Just for a moment, think about being in a calm forest with a beautiful setting around you. Imagine trees everywhere surrounding you and sounds of bird in the background, accumulating to create the perfect calm atmosphere of the tropical rain forest. Tropical rain forest has become a fundamental ecosystem therefore this paper seeks to describe tropical rain forest and also illustrate the key issues that threaten this ecosystem. It also goes further by providing the possible solutions to overcome this problem.
The tropical rain forest is called so because rainfall is evenly distributed and therefore the climate is always wet. The tropical rain forest is characterized by tall tree canopy which provides a continuous cover to the underneath plants. Therefore the plants below the canopy are shielded from the sunlight and as a result they grow without branches. The temperatures have a minimum range of 20-30 degrees Celsius in each year since it does not experience any winter period (Newman 30).
It is worth to note that scientists have estimated over half of the plant and animal species to live in the tropical rainforest yet it only covers 6% of the earth surface. There are varieties of species of tree in a rain forest and this is established by a study which approximates 100-300 species of tree per hectare of the rainforest. There are about four layers of plant in a rain forest; emergent, upper canopy, understory and forest floor (Michael 10).
On the contrary, animal species are many in the tropical rainforest. Species which are likely to be found in large number are mammals and birds. However there are also amphibians and reptiles in the tropical rain forest. Apes are widely found in this type of forest. Insects are also found in large numbers which include mosquitoes, ants, conspicuous butterflies and camouflaged insects (Rhett 12).
Tropical rain forest is the major source of medicine. Scientific research points out that tropical rainforests are the principle sources of not less than a quarter of all medicines used by humans. For example, the quinine for treatment of malaria comes from the cinchona tree; curare comes from the tropical vine and diversity of plant species that are found on tropical rainforest (about 1400) are thought to have the ability to cure cancer (Simons 42).
The major threat to tropical rainforest is man and his activities. The ever expanding population of human race is causing pressure on the available resources found on the tropical rainforest. It is obvious that the available resources are limited while there is tremendous increase in human population. Consequently, the resources have been utilized to a maximum which has led to their dilapidation of which has a negative impact on the rainforest (Threats to the Rainforest par.3).
As a result of this, there is competition for the available resources and food therefore there is struggle for survival i.e. the strong animals will survive while the weak animals will die and become extinct. Many animals have become extinct since they can not compete with man for the available food and resources.
The second human activity that threats tropical rain forests is the clearing and burning of bushes which have caused a great destruction in the rain forest since it has led to soil erosion. Many people who are displaced from their home seek asylum in the tropical rainforest by creating new settlements. It is for this reason that people tend to encroach to areas of rainforest thereby damaging the resources (Threats to the Rainforest par 4).
The effect of clearing and burning of the rainforest is that the inhabitant animals are displaced from their habitats. They are forced to live in unfavorable condition and they eventually die. It is for this reason that most species of birds and animals have been endangered.
The third human activity that has caused havoc to the tropical rainforest is illegal logging. Trees are usually cut down in order to obtain timber for construction and to build other furniture. The trees found in the tropical rainforest are indigenous and takes longer time to grow hence can never be replaced easily. This has caused a significant damage to the tropical rainforest (Simons 12).
Illegal logging has destroyed habitats for the birds and therefore most of the birds’ species have been endangered while some of them have become extinct. Furthermore, there is a change in climate which has led to dry conditions that is unfavorable to plant and animal in the tropical rainforest.
Mining has proved to be a threat to the tropical rainforest. Many nations continue to explore their tropical rainforest in search of mineral and oil. Even though the mineral is found, it has proved to be unsustainable. Hence the damages of mining activity on tropical rainforest have proved to be greater than the benefits (Newman 18).
This is especially true because the ecosystem is destroyed resulting in unfavorable condition hence plant and animal species have been endangered.
One of the measures to solve these problems is to preserve the rainforest by protecting it against fire and clearing. Alternative settlement schemes should be built so that displaced person could settle there.
Another appropriate measure is to plant more trees in order to preserve the ones in tropical rainforest. Tropical trees are of high value and therefore should be protected from illegal loggers. Illegal logging should be banned since it has caused a major problem in tropical rainforest (Michael 22).
Lastly, unsustainable mining activity should be avoided since it causes more harm than good to the tropical rainforest.
In conclusion, tropical rainforest is of significant value since it is not only the home of various endangered animals but also it is a rich source of medicine. Therefore it is a challenge to the policy makers to design ways to protect the beauty nature of tropical rainforest.
Michael, George. Rainforest Biome. 2001. 19 February, 2011
Newman, Arnold. Tropical Rainforest: A World Survey of Our Most Valuable Endangered Habitat With a Blueprint for Its Survival. New York: Facts On File, 1990
Rhett, Butler. What you do to Help Save Rainforests. 19 February 2011
Simons, Barbra. Prentice Hall Science Explorer: Weather and Climate. Needham, MA: Prentice Hall, n.d.
Threats To The Rainforest. Rainforest Action Network. 19 February, 2011