We hear a lot about destruction of the Earth's tropical rainforests. But aside from being bad for the life in the rainforests, their destruction hurts the Earth. The negative effects of human deforestation stretch far past the borders of the tropical rainforests.
When the rainforests sustain damage, it disrupts the water cycle in the area, because there are fewer plants to vent water vapor into the air, reducing clouds and rainfall. Some areas even can become desert-like. Deforestation also contributes to a long-term increase in carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere. As trees burn, they release more carbon dioxide. With fewer plants around to absorb the gas, it floats up and contributes to already rising levels of dangerous greenhouse gases.
There are many potential catalysts for rainforest deforestation. Several different industries clear rainforest land for their needs. The paper industry, of course, needs the pulp a forest provides; ranchers and other agricultural interests clear land for crops; utilities burn trees to produce electricity while other power providers might flood the area for hydroelectric purposes; local farmers slash and burn rainforest for their own needs; mining interests cut away forests; loggers take down trees for all manner of uses of wood; and sometimes forests are cleared just to provide access roads, whether for industrial use of general population use [source: National Geographic].
Some of the solutions to preserving rainforests include educating people in affected areas to the harm caused by modern forest practices, and showing them that there is much to harvest in a rainforest that might otherwise be burned. Governments, too, could take a more protective line toward rainforests by limiting their use in new projects. Logging practices could be modified as well [source: National Geographic].
Activist organization Greenpeace also recommends consumers learn which of the paper products they use are harmful to the land and which are not. The group also has a number of initiatives aimed at protecting rainforest land [source: Greenpeace].
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