The Tropical Rainforests of the World
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 people of the rainforest, and I will explore a new topic in the fight to save the rainforest, habitat fragmentation.
Tropical rainforests are bursting with life. Not only do millions of species of plants and animals live in rainforests, but may 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, form food to medicines to clothing, comes from the forest.
Besides hunting, 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 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 practised by those thrives 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.
Most tribal children don’t go to schools like ours. Instead, they learn about the forest around tem form 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.
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.”