Attention Getter: The rainforest is one of the Earth’s most valuable natural resources. At the current rate of destruction it could be completely wiped out in the next 40 years.
Audience Motivator: Every single day we are losing 137 plants, animal and insect species due to rainforest deforestation (Rainforest Facts). Landowners and governments of the rainforest today need to be given a good economic reason not to destroy the rainforest. We need to make an economy for the sustainable resources of the rainforest, not the cattle and logging operations.
Thesis Statement: Most people have no idea just how much the rainforest is affecting our lives. Many of our foods and medicines come directly from the rainforest. Even the oxygen we breathe is a direct function of the rainforest. If we let the rainforest disappear, the results would be devastating.
Preview: I am going to let you in on some information that everyone should know about the rainforest. I am going to tell you about the serious danger that the rainforest is in and tell you why it is happening.
Transition Statement: You will here me tell you about some very interesting and important facts. It is important to understand how much each and every one of us really does need the rainforest.
A.What makes up the rainforest
Rainforests cover 2% of the Earth’s surface, or 6% of its land mass. Tropical rainforests are the earth’s oldest living ecosystem. Fossil records show that the forests of Southeast Asia have existed in more or less their present form for 70 to 100 million years. Tropical rainforests are defined by two factors: location and amount of rainfall they receive.
B.The important of the rainforest
1.Amount of rainfall the rain forest receives
Rainforests receive 4 to 8 meters of rain a year and 5 meters of rain falls on the rainforests of Borneo each year which is five times as much as on the state of New York.
2.Rainforests are home to plants and animals
Despite the land area they cover, rainforest are the home to about half of the 5 to 10 million plants and animal species on the globe. Rainforests also support 90,000 of the 250,000 identified plant species. Scientists estimate that there are at least 30,000 as yet undiscovered plants, most of which are rainforest species. A typical four square mile patch of rainforest contains as many as 1500 species of flowering plants, 750 species of trees, 125 mammal species, 400 species of birds, 100 of reptiles, 60 of amphibians, and 150 different species of butterflies.
Transition Statement: Hopefully you can now see that the rainforest is in fact important to us. Unfortunately, it is in serious danger.
Second Main Point: The problem: Deforestation and Species Extinction
Rainforests are being destroyed at a staggering rate. According to the National Acadmey of Science, at least 50 million acres a year are lost, an area the size of England, Wales, and Scotland combined. Rainforests which once covered 14% of earth’s surface, now 6%. 1-? acres are lost every second.
Nearly half of the world’s species of plants and animals will be destroyed or severely threatened over the next 25 years due to deforestation. If deforestation continues at current rates, scientists estimate that 80-90% of tropical RF ecosystems will be destroyed by 2020. This is driving a species extinction rate unmatched in 65 million yrs (The Biodiversity). The biggest cause of deforestation is timber logging. Land is also being cleared for large-scale cattle ranching, mining operation, government road building and hydroelectric schemes, military operations, and subsistence agriculture of peasants and landless settlers. In some places even for charcoal to power industrial plants (Human Activities). Massive deforestation brings with it air and water pollution, soil erosion, malaria epidemic, release of carbon dioxide, loss of biodiversity. Less RF means less rain, oxygen, and greater threat of global warming.
One fourth of the medicines available today owe their existence to plants. 70% of the plants found only in the rainforest are used for cancer treatment, such as drugs to treat leukemia, hodgkin’s disease, and other cancers. Yet, fewer than 1% of tropical species have been thoroughly examined for their chemical compounds.
Many of the foods we eat today originated in the rainforests: avocado, banana, black pepper, brazilian nuts, cayenne pepper, chocolate/cocoa, fig, eggplant, etc. The wild strains still in the rainforests of many of these plants provide genetic materials essential to fortify our existing agricultural stock. Many other rainforests plants have great promise to become other staple foods.
Rainforests play a critical role in the atmosphere in part because they hold vast reserves of carbon in their vegetation. When rainforests are burned, or the trees are cut and left to decay, the carbon is released into the atmosphere as carbon dioxide. This is the second largest factor contributing to the greenhouse ffect.
Transition Statement: The rainforests are being destroyed every second. They are being cut down for short-term economic benefit. Once an area is destroyed, it can never again return to the amazing ecosystem that it once was. It takes millions of years to create, and seconds to destroy. People who live in the rainforest have to see the rainforest for more than just its trees. There is more money to be made in the sustainable natural resources that it holds, than its timber.
Third Main Point: Money makes the world go around. Land owners, governments and those living in the RF must be given a wonderful reason not to destroy the RF, when it could be saved. Many organizations have demonstrated that if the medicinal plants, fruits, nuts, oils and other resources were harvested sustainable, RF land has much more economic value today and more long term income and profits than if just timber were harvested or if it were burned down for cattle or farming operations(Going Nuts).
Things you can do:
Reduce your own wood and paper use. Use both sides of each piece of paper, use cloth napkins instead of paper towels, avoid disposable paper plates and cups. When purchasing paper products, choose products with the highest percentage of recycled content. Choose tree-free paper alternatives if possible, that is argricultural products like waste straw, kenaf, and hemp, so not a single tree is cut down for its production! Reduce oil and gas consumption. Buy a car that gets good gas mileage, car pool, local transportation, or walk.
Thesis Statement: After telling you about what is necessary to save the rainforest, I hope that everyone will seriously consider becoming a part of the demand for sustainable natural resources.
Main Point Summary: I have told you why we should all love and appreciate the rainforest. I have told you the serious danger that the rainforest is facing, and finally told you the solution that can fix it.
Closing Statement: There is a way to save the rainforest. It won’t be easy, and it won’t happen overnight. We have to work together if we want to save this precious natural resource. Every 6-8 minutes 540-720 acres of rainforest has been lost forever.
Courtney from Study Moose
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