Rainforests are perhaps the most important places on Earth. And yet we destroy thousands of square kilometres every year.

In 1950, rainforests covered fifteen per cent of the Earth’s land. Forty years later, we have destroyed half of these. Will there be any rainforests in the year 2020? No one knows the answer to that question.

Rainforests are home to about fifty million people. But as important as the people, some scientists think, are the millions of species of animals, plants and insects which live there. In 10,000 square metres of rainforest, there can be more than 8,000 different species of plants. (In all of Great Britain, there are only 1,443 different species of plants.)

When we destroy the rainforests, forest people lose their homes, and thousands of species of animals and plants disappear — and once they have disappeared, we will never see them again.

The leaves of rainforest trees make one-third of the Earth’s oxygen. Can the Earth live without the oxygen of the rainforests?

What will happen to us when there are no more rainforests? We don’t know — and let’s hope we never have to find out!


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