Rainforests: Sustaining Life on Earth

by Rolando Inciong

Last June 22, the international community observed World Rainforest Day, an occasion to increase public awareness on rainforests and encourage people to protect them. The Rainforest Alliance Organization (RAO) defines a rainforest as a tropical woodland with an annual rainfall of at least 100 inches and marked by lofty broad-leaved evergreen trees forming a continuous canopy.

Rainforests cover less than 3 percent of the planet. They serve as home to more species of plants and animals than any other terrestrial ecosystem. They are essential to life on Earth as they provide air, water, medicine, food, and shelter to a multitude of living beings. Rainforests also protect humans against climate change as they absorb greenhouse gases from the atmosphere.

The RAO added that rainforests are also home to insects, spiders and ticks, worms, snakes and lizards, frogs and toads, parrots and toucans, and sloths and jaguars.

According EarthDay.Org, healthy forests are one of the most effective climate change mitigation tools for reducing atmospheric levels of carbon dioxide, regulating the water cycle, and producing oxygen. In addition to their function as a carbon sink, forests provide social, environmental, and economic benefits to many communities worldwide.

Now that we know how important rainforests are, it is time for citizens to act to save, conserve and protect this very important ecosystem.