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    Tropical Rainforests Of The World Essay

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    In this term paper, I will explain the great importance of the tropicalRainforests around the world and discuss the effects of the tragedy ofrainforest destruction and the effect that it is having on the earth. I willtalk about the efforts being made to help curb the rate of rainforestdestruction and the peoples of the rainforest, and I will explore a new topic inthe fight to save the rainforest, habitat fragmentation. Another topic beingdiscussed is the many different types of rainforest species and their uniquenessfrom the rest of the world. First, I will discuss the many species of rare andexotic animals, Native to the Rainforest. Tropical Rainforests are home to manyof the strangest looking and most beautiful, largest and smallest, mostdangerous and least frightening, loudest and quietest animals on earth.

    Thereare many types of animals that make their homes in the rainforest some of theminclude: jaguars, toucans, parrots, gorillas, and tarantulas. There are so manyfascinating animals in tropical rainforest that millions have not evenidentified yet. In fact, about half of the worlds species have not even beenidentified yet. But sadly, an average of 35 species of rainforest animals arebecoming extinct every day. So many species of animals live in the rainforestthan any other parts of the world because rainforests are believed to be theoldest ecosystem on earth.

    Some forests in southeast Asia have been around forat least 100 million years, ever since the dinosaurs have roamed the earth. During the ice ages, the last of which occurred about 10,000 years ago, thefrozen areas of the North and South Poles spread over much of the earth, causinghuge numbers of extinctions. But the giant freeze did not reach many tropicalrainforests. Therefore, these plants and animals could continue to evolve,developing into the most diverse and complex ecosystems on earth.

    The nearlyperfect conditions for life also help contribute to the great number of species. With temperatures constant at about 75-80 degrees Fahrenheit the whole year, theanimals dont have to worry about freezing during the cold winters or findinghot shade in the summers. They rarely have to search for water, as rain fallsalmost every day in tropical rainforests. Some rainforest species havepopulations that number in the millions.

    Other species consist of only a fewdozen individuals. Living in limited areas, most of these species are foundnowhere else on earth. For example, the maues marmoset, a species of monkey,wasnt discovered until recently. Its entire tiny population lives within afew square miles in the Amazon rainforest.

    This species of monkey is so smallthat it could fit into a persons hand! In a rainforest, it is difficult to seemany things other than the millions of insects creeping and crawling around inevery layer of the forest. Scientists estimate that there are more than 50million different species of invertebrates living in rainforests. A biologistresearching the rainforest found 50 different of ants on a single tree in Peru!A few hours of poking around in a rainforest would produce several insectsunknown to science. The constant search for food , water, sunlight and space isa 24-hour pushing and shoving match. With this fierce competition, it is amazingthat that so many species of animals can all live together.

    But this is actuallythe cause of the huge number of the different species. The main secret lies inthe ability of many animals to adapt to eating a specific plant or animal, whichfew other species are able to eat. An example of such adaptations would be thebig beaks of the toucans and parrots. Their beaks give them a great advantageover other birds with smaller beaks. The fruits and nuts from many trees haveevolved with a tough shell to protect them from predators.

    In turn toucans andparrots developed large, strong beaks, which serves as a nutcracker and providesthem with many tasty meals. Many animal species have developed relationshipswith each other that benefit both species. Birds and mammal species love to eatthe tasty fruits provided by trees. Even fish living in the Amazon River rely onthe fruits dropped from forest trees.

    In turn, the fruit trees depend upon theseanimals to eat their fruit, which helps them to spread their seeds to far – offparts of the forest. In some cases both species are so dependent upon each otherthat if one becomes extinct, the other will as well. This nearly happened withtrees that relied on the now extinct dodo birds. They once roamed Mauritius, atropical island located in the Indian Ocean.

    They became extinct during the late19th century when humans overhunted them. The calvaria tree stopped sproutingseeds soon after. Scientists finally concluded that, for the seeds of thecalvaria tree to sprout, they needed to be digested by the dodo bird. By forcefeeding the seeds to a domestic turkey, who digested the seeds the same way asthe dodo bird, the trees were saved.

    Unfortunately, humans will not be able tosave each species in this same way. Each species has evolved with its own set ofunique adaptations, ways of helping them to survive. Every animal has theability to protect itself from being someones next meal. To prevent theextinction of a species each and every species must develop a defense tactic. The following are just a few of Mother Natures tricks. CAMOFLAGE Thecoloring of some animals acts as protection from their predators.

    Insects playsome of the best hide-and-go-seek in the forest. The walking stick is onesuch insect; it blends in so well with the palm tree it calls its home that noone would notice unless its moved. Some butterflies, when they close theirwings, look exactly like leaves. Camouflage also works in reverse, helpingpredators, such as boa constrictors, sneak up on unsuspecting animals andsurprise them. SLOW AS A SNAIL The tree-toed sloth is born with brown fur,but you would never know this by looking at it. The green algae that makes itshome in the sloths fur helps it to blend in with the tops of the trees, thecanopy, where it makes its home.

    But even green algae isn’t the only thingliving in a sloths fur; it is literally bugged with a variety ofinsects. 978 beetles were once found living on one sloth. The sloth has otherclever adaptations. Famous for its snail-like pace; it is one of the slowestmoving animals on earth. It is so slow that it often takes up to a month todigest its food.

    Although its tasty meat would make a good meal for jaguarsand other predators, most do not notice the sloth as it hangs in the trees, highup in the canopy. DEADLY CREATURES Other animals dont want to announcetheir presence to the whole forest. Armed with dangerous poisons used in lifethreatening situations, their bright colors warn predators to stay away. Thisenables them to survive everyday emergency situations. The coral snake of theAmazon, with its brilliant red, yellow, and black coloring, is recognized as oneof the most beautiful snakes in the world, but it is just as deadly as it isbeautiful.

    The coral snakes deadly poison can kill in seconds. Other animalsknow to stay away from it. The poison arrow frog also stands out with itsbrightly colored skin. It’s skin produces some of the strongest natural poisonin the world, which indigenous people often use for hunting purposes. It’spoison is now being tested for use in modern medicine. In a single raiforesthabitat, several species of squirels can live together without harming oneanother.

    This bewilders many people, Louise Emmons found. Why can nine speciesof squirrels live together? Well, in a brief summary each of the nine species isa different size; three have specialized diets or habitats, which leaves sixspecies that feed on nuts, fruits and insects, and so potentially compete forfood. A closer look showed that three of the six, a large, a medium, and a smallone live in the forest canopy and never come to the ground. The largest squirrelfeeds mainly on very large, hard nuts, and the smaller ones eat smaller fruitsand nuts.

    The other three species, again a large medium and small one live inthe ground and eat fruits and nuts of the same species as their canopyneighbors, but only after they fall to the ground. Tropical rainforests arebursting with life. Not only do millions of species of plants and animals livein rainforests, but many people also call the rainforest their home. In fact,Indigenous, or native, people have lived in rainforests for thousands of years. In North and South America they were mistakenly named Indians by ChristopherColumbus, who thought that he had landed in Indonesia, then called the EastIndies.

    The native people of the rainforest live very different lives than us. In this section, I will explain how very different our lives differ than fromthe indigenous people of the rainforest. Although many indigenous people livevery much like we do, some still live as their ancestors did many years beforethem. These groups organize their daily lives differently than our culture.

    Everything they need to survive, from food to medicines to clothing, comes fromthe forest. FOOD Besides haunting, gathering wild fruits and nuts andfishing, Indigenous people also plant small gardens for other sources of food,using a sustainable farming method called shifting cultivating. First they cleara small area of land and burn it. Then they plant many types of plants, to beused for food and medicines. After a few years, the soil has become too poor toallow for more crops to grow and weeds to start to take over.

    So they then moveto a nearby uncleared area. This land is traditionally allowed to regrow 10-50years before it is farmed again. Shifting cultivation is still practiced bythose tribes who have access to a large amount of land. However, with thegrowing number of non-Indigenous farmers and the shrinking rainforest, othertribes, especially in Indonesia and Africa, are now forced to remain in onearea. The land becomes a wasteland after a few years of overuse, and cannot beused for future agriculture.

    EDUCATION Most tribal children dont go toschools like ours. Instead, they learn about the forest around them from theirparents and other people in the tribe. They are taught how to survive in theforest. They learn how to hunt and fish, and which plants are useful asmedicines or food. Some of these children know more about rainforests thanscientists who have studied rainforests for many years. The group of societiesknown as Europeans includes such cultures such as Spanish and German.

    Similarly,the broad group, Indigenous peoples includes many distinct culture groups, eachwith its own traditions. For instance, plantains (a type of banana) are a majorfood source for the Yanonami from the Amazon while the Penan of Borneo,Southeast Asia, depend on the sago palm (a type of palm tree) for food and otheruses. All Indigenous people share their strong ties to the land. Because therainforest is so important for their culture, they want to take care of it.

    Theywant to live what is called a sustainable existence, meaning they use the landwithout doing harm to the plants and animals that also call the rainforest theirhome. As a wise Indigenous man once said, The earth is our historian, oureducator, the provider of food, medicine, clothing and protection. She is themother of our races. (11) Indigenous peoples have been losing their lives andthe land they live on ever since Europeans began colonizing 500 years ago.

    Mostof them died from common European diseases which made Indigenous people verysick because they had never had these diseases before. A disease such as the flucould possibly kill an indigenous person because he/she has not been exposed tothis disease before. Many Indigenous groups have also been killed by settlerswanting their land, or put to work as slaves to harvest the resources of theforest. Others were converts to Christianity by missionaries, who forced them tolive like Europeans and give up their cultural traditions. Until about fortyyears ago, the lack of roads prevented most outsiders from exploiting therainforest.

    These roads, constructed for timber and oil companies, cattleranchers and miners, have destroyed millions of acres each year. All of thepractices force Indigenous people off their land. Because they do not officiallyown it, governments and other outsiders do not recognize their rights to theland. They have no other choice but to move to different areas, sometimes evento the crowded cities. They often live in poverty because they have no skillsuseful for a city lifestyle and little knowledge about the culture. For example,they know more about gathering food from the forest than buying food from astore.

    Its like being forced to move to a different country, where you knewnothing about the culture or language. Indigenous groups are beginning to fightfor their land, most often through peaceful demonstrations. Such actions maycause them to be arrested or even to lose their lives, but they know that ifthey take no action, their land and culture could be lost forever. KaypoIndians, for example, recently spoke to the United States Congress to protestthe building of dams in the Amazon, and were arrested when they arrived back inBrazil, accused of being traitors to their own country.

    In Malaysia, the Peneanhave arrested for blocking logging roads. Many people living outside ofrainforests went to help protect the Indigenous peoples culture. Theyunderstand that Indigenous people have much to teach us about rainforests. Sincewe (the US and other countries) have been working with the Indigenous People andother rainforest protection agencies, we have learned many things about theforest, including its ecology, medicinal plants, food and other products. Ithas also showed us how crucial it is for the Indigenous people of the rainforestto continue their daily and traditional activities because of their importancein the cycle if the rainforest.

    It has shown us that they have the right topractice their own lifestyle, and live upon the land where there ancestors havelived before them. (2) One such example of a invasion of the Ingeniouspeoples privacy is a new so called emergency called the CofanEmergency. This dispute is about an Indigenous tribe called the Cofan. Historically, the Cofan occupied some half a million acres of rainforest alongthe Aguarico River in the Ecuadorian Amazon.

    Because their traditional territoryhas been significantly reduced through invasions by oil companies such asTexaco, the Cofan now live in five small, discontinuous communities. However,they still utilize and protect a region of about 250,000 acres, including tworeserves in the Amazon. In addition to displacing the Cofan and other indigenousgroups, oil development, which began in this region over thirty years ago, hasalso caused serious environmental destruction. The deforestation of some twomillion acres of rainforest and contamination of the regions waterways hasresulted in the loss of plant and animal diversity, and drastically affected thesocial and economic well-being of local Indigenous peoples. This devastationcontinues. Last year, ten new concessions were licensed to international oilcompanies in the Ecuadorian Amazon, opening an additional five million acres offorest to oil development.

    One of these oil blocks, Block 11 awarded to theUS-based Santa Fe Energy, lies within Cofan territory and will directly affectat least three communities. In order to protect the remaining intact rainforestareas of their homeland and the adjacent ecological reserves, the Cofan areseeking $5,000 to purchase an outboard motor and a video camera, in order tocoordinate between disperse communities and document the destruction caused byoil development. Cofan leaders plan to work with their communities and documentthe destruction caused by oil development. Also they planned to work with theircommunities to organize against further environmental destruction by the oilcompanies. This grant will also cover for legal costs to demarcate the Cofancommunity lands. In the next section of this term paper, I will be discussing asubject relating to the rainforest called habitat fragmentation.

    Fragmentationof a habitat, by its very nature, reduces the total amount of area of theoriginal habitat type. Two researchers, Ann Keller and John Anderson suggestthat the absolute habitat loss of pristine habitat and the reduced density ofresources associated with fragmentation potentially impacts the biota (the plantand animal life of a region) more than any single factor. Habitat fragmentationaffects the flora and fauna (plants and animals) of a given ecosystem byreplacing a naturally occurring ecosystem with a human-dominated landscape whichmay be inhospitable to a certain number of the original species. However, indirect contrast to the ocean as a geographic barrier, the human landscape matrixis typically accessible to plants and animals, in that they are able to easilydisperse across it, if not reside in it.

    On the other hand, the human landscapemay directly contribute to the extinction of species by slanting the ecosystembalance of species which are highly adaptable to changing conditions. Forexample, the increased amount of human-dominated landscape allows certainspecies to grow phenomenally, which can result in harm to species which relyexclusively on very scarce areas . A commonly referred to example of this is abird called the brown-headed cowbird. This bird is best characterized as anest parasite because it because it replaces the eggs of another specieswith eggs of their own , allowing the other species to incubate and raise theiryoung. Their increased numbers have had negative effects on the reproductivesuccessfulness of many forest-dwelling birds. In addition to titling theecosystem balance in favor of species which are highly adaptable, the loss ofhabitat associated with habitat fragmentation may simply cause the other, lessadaptable species rates to decline.

    A man named James Saunders documents oneremarkable example of how changing large expansive areas of the birds of thewheatbelt of western Australlia as a result of fragmentation. He showed that 41%of the birds native to the region have decreased in range or abundance since the1900s and indicated that almost all of these changes resulted directly fromhabitat fragmentation and the decline in abundance of native vegetation. Although some species have increased in abundance, he noted that many morespecies have been adversely affected than have benefited. Importantly, thespecies that typically increase in abundance or range when habit fragmentationoccurs are those which are adapted for being adaptable. In other words, theirresource needs can be met by a variety of conditions, and thus often by humanactivities by reducing their competition with other species.

    Because of this,these species which benefit by human activities are not the ones we need tomanage for and protect. Instead, we need to protect those species which areadapted solely for survival in the rapidly disappearing unfragmented habitat. Besides physically changing a part of the original habitat, decreasing the sizeof the original habitat can reduce the biological diversity of an area inseveral ways. Reducing biodiversity of an area may occur if habitat fragmentsare smaller than the home range of the animal with the largest home range thatexisted within the intact ecosystem.

    Many birds have large home ranges becausethey require patchily distributed resources. For example, one breeding pair ofivory billed woodpeckers require five to six square miles of undisturbedcontiguous bottomland forest, and a single European goshawk requires twenty toforty-five miles for his home range. If a habitat fragment exists that issmaller than the minimum area required by a given species, individuals of thatspecies will not likely be found within that habitat fragment. For example, theLouisiana waterthrush is rarely found in small woodlots because they requireopen water within their home range, and most small woodlots do not haveyear-round streams or ponds. If a species requires two or more habitat types,they are often susceptible to local extinction due to habitat fragmentation,because often they are unable to freely move between the different habitattypes. The blue-grey gnathatcher moves from decidous woodland to chapparral (awarm area) during the breeding season, and if one of the two habitat types cannot be readily accesed, they are very susceptable to local extinction.

    Loss ofany species from a community may have secondary effects that revrberatethroughout the ecosystem. For example, loss of a top predator from an areabecause the fragment is too small can cause numbers of small omnivores toincrease, which in turn may cause excessive predation pressureon songbird eggsand hatchlings, ultimately resulting in reproductive sucess. Tropicalcommunities are oftem more susceptable to loss of biological diversity thantemperate communuities, because tropical species typically are found in lowerdensities, are less widely distributed, and often have weaker dispersalcapabilities. Many tropical species have evolved in that they have changed theirroles that they play in the rainforest.

    An example of this occurance is thecassowary, an Austrailan rainforest frugivore, (or an animal that primarilyfeeds on fruit) is extremely susceptable to local extinction by habitatfragmentation because its habitat requirement of large coniguous rainforestareas is compounded by its unique plant-seed despersal evolvment. This large,flightless bird wanders nomadically in search of very large seeds, many of whichneed to be digested before they will germanate. Youlll rember that earlieranother example of this situation in which the dodo bird became extinct. Thedodo bird digested seeds of the calvaria tree. But when the dodo bird becameextinct due to overhunting by humans, the calvaria tree, which made the seeds tobe digested by the dodo bird to sprout its plants started not to sproutseeds.

    In the Rainforests, their are many such instances like this. Butunfortunately, many of them go unnoticed and thus, each day many of therainforest plants and animals go extinct. Besides being home to extinction-pronespecies, tropical communities are prone to destruction and fragmentation becauseof their physical location, overlapping with the geographical birders of thethird world nations. In these nations, citizens often rely on the revenuesraised from rainforest timber or cattle raised on cleared land for survival. This constant pressure on rainforest communities leads to excessive habitatfragmentation. Small isolated fragments result, leading to an altered ecosystembalance.

    On the tropical island of Java, where almost all of the originalhabitat remaining exists in reserves, a group of ecologists have assessed thestatus of all of the birds of prey found in the rainforest habitat. Nearly allthe raptors were extremely rare outside the reserves, as expected. They alsofound that the larger the reserve was, the denser the birds populations werewithin the reserve. Interestingly, a scientist named Lovejoy (I couldnt findhis first name) in 1986 found a similar phenomena with Amazonian birds in theBiological Dynamics of forest project (BDFF) in Brazil.

    The primary goal of theproject is to discover how rainforest communities respond after an intactecosystem is split into different size fragments. They found a crowding effect,in which the abundance of birds in a forest fragment increased significantlydirectly after deforestation of the adjacent area. The increased number of birdswas attributed to the migration of birds from the newly clear-cut area to theforest fragment. This crowding effect decreased with increasing size of a forestfragment. Both tropical and temperate communities, however, are prone to thesame problems of inbreeding and loss of genetic variability, which results fromisolating subpopulations of plants and animals from each other due to habitatfragmentation. If too large a distance exists between two fragments and aspecies are unable to disperse across the area in between, the population isessentially divided.

    Inbreeding may result if the subpopulation in a givenfragment is small. This has not been directly documented, but it is possible. Size of a fragment and the amount of edge are inextricably linked. Abrupt edgesoften results form fragmenting and ecosystem, in contrast to the more gradualnatural ecotones. Edge positively impacts many species of plants and animals,but as mentioned previously, the species which benefit typically are those whichdo not require human protection and management because they can easily meettheir resource need outside of the intact ecosystem. The scientists from theBDFF project point out one exception.

    Tamarins and marmosets, both species inneed of protection , flourish in small tropical rainforest reserves because ofthe luxurian growth of early successional plant species, and the lack of largepredators which are unable to exist in the smaller reserves. Certainly , asystem of only small reserves would not suffice to protect the genetic heritageof biological diversity in the tropical rainforest, but a heterogeneous mosaicof large and small reserves may provide the best alternative. Although edge hastypically been associated with an increase in species richness, researchers areincreasingly documenting how edge effects negatively impact the native plantsand animals. The BDFF researchers pointed out that although the number ofspecies may be higher in edge that the adjacent interior habitat, speciesdiversity is usually not. Diversity takes into account not only raw number ofspecies, but the relative abundance of the species present. Another potentiallyadverse effect of edge is that it inherently reduces the size of the habitatinterior because of the many physical changes which occur where and edge iscompared to a human dominated area.

    Most documented cases of edge effects arefrom forest edges, so I will focus on them. In addition to the luxuriant growthof shade-intolerant vegetation at a forest edge in response to the increase inavailable light, a seed rain bombards the forest interior, often fromintroduced exotics. The increased exposure to wind causes a higher rate oftreefalls and tree mortality, and temperature and humidity are quite differentat the edge than in the forest interior. These physical changes affect theplants and animals of the habitat. Lovejoy and others, in the BDFF project inBrazil, found that the understory birds tend to avoid artificial edges. Theyfound 38% fewer birds 10 meters from clearing than 50 meters into the forest,and 60% fewer birds 10 meters from a clearing than 1 km into undisturbed forest.

    An interesting item is that they did not find a lower abundance of birds aroundnatural edges, such as interior treefall gaps. Several authors that I have readhave suggested that the abundance of birds decreases near an artificial edge dueto decreased Nest success. Nest success near edge decreased because of theincrease in generalist predators and brood parasites. As mentioned earlier,populations of brown-headed cowbirds, a brood parasite, have increasedtremendously as a direct result of human activity, these birds have a negativeimpact on the nesting success of forest songbirds that nest near the forestedge. Studies show that while vegetational changes may extend from 300-600meters into a fragment.

    This makes sense when one considers that althoughgeneralist predators such as raccoons, cowbirds, and chipmunks may concentratetheir activity near the edge, they certainly also can frequent the forestinterior, often to the damage of those species which rely exclusively on forestinterior. To reduce how far edge effects penetrate into a natural habitat, abiologist Bernard Harris, proposed a system of long-rotation islands, in whichand old-growth center is surrounded by various age stands of timber. This systemprovides some edge for those species which benefit from it, while minimizing theamount of edge between the old-growth center stand and the surrounding stands. Now, to the final section of this term paper, the role that environmentalistsplay and some of the reasons that they are trying to save it. Rainforests coverless that two percent of the Earths surface, yet they are home to some 40 to50 percent of all life forms on our planet, as many as 30 million species ofplants, animals, and insects.

    The Rainforests are quite simply, the richest,oldest, most productive, and most complex ecosystems on Earth. As biologistNorman Meyers notes, Rainforests are the finest celebration of nature as everknown on the planet, and never before has natures greatest orchestration beenso threatned. (4) His quote is quite true. The following facts listed aredirect proof of how the Tropical Rainforests are being depleted. Global Rates ofDestruction 2.

    4 acres per second: equivalent to two U. S. football fields 149acres per minute 214,000 acres per day: an area larger than New York City 78million acres per year: an area larger than Poland In Brazil 5. 4 million acresper year 6-9 million indigenous people inhabited the Brazilian rainforest in1500. In 1992, less than 200,000 Species Extinction Distinguished scientistsestimate and average of 137 species of life forms are driven into extinctionevery day or 50,000 each year. While you were reading the above statistics,approximately 90 acres of rainforest were destroyed.

    Within the next hourapproximately six species will become extinct. While extinction is a naturalprocess, the alarming rate of extinction today, comparable only to theextinction of the dinosaurs, is specifically human-induced and unpreceeded. Experts agree that the number one cause of extinction is habitat destruction. Quite simply, when habitat is reduced, species disappear. In the Rainforests,logging, cattle ranching, mining, oil extraction, and hydroelectric dams allcontribute to rainforest destruction and produce many undesired effects in theenvironment such as global warming, depletion of the ozone layer, and depletionof the earths natural resources. But now, there may be some help for therainforest.

    Until recently, few vacationers would even dream of visiting arainforest. But travelers are now abandoning the traditional beach vacation tovisit remote, unspoiled areas all over the world. They try to avoid the fastpace and congestion of the traditional tourist centers, opting instead for moreadventure, stimulation and a desire to learn while on vacation. This growingtrend of travel has come to be known as ecotourism. Though there are manydefinitions of ecotourism, the term is most commonly used to describe anyrecreation in natural surroundings. The Ecotourism Society adds socialresponsibilities to define ecotourism as purposeful travel to natural areasto understand the culture and natural history of the environment, taking carenot to alter the integrity of the ecosystem, while producing economicopportunities that make the conservation of natural resources beneficial tolocal people(5) However defined, ecotourism is a force shaping the use of thetropical Rainforests.

    This will be even more true in the future due toecotourisms rapid growth. Global tourism is one of the largest industry inthe world and ecotourism is the fastest growing segment of the industry. Tourismis largely responsible for saving the gorillas of Rwanda from extinction. Thegorilla was threatened by both poachers and local farmer, whose land clearingpractices were destroying the gorillas natural habitat. Rwandas Parc desVolcans, created by Dian Fossey as a wildlife preserve, has become aninternational attraction and the third largest source of foreign exchange forRwanda. Revenues from the $170-a-day fee that visitors will pay to enter thepark have allowed the government to create anti-poaching patrols and employlocal farmers as park guides and guards.

    Even this success is danger from thecivil war that is encroaching and endangering both the forest and touristindustry. If ecotourism is going to be influential in saving Rainforests, incomefrom tourism must reach the people who will ultimately decide the forestsfuture. Unfortunately, too often the money generated does not benefit thesepeople. Instead, it goes to developed countries, where the tourists originated,giving little economic protection to the forests.

    Profits leak back to thedeveloped nations through tour operators, plane tickets, foreign ownedaccommodations and use of non-local supplies. The World Bank estimates thatworldwide only 45 percent of tourisms revenue reaches the host country. Inless developed areas, the percentage is often lower. One study of the popularecotourism destination of the Annapurna region of Nepal found that only 10 centsof every dollar spent stayed on the local economy.

    Within the country, the moneymay end up in the large cities of in the hands of the wealthy elite. Touristdollars should help to acquire and improve management of conservation areas onwhich the tourism is based, but money from tourism does not often end up withthe agencies that manage these areas. In Costa Rica, the park service does notearn enough money from its entrance fees to manage and protect its numerousparks. Only 25% of its budget comes from fees; the other three quarters mustcome from donations.

    Tourists often resent paying large sums of money onentrance fees. Although these fees are only a small portion of the money spenton a trip they can be the most important dollars spent in protecting theresource because they go directly toward protecting the site. Theenvironmentalists and government officials play a vital part in the protectionof the Rainforests. Without them, all of the Rainforests would probably be gone.

    (4) In conclusion, the Rainforests, the lungs of the earth will be gone in justa few years if the current rates of destruction continue. But luckily, there areenvironmentalists there to protect the rainforest and potentially protecting ourlives. I say protecting our lives because in the past 100 years the earthstemperature has risen one degree Fahrenheit. This may sound small andinsignificant but it is very serious.

    Combined with global pollution from cars,factories, etc. the depletion of the Rainforest has caused the level of theearths air quality to lower, more arctic icebergs to melt causing waterlevels to rise around the world causing more erosion and nameless other effects. If within 20 years, more is not being done estimates the rainforest actionnetwork, our earth will begin to change into a hot planet, flaming with CO2,with clouds made up of sulfuric acid, much like the planet Venus. (11) Thesefactors, in the advanced stage of Global Warming are what the earth is coming toif something is not being done soon about the destruction of the tropicalRainforests and various other types of pollution.

    The earth will become a deathtrap for the human race unless we act now!Geography

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