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What Is Destroying The Rainforests?

What is destroying the rainforest and what does this mean for the future of the planet?


Rainforests, the lush, biodiverse and massively important ecosystems that cover a small portion of our planet's surface, are under threat like never before. These beautiful forests, home to countless animal and plant species, are being rapidly destroyed. But, how and why? Is it climate change, the Earth's natural cycles, or is it the usual - humans?


forest fire
It's not too late, we can fix this

So, What is Destroying the Rainforests?

The leading cause of rainforest destruction is deforestation. Huge areas of forests are being cleared to make way for agriculture, primarily for commodities like soy to feed farm animals, palm oil and cattle ranching. The demand for these products, driven by a growing population and global trade, is causing the expansion of croplands into pristine rainforest areas. Most illegal deforestation, rainforest clearing, is done through fire. Massive areas of forest are set alight and left to burn, the razed land, with all life that had been there exterminated, is then claimed by people for commercial use.


Illegal logging is another commercial use of forests that is causing their death. Unsustainable logging, both legal and illegal, contributes to a significant amount of forest loss. Tress are felled for their timber without proper regulations or monitoring. Illegal logging happens in protected areas, parts of the forest that meant to be left alone, completely free from human disturbance, exacerbating deforestation and habitat degradation.


It is not well known that the rainforests also suffer from mining, the extraction of minerals and other resources poses a severe threat to rainforests. Mining for gold, oil, gas and minerals will involve the clearing of huge areas of the rainforest, killing plants and trees, displacing and killing animals; soil erosion begins, the ecosystem is destroyed. Mining, as with other human activities, need infrastructure, this means roads, dams, buildings, energy supplies and sewage systems. These projects breakup habitats, fragmenting once cohesive terrain. All of this activity poisons the land, pollution from vehicles, chemicals from the building work, mining, trash and sewage from humans living in the area ruin the air, soil and water ways.


One threat to rainforests that is not directly coming form humans is climate change. Rising temperatures, altered rainfall patterns and more frequent extreme weather events is harming the health and resilience of rainforest ecosystems, making them more vulnerable to other destructive forces such as pests, diseases and wildfires.


The Bottom Line

So, the answer to the question, what's destroying the rainforests? It's humans, you probably had that figured out before you started reading. Deforestation, logging, mining, ripping up the forest to lay roads, humans. Clearing land to grow crops for farm animals, striping the forest to raise cattle, humans. Understanding the causes and consequences of rainforest destruction is crucial for taking immediate action. Conservation efforts, sustainable land-use practices, responsible consumption and international cooperation are essential for preserving these invaluable ecosystems. By protecting rainforests, we will not only safeguard biodiveristy, but also contribute to mitigating climate change. And what about preserving the livelihoods of indigenous communities? Nobody thinks about them when they're eating their burger made from a cow that was farmed on what used to be their land, their home. We all have to play our part in securing the future of the rainforests for the planet as a whole. I'm certainly not doing it for people, I'm doing it for the non-human animals, the plants, the trees, the soil, water and air.


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