(11 am. – promoted by ek hornbeck)
— Experts estimates that we are losing 137 plant, animal and insect species every single day due to rainforest deforestation. That equates to 50,000 species a year. As the rainforest species disappear, so do many possible cures for life-threatening diseases.
— Nearly half of the world’s species of plants, animals and microorganisms will be destroyed or severely threatened over the next quarter century due to rainforest deforestation.
— Rainforests once covered 14% of the earth’s land surface; now they cover a mere 6% and experts estimate that the last remaining rainforests could be consumed in less than 40 years.
— One and one-half acres of rainforest are lost every second with tragic consequences for both developing and industrial countries.
We are witnesses to the planet’s ever shrinking Old Growth Legacy:
and most don’t even realize what we’re losing …
THE BIODIVERSITY OF THE RAINFOREST
The loss of tropical rainforests has a profound and devastating impact on the world because rainforests are so biologically diverse, more so than other ecosystems (e.g., temperate forests) on Earth.
Consider these facts:
— A single pond in Brazil can sustain a greater variety of fish than is found in all of Europe’s rivers.
— A 25-acre plot of rainforest in Borneo may contain more than 700 species of trees – a number equal to the total tree diversity of North America.
— A single rainforest reserve in Peru is home to more species of birds than are found in the entire United States.
— One single tree in Peru was found to harbor forty-three different species of ants – a total that approximates the entire number of ant species in the British Isles.
Global Warming and the Loss of Species
At the end of the Permian period, 251 million years ago, global warming caused the worst mass extinction in the history of the planet. That time a six-degree C. increase in the global temperature was enough to kill up to 95 per cent of the species that were alive on Earth. This extinction is called the “Great Dying.” Gigantic volcanic eruptions caused this warming by triggering a “runaway greenhouse effect” that nearly put an end to life on Earth. Conditions in what geologists have termed a “post-apocalyptic greenhouse” were so severe that only one large land animal was left alive, and fewer than one in 10 species survived.
It took 100 million years for species diversity to return to former levels. […]
An increase of 6°C is the upper end of what the IPCC is forecasting for this century, the range that will occur if we do not make severe changes soon.
Global warming is already affecting species: migration is accelerating, the timing of the seasons is changing, and animals are migrating, hatching eggs, and bearing young on average five days earlier than they did at the start of the 20th century. In addition, some butterflies have shifted northward in Europe by thirty to sixty miles or more, species’ ranges are shifting toward the poles at some four miles a decade, amphibians were spawning earlier, and plants are flowering earlier.
In a major report in Nature, the lead author, Terry Root said: “There is a consistent signal. Animals and plants are being strongly affected by the warming of the globe.” She later said that, “It was really quite a shock, given such a small temperature change. . . If we’re already seeing such dramatic changes among species, it’s really pretty frightening to think what we might see in the next 100 years.”
As a species, Human beings seem to like, “living out on the edge”. This can be a good thing when we “have New worlds to Explore.” … and a not so good thing when we “have an overused world to Preserve.”
Yes, our lone Planet, has been “Out on the Edge” — many times before in Geologic History. Species have risen, and Species have fallen. Indeed, it’s those extinction events, that has paved the way, for our “civilized” ascent, as a Species.
Yet, Species can disappear in a “Blink of an Eye” — Geologically speaking. And the Human Species is NOT immune from such Game-ending Events, despite our so-called “Advanced Intelligence”.
Afterall, alone, each one of us is but a bit player, on a giant economic stage … a stage, where the wealth of our Natural Heritage, is always undervalued.
Yet, together, you never know what the “Sum of those Actions” will finally amount to, when all is said and done.
In the meantime, be sure to set aside some of time, to contemplate, some of those “Geologic Blinks”, while our grand Biologic Heritage, is still there to be seen. While the fragile remnants of Earth’s Bio-Diversity are still hanging in there … within 6 Degrees of the Edge of Extinction.