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Welcome to Hope For The Rain Forests
 
A Science-Based Resource Website About Rainforests

Rain Forests are one of the most important ecosystems in the world, and their importance to the well being of our planet is an established scientific fact. Extraordinary in terms of their biological diversity, tropical rainforests are a major resource for medicinal plants and thousands of forest products. They are home to countless species and many unique indigenous cultures, and play a key role in the global ecosystem in regulating weather and producing significant amounts of the world's oxygen.

Photograph by Liza Schillo

Indonsian Rain Forest, Photo by Bambang MertaniEXTENT OF RAINFORESTS: Tropical rainforests, clustered around the earth in a band on either side of the equator, cover 1,500,000 square miles, about 2% of the world's total land mass. Almost 60% are located in the Amazonian regions of Brazil, Columbia, Peru, Bolivia, Africa and Venezuela. Other regions of the world with significant tracts of tropical rain forests are  Papau-New Guinea, Burma and Indonesia.

Outside of the tropics, temperate rainforests are found in British Columbia, Oregon, Washington, Alaska, California's northern coast, the Caucasus region of Georgia, Norway, Scotland, parts of the Balkans, Japan, Tasmania, Chile, New Zealand and Australia.

BIODIVERSITY: Rainforests contain an incredible variety of different flora and fauna, with the total number of species numbering over 10 million. Rainforests are home to two-thirds of all the living animal and plant species on the planet and it has been estimated that many hundreds of millions of new species of plants, insects and microorganisms are still undiscovered. Tropical forests are regions of the highest biodiversity found anywhere on earth,  far more than any other region. The whole of the North American continent, for example,  is home to approximately 17,000 plants species while a  much smaller area, the Amazonian Basin, has over 50,000.

 

IMPORTANCE: The rain forests of the world are supremely important to the world ecosystem as climatic and environmental stabilizers. The trees of the rain forests bind up over 200 billion tons of carbon in their bodies, carbon that otherwise might be in the form of carbon dioxide and contribute to the growing greenhouse effect.  Without healthy rain forests, the global warming problem we are now experiencing will seem minor in comparison.

Rainforests also are the source for a large number of products that are of importance to man, including timber, nuts, fruits, oils, and spices and 25% of all prescription pharmaceuticals are derived from plants found there. The medicinal potential and promise of rain forests has barely been touched, and only one in ten tropical rain forest plants have even been studied for medicinal uses.

While developing new drugs to treat disease can improve the wellness of people around the world, it is important to remember that protecting the rainforest is a priority too. This may not be the first thing on the mind of a doctor or dentist South Jersey who has patients in need of care, but doctors and dentists should consider what the ramifications of rainforest destruction mean for the entire planet.