In the last nightmare we had, there were no trees left on Earth.
Remember that creepy old man?
Now, I don't think that every single tree on Earth will go missing anywhere in the near future, but the Earth does seem to be losing trees at an alarming rate.
A lot of these trees are located in the rainforests.
Have you ever wondered what would happen on Earth if there were no trees left in the rainforest?
We all notice the stuff happening around, like deforestation of these rainforests around the world, and the constant wildfires burning large chunks of the forest.
Deforestation is depleting so many trees from the rainforest on a daily basis that it seems like there won’t be any left soon.
And that’s why I’m here today.
I’m going to be your tour guide through a time where the rainforests have vanished off the face of planet Earth.
Let’s find out what happens, shall we?
Rainforests provide areas for animals to live
About 50 percent of all Earth’s plants and animals live in rainforests.
Unfortunately, losing the rainforest means we will most likely lose these plants and animals completely.
Why does this matter?
Did you know that plants in tropical rainforests make up about 70 percent of the plants used to treat cancers? That’s over 2000 different types of plants!
Or that rainforests are responsible for a quarter of natural medicines that have been discovered?
And scientists have only had the chance to analyze less than a percent of plants for their properties. That means there is a very good chance that there are medicines that we haven’t even discovered yet and we might not if deforestation continues.
The rainforests are also home to many species of animals that depend on the environment of the rainforest for survival. There isn’t anywhere else for them to go.
Right now, the Earth is losing somewhere between 5 and 10 percent of species every decade.
In that time, we will have lost 560,000 acres of forest.
Rainforests act as a natural air filter
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture trees clean out the air by absorbing pollutants such as chlorine, sulfur dioxide, and fluorides, along with carbon dioxide, and turning some of them into their own nutrients.
Pretty crazy, huh?
Trees help purify the air by trapping certain air pollutants on very small hairs or spines on their leaves.
They then absorb those pollutant particles in through their leaves.
These particles are dangerous for humans to breathe in. Pollution can cause all sorts of problems from shortness of breath to asthma to lung cancer.
The rainforest helps prevent these types of problems in humans from air pollution.
Sadly, we will probably see an increase in these problems as rainforests get smaller and smaller.
Rainforests help prevent the increase in global warming
Trees absorb carbon dioxide, the gas that raises the temperature of the Earth’s atmosphere and is a major factor in global warming.
Without our rainforests we would be missing out on 2 billion tons of carbon dioxide being eliminated from our atmosphere each year.
That’s around 5 percent of the world’s 40 billion tons of annual emissions.
What’s going to happen if there is more carbon dioxide in the air?
Carbon dioxide and water vapor are two major gasses that account for the Earth’s greenhouse effect.
If there is more carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, air temperatures will increase. With higher air temperatures more water gets evaporated into the air, which increases greenhouse heating.
And that’s how you end up with a planet like Venus, whose surface is hot enough to melt lead. It won’t get that crazy, obviously.
But things that could happen are rising sea levels due to glaciers melting, different weather conditions, and shifting areas where different plants grow best.
The Earth’s average temperature has increased by 0.8 degrees Celsius or 1.4 degrees Fahrenheit in the last 100 years. That doesn’t seem like a lot, but that’s ten times faster than the average rate in the last 5000 years.
If predictions are right, the Earth’s average temperature could increase anywhere from 2 degrees Celsius to 6 degrees Celsius in the next 100 years.
Rainforests can help prevent soil erosion and landslides
Trees have roots. Who knew?
These roots help anchor down soil in the rainforests.
When the forests are cleared away there is nothing holding the soil.
The soil is then washed away in the rain. This is known as erosion.
Erosion poses many problems to both wildlife and people.
Fish have a hard time with their spawning grounds as water becomes clouded with silt. Farmers lose their topsoil to erosion.
Deforestation can also cause landslides on steep hills.
Without anything holding the soil in place, storms can wash tons of soil down mountains. Sometimes this can affect the places where people live.
Rainforests help people around the world get water
Rainforests play a very important role in the Earth’s water cycle.
Trees release water into the atmosphere during photosynthesis, which turn into clouds, and given back into the ecosystem when it rains.
If rainforests are cut down, the atmosphere loses much of that moisture, and that can lead to drought, which have happened in the Amazon in recent years.
But it doesn’t just affect the Amazon area.
It can affect anywhere, because the moisture released from rainforests travel all around the world.
Scientists have discovered rainfall in Texas that once originated in the Amazon. That’s around 3,100 miles (5,000 kilometers) away!
Farmers in these areas rely on rainforests’ moisture and they may not even know it.
So, you can see how...
...vital the rainforests are to every human on Earth.
Hopefully, humans don’t go down the road of all rainforests disappearing.
Time will tell if we do the right thing.
Spreading the word can make all the difference for the future of humanity.