World Rainforest Day
World Rainforest Day was first created in 2017 by the Rainforest Partnership. They work with Indigenous Peoples living in rainforest environments and launch projects to help restore and regenerate healthy rainforests with local communities. The day is about raising awareness of the importance of the rainforest and what it does for us. By coming together on the day, we can all take positive and hopeful action to protect the rainforest and preserve its lifespan as it has maintained our own lives for thousands of years.
Rainforests are vital for the survival of life on Earth, but you might be surprised at just how integral they are to life as we know it. They provide us with freshwater, absorb our carbon dioxide, stabilise climate patterns, are home to half the world’s plant and animal species, and help provide us with medicines. Yet every second, one and a half hectares is lost, while each year, 78 million hectares of precious rainforest are destroyed. Deforestation causes 15% of global carbon dioxide emissions that accelerate climate change, that's more than from all cars in the US and China combined. Natural climate solutions like protecting and restoring forests, however, could reverse global emissions by a third!
Now if you're anything like me, you might be surprised by some of the statistics related to the rainforests. Below I have selected a few of what I think are the most impressive and startling facts:
Did you know, tropical rainforests cover less than 3% of Earth's area, yet they are home to more than half our planet's terrestrial animal species!
Bengal tigers, mountain gorillas, orangutans, jaguars, and blue poison dart frogs are just a few of the magnificent animals found in rainforests. Sadly, many of these species are on the verge of extinction, and their continued existence is crucial to maintaining the balance of our delicate rainforest ecosystems.
Rainforest plants are used in some of the world's most important, life-saving medicines.
More than 60% of anticancer drugs originate from natural sources, including rainforest plants. Compounds in rainforest plants are already used to treat malaria, heart disease, bronchitis, hypertension, rheumatism, diabetes, muscle tension, arthritis, glaucoma, dysentery, and tuberculosis, among other health problems. And many commercially available anesthetics, enzymes, hormones, laxatives, cough mixtures, antibiotics, and antiseptics are also derived from rainforest plants and herbs.
Rainforests play an essential role in maintaining the Earth’s limited supply of fresh water.
Rainforests add water to the atmosphere through the process of transpiration - plants release water from their leaves during photosynthesis. Deforestation reduces the moisture released into the atmosphere, causing rainfall to decrease. This is why the loss of forests often leads to drought. Forests are also natural water filters, keeping pollution and debris from flowing into water supplies and slowing the movement of rainwater so it flows into underground reserves. Scientists estimate that about 15% of the world’s freshwater flows from the Amazon Basin alone.
World Rainforest Day was created to raise awareness and help people take decisive action to combat deforestation, reduce the effects of climate change, and protect our rainforests for future generations. To help us also celebrate their wonderful diversity and the bird life that inhabits them, I've found the below video which you can dip in and out of as you wish.
I don't know about you, but I think they're stunning! Certainly a little different from the birds we've been used to spotting in our gardens, or even the more unusual ones we've seen on Springwatch recently!