The atmosphere and oceans are not the only parts of the environment being damaged. Rain forests are being quickly destroyed as well, and their survival is questionable.Unlike some environmental issues, rain forest depletion has fortunately received significant public and media attention.
E.O. Wilson, a biologist at Harvard, called the depletion of rain
forest areas "the greatest extinction since the end of the age of dinosaurs."
Despite the opposition to the cutting down of rain forests, the problem continues. Every year, Brazil chops down an area of forest the size of the state of Nebraska.
In addition to the Amazon's rain forests, many other forests are
being cut down as well. In Indonesia, Zaire, Papua-New Guinea, Malaysia, Burma, the Philippines, Peru, Colombia, Bolivia, and Venezuela, rain forests that were once great have been lost.
According to some estimates, 50 million acres of rain forest are cut down every year. The United Nations says the figure is closer to 17 million acres. The World Wildlife Fund
says that every minute, 25 to 50 acres are cut or burned to the ground.
The world's growing population has been a primary cause of rain forest destruction. More people need land to live on and wood products to consume. Limiting population growth may be the first in a series of steps that would limit the destruction of the rain forests.Photo essay on rain forest ecologyRain forest animals