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Tropical Rainforests Of The World Essay, Research Paper

In this term paper, I will explain the great importance of the tropical

Rainforests around the world and discuss the effects of the tragedy of

rainforest destruction and the effect that it is having on the earth. I will

talk about the efforts being made to help curb the rate of rainforest

destruction and the peoples of the rainforest, and I will explore a new topic

in the fight to save the rainforest, habitat fragmentation. Another topic being

discussed is the many different types of rainforest species and their

uniqueness from the rest of the world. First, I will discuss the many species of rare and exotic animals, Native to

the Rainforest. Tropical Rainforests are home to many of the strangest looking

and most beautiful, largest and smallest, most dangerous and least frightening,

loudest and quietest animals on earth. There are many types of animals that

make their homes in the rainforest some of them include: jaguars, toucans,

parrots, gorillas, and tarantulas. There are so many fascinating animals in

tropical rainforest that millions have not even identified yet. In fact, about

half of the world?s species have not even been identified yet. But sadly, an

average of 35 species of rainforest animals are becoming extinct every day. So many species of animals live in the rainforest than any other parts of the

world because rainforests are believed to be the oldest ecosystem on earth.

Some forests in southeast Asia have been around for at least 100 million years,

ever since the dinosaurs have roamed the earth. During the ice ages, the last

of which occurred about 10,000 years ago, the frozen areas of the North and

South Poles spread over much of the earth, causing huge numbers of extinctions.

But the giant freeze did not reach many tropical rainforests. Therefore, these

plants and animals could continue to evolve, developing into the most diverse

and complex ecosystems on earth. The nearly perfect conditions for life also help contribute to the great number

of species. With temperatures constant at about 75-80 degrees Fahrenheit the

whole year, the animals don?t have to worry about freezing during the cold

winters or finding hot shade in the summers. They rarely have to search for

water, as rain falls almost every day in tropical rainforests. Some rainforest species have populations that number in the millions. Other

species consist of only a few dozen individuals. Living in limited areas, most

of these species are found nowhere else on earth. For example, the maues

marmoset, a species of monkey, wasn?t discovered until recently. It?s entire

tiny population lives within a few square miles in the Amazon rainforest. This

species of monkey is so small that it could fit into a persons hand! In a rainforest, it is difficult to see many things other than the millions of

insects creeping and crawling around in every layer of the forest. Scientists

estimate that there are more than 50 million different species of invertebrates

living in rainforests. A biologist researching the rainforest found 50

different of ants on a single tree in Peru! A few hours of poking around in a

rainforest would produce several insects unknown to science. The constant search for food , water, sunlight and space is a 24-hour pushing

and shoving match. With this fierce competition, it is amazing that that so

many species of animals can all live together. But this is actually the cause

of the huge number of the different species. The main secret lies in the ability of many animals to adapt to eating a

specific plant or animal, which few other species are able to eat. An example

of such adaptations would be the big beaks of the toucans and parrots. Their

beaks give them a great advantage over other birds with smaller beaks. The

fruits and nuts from many trees have evolved with a tough shell to protect them

from predators. In turn toucans and parrots developed large, strong beaks,

which serves as a nutcracker and provides them with many tasty meals. Many animal species have developed relationships with each other that benefit

both species. Birds and mammal species love to eat the tasty fruits provided

by trees. Even fish living in the Amazon River rely on the fruits dropped from

forest trees. In turn, the fruit trees depend upon these animals to eat their

fruit, which helps them to spread their seeds to far – off parts of the forest. In some cases both species are so dependent upon each other that if one becomes

extinct, the other will as well. This nearly happened with trees that relied

on the now extinct dodo birds. They once roamed Mauritius, a tropical island

located in the Indian Ocean. They became extinct during the late 19th century

when humans overhunted them. The calvaria tree stopped sprouting seeds soon

after. Scientists finally concluded that, for the seeds of the calvaria tree

to sprout, they needed to be digested by the dodo bird. By force feeding the

seeds to a domestic turkey, who digested the seeds the same way as the dodo

bird, the trees were saved. Unfortunately, humans will not be able to save

each species in this same way. Each species has evolved with its own set of unique adaptations, ways of

helping them to survive. Every animal has the ability to protect itself from

being someone?s next meal. To prevent the extinction of a species each and

every species must develop a defense tactic. The following are just a few of

Mother Nature?s tricks. ? CAMOFLAGE

The coloring of some animals acts as protection from their predators. Insects

play some of the best hide-and-go-seek in the forest. The ?walking stick? is

one such insect; it blends in so well with the palm tree it calls its home that

no one would notice unless it?s moved. Some butterflies, when they close their

wings, look exactly like leaves. Camouflage also works in reverse, helping

predators, such as boa constrictors, sneak up on unsuspecting animals and

surprise them. ? SLOW AS A SNAIL

The tree-toed sloth is born with brown fur, but you would never know this by

looking at it. The green algae that makes its home in the sloths fur helps it

to blend in with the tops of the trees, the canopy, where it makes it?s home.

But even green algae isn’t the only thing living in a sloth?s fur; it is

literally ?bugged? with a variety of insects. 978 beetles were once found

living on one sloth. The sloth has other clever adaptations. Famous for its snail-like pace; it is

one of the slowest moving animals on earth. It is so slow that it often takes

up to a month to digest it?s food. Although its tasty meat would make a good

meal for jaguars and other predators, most do not notice the sloth as it hangs

in the trees, high up in the canopy. ? DEADLY CREATURES

Other animals don?t want to announce their presence to the whole forest. Armed

with dangerous poisons used in life threatening situations, their bright colors

warn predators to stay away. This enables them to survive everyday emergency

situations. The coral snake of the Amazon, with its brilliant red, yellow, and black

coloring, is recognized as one of the most beautiful snakes in the world, but

it is just as deadly as it is beautiful. The coral snake?s deadly poison can

kill in seconds. Other animals know to stay away from it. The poison arrow frog also stands out with its brightly colored skin. It’s

skin produces some of the strongest natural poison in the world, which

indigenous people often use for hunting purposes. It’s poison is now being

tested for use in modern medicine. In a single raiforest habitat, several species of squirels can live together

without harming one another. This bewilders many people, Louise Emmons found.

Why can nine species of squirrels live together? Well, in a brief summary each

of the nine species is a different size; three have specialized diets or

habitats, which leaves six species that feed on nuts, fruits and insects, and

so potentially compete for food. A closer look showed that three of the six, a

large, a medium, and a small one live in the forest canopy and never come to

the ground. The largest squirrel feeds mainly on very large, hard nuts, and

the smaller ones eat smaller fruits and nuts. The other three species, again a

large medium and small one live in the ground and eat fruits and nuts of the

same species as their canopy neighbors, but only after they fall to the ground. Tropical rainforests are bursting with life. Not only do millions of species

of plants and animals live in rainforests, but many people also call the

rainforest their home. In fact, Indigenous, or native, people have lived in

rainforests for thousands of years. In North and South America they were

mistakenly named Indians by Christopher Columbus, who thought that he had

landed in Indonesia, then called the East Indies. The native people of the rainforest live very different lives than us. In this

section, I will explain how very different our lives differ than from the

indigenous people of the rainforest. Although many indigenous people live very

much like we do, some still live as their ancestors did many years before them.

These groups organize their daily lives differently than our culture.

Everything they need to survive, from food to medicines to clothing, comes from

the forest. ? FOOD

Besides haunting, gathering wild fruits and nuts and fishing, Indigenous people

also plant small gardens for other sources of food, using a sustainable farming

method called shifting cultivating. First they clear a small area of land and

burn it. Then they plant many types of plants, to be used for food and

medicines. After a few years, the soil has become too poor to allow for more

crops to grow and weeds to start to take over. So they then move to a nearby

uncleared area. This land is traditionally allowed to regrow 10-50 years

before it is farmed again. Shifting cultivation is still practiced by those tribes who have access to a

large amount of land. However, with the growing number of non-Indigenous

farmers and the shrinking rainforest, other tribes, especially in Indonesia and

Africa, are now forced to remain in one area. The land becomes a wasteland

after a few years of overuse, and cannot be used for future agriculture. ? EDUCATION

Most tribal children don?t go to schools like ours. Instead, they learn about

the forest around them from their parents and other people in the tribe. They

are taught how to survive in the forest. They learn how to hunt and fish, and

which plants are useful as medicines or food. Some of these children know more

about rainforests than scientists who have studied rainforests for many years. The group of societies known as Europeans includes such cultures such as

Spanish and German. Similarly, the broad group, Indigenous peoples includes

many distinct culture groups, each with its own traditions. For instance,

plantains (a type of banana) are a major food source for the Yanonami from the

Amazon while the Penan of Borneo, Southeast Asia, depend on the sago palm (a

type of palm tree) for food and other uses. All Indigenous people share their strong ties to the land. Because the

rainforest is so important for their culture, they want to take care of it.

They want to live what is called a sustainable existence, meaning they use the

land without doing harm to the plants and animals that also call the rainforest

their home. As a wise Indigenous man once said, ?The earth is our historian,

our educator, the provider of food, medicine, clothing and protection. She is

the mother of our races.?(11) Indigenous peoples have been losing their lives and the land they live on ever

since Europeans began colonizing 500 years ago. Most of them died from common

European diseases which made Indigenous people very sick because they had never

had these diseases before. A disease such as the flu could possibly kill an

indigenous person because he/she has not been exposed to this disease before.

Many Indigenous groups have also been killed by settlers wanting their land, or

put to work as slaves to harvest the resources of the forest. Others were

converts to Christianity by missionaries, who forced them to live like

Europeans and give up their cultural traditions. Until about forty years ago, the lack of roads prevented most outsiders from

exploiting the rainforest. These roads, constructed for timber and oil

companies, cattle ranchers and miners, have destroyed millions of acres each

year. All of the practices force Indigenous people off their land. Because they do

not officially own it, governments and other outsiders do not recognize their

rights to the land. They have no other choice but to move to different areas,

sometimes even to the crowded cities. They often live in poverty because they

have no skills useful for a city lifestyle and little knowledge about the

culture. For example, they know more about gathering food from the forest than

buying food from a store. It?s like being forced to move to a different

country, where you knew nothing about the culture or language. Indigenous groups are beginning to fight for their land, most often through

peaceful demonstrations. Such actions may cause them to be arrested or even to

lose their lives, but they know that if they take no action, their land and

culture could be lost forever. Kaypo Indians, for example, recently spoke to

the United States Congress to protest the building of dams in the Amazon, and

were arrested when they arrived back in Brazil, accused of being traitors to

their own country. In Malaysia, the Penean have arrested for blocking logging

roads. Many people living outside of rainforests went to help protect the Indigenous

people?s culture. They understand that Indigenous people have much to teach us

about rainforests. Since we (the US and other countries) have been working

with the Indigenous People and other rainforest protection agencies, we have

learned many things about the forest, including it?s ecology, medicinal plants,

food and other products. It has also showed us how crucial it is for the

Indigenous people of the rainforest to continue their daily and traditional

activities because of their importance in the cycle if the rainforest. It has

shown us that they have the right to practice their own lifestyle, and live

upon the land where there ancestors have lived before them. (2) One such example of a invasion of the Ingenious people?s privacy is a new so

called ?emergency? called the Cofan Emergency. This dispute is about an

Indigenous tribe called the Cofan. Historically, the Cofan occupied some half

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