Rain Forest

Long ago, the Earth had a green belt of rain forests around its middle that covered almost twelve percent of the earth\'s land surface.(Miller & Berry 3) Today, the rain forest covers two percent of the earth\'s land surface and it is declining rapidly. The following will be a description of the rain forest, factors in its destruction, and if there are any answers to slow or halt the process. "Today, as we enter the last decade of the twentieth century, we have reached a turning point; we can no longer use the excuse of ignorance."(Hammond 2) People need to try harder to stop rain forest depletion. There are two major areas on earth where rain forests are located. One of these areas is called "The Old World Tropics," which includes Africa and Asia. In Africa, the rain forests are primarily located around the Zaire river. The other area in which rain forests are located is called "The New World Tropics," which contains Central and South America. The New World tropics are in lower altitudes as opposed to the Old World tropics, which are at higher altitudes. Rain forests are located around the equator. This location of the rain forests makes them warm and humid all year round. There are never cold winters in the rain forests. During winter in the rain forests, people comfortably are able to wear T-shirts and shorts. The rain forest has a rainy season which usually lasts most of the year. "The rain forests of the world are home to more than half of the animal species that live on earth."(CSIRO 1) Many of these creatures are some of the most beautiful and odd creatures in the world, Such as the large rodent Capybara, the Anteater, and many different colorful exotic birds. There are many beautiful creatures living in our Earth\'s rain forests. Many people are ignorant to the effects of rain forest depletion on our environment, and this ignorance is a major cause in the beginning of the destruction of the rain forests. "European settlers exploited the rain forests for timber and cleared them for agricultural purposes."(Parish 4) "The name scrub, which was originally applied to the rain forest by European settlers, became a term for land seen as useless until subject to ax, fire, and plough."(Parish 4) People did not think of the affects on the environment because the little knowledge that was known about the affects was not very widespread. Another cause in the destruction of the rain forest is people\'s values. "Many people value species according to their worth to human beings."(Miller & Berry 3) People often ignore the problems with the environment simply because they do not want to deal with it. "Natural checks against over exploitation have been ignored because those who are now consuming the products of the rain forest are not those who experience the immediate effects of its degredation."(Hammond 2) Many people believe that they will not live long enough to face the consequences of the destruction but they do not realize how fast the rain forests are depleting. Recently in Borneo\'s Sarawak rain forest, 24 cavers and scientists are braving the rain forests elements and creatures to save the regions natural riches. The cavers and scientists are trying to find plant and animal life diverse enough to protect it from mining and to declare it a national park. "Whether the government sets aside the area this year, in five years or never depends on what\'s discovered out there."(Webster 5) This is a case that often occurs in rain forests. Many governments see no reason to protect the rainforest unless there is an important plant or creature that lives in it. "With chain saws, bulldozers, and other powerful equipment, we can bring the giant trees of the rain forest, the very symbol of strength and majesty, crashing to the ground from their lofty heights in just a few hours."(Miller & Berry 3) All of this destruction and havoc is leading our world straight into events that will threaten life on earth itself. Some of the possible results in the future if the depletion does not stop immediately are global warming and increasing ultra violet radiation as the ozone layer of the atmosphere thins. "Already