Source: Deforestation Rates in Tropical Forests and Their Climatic Implications



Rainforests cover less than two percent of the Earth's

surface, yet they are home to some 50 to 70 percent of

all life forms on our planet.


The rainforests are quite

simply, the richest, oldest, most productive and most

complex ecosystems on Earth.


As biologist Norman

Myers notes, "Rainforests are the finest celebration of

nature ever known on the planet." And never before

has nature's greatest orchestration been so threatened.





Global Rates of Destruction


2.47 acres (1 hectare) per second: equivalent to two U.S. football fields


150 acres (60 hectares) per minute


214,000 acres (86,000 hectares) per day: an area larger than New York City


78 million acres (31 million hectares) per year: an area larger than Poland


In Brazil


5.4 million acres per year (estimate averaged for period 1979-1990)


6-9 million indigenous people inhabited the Brazilian rainforest in 1500.


In1992, less than 200,000 remain.




Species Extinction


Distinguished scientists estimate an average of 137 species of life forms are driven

into extinction every day, or 50,000 each year.




Projected Economic Value of One Hectare in the

Peruvian Amazon


$6,820 per year if intact forest is sustainably harvested for fruits, latex, and timber


$1,000 if clear-cut for commercial timber (not sustainably harvested)


or $148 if used as cattle pasture


While you were reading the above statistics, approximately 150 acres of rainforest were



Within the next hour approximately six species will become extinct.


While extinction is a natural process, the alarming rate of extinction today, comparable only to the

extinction of the dinosaurs, is specifically human-induced and unprecedented. Experts agree that

the number-one kause of extinction is habitat destruction.


Quite simply, when habitat is reduced, species disappear.


In the rainforests, logging, cattle ranching, mining, oil extraction, hydroelectric dams and

subsistence farming are the leading causes of habitat destruction.


Indirectly, the leading threats to rainforest ecosystems are unbridled development,

funded by international aid-lending institutions such as the World Bank,

and the voracious consumer appetites of industrialized nations.


If deforestation continues at current rates, scientists estimate nearly 80-90 percent of tropical

rainforest ecosystems will be destroyed by the year 2020.


Source: Deforestation Rates in Tropical Forests and Their Climatic Implications