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  • Trisha Hakim

RISING THREATS TO RAINFORESTS

The tropical forests are the world’s most biologically diverse ecosystems. The factors leading to the destruction of tropical forests and major threats to biodiversity have evolved over the past decade and will continue to evolve in the future.


Tropical forests are important for supporting biodiversity and indigenous cultures and for providing diversity to valuable ecosystem services, such as limiting soil erosion, reducing downstream flooding, and storing carbon. Nearly one-half of the world’s tropical forests have vanished in the last few centuries, and at present, another 10 million hectares or so of native forests are being altered, sometimes severely by threats such as selective logging, intense harvests of fuelwood and other natural products, overhunting, habitat fragmentation, and surface fires.


The proximate and ultimate underlying drivers of land-use change in the tropics are complex and continuously evolving. Understanding these factors is essential if one wishes to come up with effective conservation strategies and implement them.


The competition of modernization between the countries of the world has caused excess expansion in urbanization, industrialization, and transportation that is demolishing the ecological stability through climate change. The crucial outcomes of climate change are the greenhouse effect, depletion of the ozone layer, and epidemics that directly or indirectly influence the biological resources and life-supporting system of nature.


Increasing globalization and industrialization:-

Industrial drivers of deforestation such as large-scale agriculture, plantations, and ranching, have risen sharply importance. Other industrial activities, such as infrastructure expansion, and oil, gas, and mineral projects are encouraging the expansion of roads in frontier regions, which also lead to forest deprivation. These trends are being driven by increasing economic globalization as well as a rapid increase in industrialization in developing nations. The rising importance of industrial drivers is provoking to be accelerating the per-capita rate of forest loss in some regions. Second, it may tend to de-link the historically strong relationship between a country’s population unity and its remaining forest cover.


Roadway expansion:-


We live in a period of unique road and highway expansion. There were various tropical regions that were predominantly inaccessible just one decade ago but have now been penetrated by networks or roads. The challenge with roads penetrating into tropical frontier regions is that their impacts often extend far beyond the road surface itself. Fires and deforestation tend to expand considerably near roads. By increasing physical accessibility to forests dramatically, road expansion is one of the key factors determining the magnitude and rate of forest destruction.


Global energy requirements are growing along with growing industrialization and living standards and an expanding human populace. The proliferation of tropical biofuels is likely to have 2 negative impacts on environmental conservation. First, it will promote the large-scale conversion of forests and other native ecosystems. Second, by driving up competition for land, it will increase opportunity costs for conservation.


The world is experiencing a bevy of environmental changes, from climate change and habitat disruption to pollution and the loss of countless species, all at once.


Another big concern is our alarming weak ability to predict future climate change in the tropics. All of us know that conditions will generally warm, but beyond this, our capacity to predict future changes is often exceedingly poor. Warming will also elevate the cloud base on tropical mountains reducing moisture inputs and increasing thermal radiation and desiccation stress.


Having a better understanding of the key threats to tropical systems helps to guide and focus our conservation efforts and increase their effectiveness. Tropical rainforests can be managed in the following ways:-

  • Educate people about the importance of the environment and how they can help save rainforests and encourage them to live in a way that does not harm the environment.

  • Help restore damaged ecosystems by planting trees where forests have been cut down.

  • Establish parks to protect rainforests and wildlife.

  • Adopt ecotourism, which supports sustainable tourism that also helps create jobs for local people whilst ensuring that the money generated is used to protect and conserve tropical rainforests.