October 7-13 is World Rainforest Week. Rainforests are threatened by unsustainable agricultural, ranching, mining and logging practices. Below are some vital facts about our world’s rainforests.
Covering less than 2 percent of the Earth’s total surface area, the world’s rainforests are home to 50 percent of the Earth’s plants and animals.
The Nature Conservancy has a nice list of facts about the world’s rainforests (including the above) here. Some of the more alarming facts include:
- Before 1500 A.D., there were approximately 6 million indigenous people living in the Brazilian Amazon. But as the forests disappeared, so too did the people. In the early 1900s, there were less than 250,000 indigenous people living in the Amazon.
- Originally, 6 million square miles of tropical rainforest existed worldwide. But as a result of deforestation, only 2.6 million square miles remain.
Every second, a slice of rainforest the size of a football field is mowed down. That’s 86,400 football fields of rainforest per day, or over 31 million football fields of rainforest each year.
More than 56,000 square miles of natural forest are lost each year.