|Species in the tropical rainforest are some of the most at-risk, not only because their habitat is being destroyed so quickly, but because most have very limited ranges. There is enormous biodiversity in the rainforest, but many of these countless species exist only in a few hectares of forest and nowhere else in the world. If this area of forest is burned or cut, this species vanishes forever. Other species are scattered widely through larger areas, but if the forest is fragmented into small pieces surrounded by agriculture and development, there are not enough individuals in each area to reproduce.||
Tropical forests have the greatest biodiversity of any habitat in the world; they are also being cleared at an increasing pace. Photo by Maya Walters.
Tropical rainforests likely once covered nearly 25 million square miles. Estimates vary widely on how much is being lost every year. Many human activities directly or indirectly contribute to deforestation, and almost everywhere that there are lots of people, the forest is being destroyed. Millions of people now live in moist tropical regions. In the past forty years alone, 90 percent of the wet lowland forests in western Ecuador (a country on the west coast of South America) have been cleared. These vanished forests were once home to 10,000 species of plants, and about 2,500 of these were found nowhere else in the world.
[biodiversity] [forest life] [tropical forests]
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