The effects of Hurricane Mitch on Nicaragua and Honduras in 1998 provide a good example of the dangers.
The extent of deforestation in Central America led to landslides, flooding, and the destruction of entire villages in areas in which land had been cleared.
Tropical forests cover only 2 percent of the world’s surface but account for 90 percent of the world’s biodiversity.
The current rate of deforestation has led to the loss of 50 to 100 animal and plant species daily.
Rain forests provide 25 percent of drugs currently used by Western pharmaceutical companies.
Over 70 percent of the plants identified as active in fighting cancer originated in the rain forests, including periwinkle, which has significantly reduced childhood leukemia.
The number of species of fish in the Amazon, for example, is higher than the number found in the entire Atlantic Ocean.
In terms of medicine, the benefits of forests are immense.
Of additional concern is the immediate impact of deforestation on our natural resources, including soil erosion, water treatment, fisheries protection, and pollination.
The world’s poorest people rely on these natural resources for their survival, and deforestation affects their quality of life and survival.