Contributors: Andrew Hansen, Connor Dillon, Dixie Poteet, & Laura Trewern


Deforestation Primarily Affects Both Temperate & Tropical Rainforests

Figure 1: Deforestation 1998-2005

Figure 2: Deforestation Throughout the World.

Figure 3: Deforestation in Mt. Saint Helen's, 2003

Why Threats to An Important Ecosystem (Rainforests) Are Bad For Us

Connor Dillon

Rain forests provide many benefits for the world and us humans. The following list is of some of these benefits, and shows why we need to protect rain forests from deforestation.

Figure 4: Man-made Deforestation.

  • Help maintain the water cycle and world's climate.

  • are a source for many foods and medicines throughout the globe.

  • provide a home to extraordinary amounts of plants and animals.

  • protect against floods, droughts, and erosion.

  • are a major resource for removing carbon dioxide from the air, and producing oxygen for the biotic factors of the ecosystem to breathe.

  • supports the natives (tribal people--Indians)

  • are an interesting place to visit for many tourists and explorers around the world.

Without rainforests, deforestation eliminates all of these benefits that they provide, and therefore provides a major threat to rainforest ecosystems around the world.

Music composed by John Williams as played by NHK Symphony Orchestra.

Figure 5: Deforestation in Holzstaemme

Causes of Deforestation & Factors of the Ecosystem:

Dixie Poteet
  • Abiotic Factors (Non-living components): forest fires, hydroelectric dams, rainfall, infrastructure.
--Forest fires burn down trees, and set back the growth of a forest by years if allowed to get out of control.
--Hydroelectric dams not only block of water to parts of the ecosystem (trees, natives, animals, et cetera), but also require a certain amount of deforestation to accomadate the space needed to build them.
--Rainfall influences how much the life within the rainforests' ecosystem.
--Infrastructure such as buildings & roads are built by corporations "moving into" the rainforest. this affects the rainforest ecosystem/deforestation because in order for there to be infrastructure, there needs to be cleared space. In order to make cleared space, deforestation occurs.
  • Biotic Factors (living components): plantations, human inhabitants, cattle ranching, poaching.
--Plantations are farms of a sort set up to grow an exclusive crop. Plantations also require space & deforestation; their purpose is to provide products for consumers such as cacao.
--Human inhabitants (including natives, tourists, & corporate employees) also require space & therefore deforestation. Also, human inhabitants tend to devour the resources around them, leading to endangering the flora and fauna within the rainforest ecosystem.
--Cattle ranching leads to deforestation through consumption, provision (of space), and trampling.
--Poaching endangers many animal species, leading to a domino effect within the ecosystem.
As one may have observed from reading the above portion of text, deforestation is caused by many abiotic & biotic factors. These factors are mostly comprised of the need for space that is required for the goals of the human presence within the rainforest (hydroelectic dams, infrastructure, plantations, cattle ranching, and poaching). Of course, Nature has a hold on the deforestation of the rainforest (forest fires--caused by lightning--and rainfall), but not on as rapid and harmful a scale as those caused by the human element. Another thing to point out would be that although the listed factors above are listed as abiotic (non-living) and biotic (living) factors, the factors themselves are intertwined into both groups. For example, plantations themselves are farms, and so contain life. However, hydroelectric dams contain and affect the "water-life" within the river. In summation, deforestation would occur naturally in nature, albeit on a much smaller scale. Deforestation is mostly fueled by the human presence and is caused by a need for space. This afffects an entire intricate ecosystem, and should be slowed to a crawl if not stopped altogether before there is no more rainforest to "clear".

Figure 2: Example foodweb by Andrew Hansen

The Importance of the Rain Forest Ecosystem

Laura Trewern

Rain forests are extremely important to many aspects of the Earth. Firstly, they balance the climate of the world because they produce an immense amount of oxygen and gases that all animals and humans depend on, and, in contrast, they absorb carbon dioxide. Secondly, they are a very important part of today's medication system. Thirdly, they are also a home to certain tribal groups, so as you can see: deforestation also strongly affects human homes. The roots of trees in the rain forest help keep soil in place. This prevents erosion that could lead to harmful effects upon humans, animals, or even the economy. The rain forest has many resources that help humans, such as: food, wood, medicine and recreation. Rain forests affect the greenhouse effect to a great extent, which ties in with the world climate. Some scientists suggest that the rainforests produce around 40% of the world's oxygen. They also produce lots of food that is widely used by humans. Finally, the rain forest holds more than half of every living species of plants and animals and it contains hundreds of species of trees and thousands of species of insects. So overall, the rain forest is a very, very important part of our world today.

Conservation Plan

Dixie Poteet

In order to conserve & protect the rain forest ecosystem, we need to address the issues that cause deforestation. This includes providing alternatives methods of farming for the natives & farmers, as well as the needs of consumers who require products found primarily in the rain forest (such as cacao). As well as addressing the needs of the natives & consumers, enforcing rules upon corporations to prevent the building of roads, infrastructures, etc. and their movement throughout the forest is a must. The ongoing step (listed as Step 2 below) is to educate future generations in how to further take action to prevent deforestation and conserve rain forests.

Steps 1-7
  1. Educate more farmers on new methods of farming so as to help reduce the need of deforestation/clearing forests.

  2. Raise awareness in upcoming generations on taking action to prevent deforestation due to the human element/factor.

  3. Find other places to build hydroelectric dams.

  4. Reduce building of roads, infrastructures, et cetera.

  5. Reduce/eliminate plantations.

  6. Find alternative ways to provide wanted products to consumers such as growing cacoa in controlled areas in other countries/locations.

  7. Restrict movement of corporations into the rainforest.