fruits that grow in these forests.
21. They are a source of valuable natural resources. Copper, gold, gemstones, diamond and other metals occur naturally in some rain forest.
22. Source of energy. Gas and oil deposits are found in the tropical rainforests. These deposits are promising sources of energy for future use.
23. Rainforests curb drought and hunger. Areas surrounding the rainforests receive high amounts of rain that helps farmers reap bumper harvests that can be used to conquer hunger.
24. They enhance soil fertility: As trees shed their leaves, they decompose hence adding organic manure to the ground, which is benefits farmers.
Conclusion: Forests have been a valuable resource since time immemorial. They have been the center of food chains until deforestation started to plague its existence. Protection of the rain forest will protect the biodiversity and aid in ending the global warming bug.