Today is World Rainforest Day. Home to nearly half of the planet’s plants and animals, rainforests perform the crucial function of absorbing carbon dioxide and stabilizing the climate pattern. Rainforests are vital for the survival of life on Earth. Unfortunately, tropical rainforests are vanishing fast. Tropical rainforests are home to nearly 30 million species of plants and animals, according to the conservation.org. On World Rainforest Day, it’s important to remember three things: Protect forests, Restore habitats and Support sustainable livelihoods.
Through the Forest, Agriculture & Commodity Trade (FACT) Dialogue, the UK is bringing the world together to:
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— COP26 (@COP26) June 22, 2021
World Rainforest Day: Key facts to know about rainforests
- Over 40 per cent of the world’s oxygen is produced by rainforests.
- Rainforests are home to 80 per cent of the world’s terrestrial biodiversity.
- The livelihoods of 1.6 billion people depend on rainforests.
- More than a quarter of modern medicines, worth an estimated US$ 108 billion a year, originate from tropical forest plants.
- The carbon in forests exceeds the amount of carbon currently in the atmosphere.
What are rainforests?
Rainforests are the oldest living ecosystems on Earth. Incredibly diverse and complex, some of the rainforests are “surviving in their present form for at least 70 million years.” These forests typically receive over 2000 mm of rainfall every year. Some of the largest rainfotests are the Amazon in Brazil, the rainforests of Congo in Africa and Indonesia. Tropical rainforests are also found in the Pacific and Caribbean islands.
Rainforests are unique in terms of structure as well. Most of them have four layers: emergent, canopy, understory, and the forest floor. Each layer is different and there is fight for sunlight among the plants. The levels of water, sunlight and air is different in each layer. This makes rainforests an interdependent and complex ecosystem.