Threats to the Rainforests


The biggest threat to the rainforest is man. The ever-expanding human population is exerting tremendous pressure on the resources and the space of the rainforest. This is a hillside which has been cleared of its trees through the traditional "slash-and-burn" technique. You can already see erosion washing gullies on either side of this hill.

Slash and burn

Crops on the hillside, Phillipines.

The land on even the steepest hillsides can be used to plant crops.

Not much rainforest life is left after the forest is cleared!

Slash and burn -ARIS photo

Deforested hills, Phillipines.

The huge island of Mindenao in the Phillipines used to be covered with rainforest. Finding a stand of trees is almost impossible now.

The burgeoning human population is threatening the very existence of rainforests around the world. This is temporary housing for displaced persons ("internal refugees") in Guatemala.

Refugee camp, Guatemala.

Will Tikal Survive Another 100 Years?

Are YOU destroying the rainforest?

Oil companies are pressuring the Guatemalan Government to allow them to explore and drill for oil in the Tikal Biosphere Preserve. Can it survive these pressures? Do you drive a larger car than you need to?

Tropical hardwoods are harvested much faster than they can be replaced for furniture and floors. Efforts have been underway for years to encourage the use of wood from tree farms rather than wild rainforest. Does YOUR local lumber store sell rainforest wood? See below for a success story!

Coming soon, to a neighborhood near you! Vacant land and development where a forest used to be! Can you do anything about it?

Forest for sale - near you.

School demonstration garden.

This school has developed demonstration gardens to help their students understand issues of water conservation. Students at a nearby school actually raised money to buy two vacant lots near the school and turn them back into wild land to provide a preserve for a locally-endangered bird!

Some schools have done environmental projects with the "Big Help" project of Nickolodeon.

Erna Nixon retired as a naturalist and moved to Florida in the 1960's. She discovered a wonderful little section of unspoiled land which was rapidly becoming a local trash dump, and was destined to be developed. She worked with county officials and others to preserve this spot as an example of traditional Florida Hammock (swampy low land). Today it is a wonderful, educational sanctuary in the middle of town!

Here's to you, Mrs. Nixon!

Boardwalk through the Erna Nixon Park

Your county government has much control over development and designation of land as wetlands, conservation land, etc. It's a good place to start to find out how you can help conserve wild space!

Do More Now:

Sierra Club Rainforest Action Network Kid's Action

Sierra Club - works locally and worldwide.

Rainforest Action Network -see below.

RAN - Kid's Action Network and ideas!

SUCCESS! RAN convinced Home Depot several years ago to sell only tropical woods that were certified as grown only under carefully managed conditions (such as treefarms). This past week (August, 2000), RAN and other organizations finally convinced Lowe's to do the same. This was the result of pressure from YOU - the consumer!

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