Covering only 6% of the planet’s surface, rainforests are tropical rain-soaked regions that are home to half of Earth’s plant and animal species. Latin America contains nearly 60% of all tropical rainforests, one third of them in Brazil alone. Southeast Asia, the Pacific Islands and West Africa contain the remainder. Some rainforests have existed for 100 million years. Several plants identified as promising cancer treatments are found only in these areas even though less than 3% of all rainforest species have been chemically analyzed. About 25 million acres of rainforest are destroyed each year, and at present rates of destruction, this valuable resource will vanish by 2040. Many forces such as logging, farming, ranching, mining and oil extraction contribute to worldwide deforestation. Climate change is also having a powerful effect. Several efforts to protect rainforests have been successful, including those that have significantly reduced the rate of destruction of Amazon’s rainforests. Purchase-to-protect and adopt-a-forest programs have had mixed results at preventing logging and farming. One reason is that rainforests provide subsistence to a growing number of indigenous people. Advocates say community-managed natural forests may hold the best promise for rain forest preservation. Applying this method, native people own their own land and manage it sustainability. Restrictions are placed on the age and type of trees that may be harvested. Invested in their environment, local owners fight forest fires, reduce illegal wood and wildlife trafficking, and harvest non-timber products such as pepper, date palm and gum.

Pending Legislation:
S.566 - Tropical Forest Conservation Reauthorization Act of 2015

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Poll Opening Date
May 21, 2020
Poll Closing Date
May 27, 2020

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