There are endangered forests on every continent. Did you know that some areas of forest have shrunk to 10 percent of their original size? It’s kind of a double-edged sword because they provide so many benefits to the needs of man, but in destroying these precious habitats, we are also affecting the health of our Earth. It is estimated that the world’s forests store more than 25 gigatons of carbon. On the opposite side of that it is calculated that 15% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions come from the destruction of the forest. When people think of deforestation, they tend to associate it with Brazil and the Amazon rainforest, but the issue is far greater and widespread. Here are some of the world’s most endangered forests:
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It makes perfect sense to put Eastern Afromontane in the list of endangered forests. Lying along the Albertine Rift, which runs from Saudi Arabia in the north of the continent to Zimbabwe in the south, the Eastern Afromontane has more animals compared to other places in Africa. Due to the manner of its volcanic creation, it has some incredible lakes that are home to an astonishing 617 species found nowhere else in the world. Due to the farming of tea, banana and beans, there is only 11% of the habitat left. The new threat of the bushmeat market means that this remaining 11% is also in need of urgent conservation.
Madagascar and the Indian Ocean Islands
The Madagascan forest is yet another victim of man’s intervention for business and agriculture. Since the large island of Madagascar was cut off from mainland Africa, some of the species found here have evolved in isolation and are therefore not found anywhere else in the world. The main threats to this forest are logging and mining, which are slowly but surely killing the precious habitat. With only 10% of the forest left, it is vital to preserve it not only for the sake of these species, but also for the human population with which it provides fresh water
California Floristic Province
Despite being situated in the United States of America, this forest has failed to get the care it deserves, and that’s why it’s in the list of endangered forests. It was once home to the Grizzly Bear, which also happens to be California’s state animal, but with only 10% of their original habitat left, the remaining bears found homes elsewhere. The sequoia and the coastal redwood are among the other treasures contained in this forest.
Mountains of Southwest China
These mountains are home to the Giant Panda and also, the lesser known but equally cute and cuddly red panda. The building of the Three Gorges Dam, the world’s largest, had a considerable impact on this area. With only 8% of the original forest left and Chinese plans of building dams on all major rivers, prospects look bleak for the region and this important and fragile eco-system.
The area covered by this forest at risk spans four South American countries – namely Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay and Argentina. Despite the fact that over 100 million people rely on this forest for fresh water, as well as it being home to more than 20 critically endangered species including the gorgeous golden Lion Tamarind (a type of monkey), man is destroying vast areas through sugar and coffee farming. It is in everyone’s interest to find solutions to the problems responsible for the destruction of this forest.
Coastal Forests of East Africa
There are a number of endangered forests in East Africa that have an amazing diversity. The three major species in this region are the Tana River Red Colobus, Tana River Mangabey and the Zanzibar Red Colobus, but there are only about 1000 to 1500 individuals of these types of monkeys left. These endangered species are a major tourist attraction, which gives an increased incentive to the authorities to save these forests. However, agricultural farming is proving to be a big hurdle and with only 10% of the habitat left, drastic steps need to be taken.
The amazing thing about this forest is its size. It spans over 17,000 islands in South East Asia (Indonesia and Malaysia), including Borneo and Sumatra, and is the only region on Earth where the orangutan is found. Most of the endangered animals of this region, including the Southeast Asian Rhino, have been victims of the international animal trade. Other than that, rubber, palm oil and the production of pulp are significant problems for the region. The problem of illegal logging only makes matters worse. Currently we have only 7% of this amazing forest left and if something is not done on an urgent basis, we will end up losing it and its wonderful wildlife forever!
Where do you stand on the issue of endangered forests? Do you think more should be done to protect and preserve them?
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