AP Language and Composition
26 April 2014
Preserving Our Rainforests
In Walden, a novel written by Henry David Thoreau, Thoreau states, “I would that our farmers when they cut down a forest felt some of that awe which the old Romans did when they came to thin, or let light to, a consecrated grove, (lucum conlucare) that is, would believe that it is sacred to some god” (Walden House-Warming 13). By comparing forests to a “god”, Thoreau implies that forests are something sacred and spiritual, and they shouldn’t be taken advantage of by humans and used irresponsibly. Thoreau would agree that today’s problems with the world’s rainforests are something to be concerned with. The rainforest is one of Earth’s oldest living ecosystem. Rainforests take up only a mere 6% of the Earth’s surface; yet, they are home to more than half of the world’s plant and animal species (Taylor). They also contain many beneficial natural resources and medicines. However, deforestation continues to be an issue to the indigenous creatures and these resources. About one and a half acres are lost every second due to deforestation; that mean 46-58 thousand square miles are destroyed each year (Taylor). At this rate, in less than 40 years, the rainforest will be nonexistent. If no measures are taken to reduce these rates of destruction, the world will lose one of its most precious ecosystem. Thoreau would recognize that the rainforest should be protected in order to preserve the following: its indigenous creatures including animals, plants, and people; its natural medicines; and its useful byproducts and natural resources. Individuals can take simple steps in order preserve these essential aspects of the rainforest.
Over 10 million species of animals, plants, and insects live in the rainforest. However due to deforestation, researches estimate that 137 of these species are becoming extinct each day, equating to 50,000 species lost a year (Thutton). It is argued that extinction is a natural process that has been happening as long as animals have been alive. However, the cases in the rainforest are a different story. Because extinction in the rainforest is being caused by humans, it is no longer considered a natural process of life. Because human caused extinction is not natural, the ecosystem will be negatively affected by the losses of its species. Unnatural extinction of a species leads to a disruption in the food chain which causes unbalanced populations in the ecosystem. Biodiversity, which is variation in animals' genes that helps them adapt to their environment in order to survive, decreases as this extinction rises. “Genetic diversity is directly related to a species' ability to survive environmental change,” (Mazzotti). As a result of this decline in biodiversity, extinction continues to rise even more due to the inability to adapt, causing a snowball effect. As animal population declines, so does the chance for biologists to make a discovery...