"Here is life in such abundance that up to 15,000 separate species may be foud in one acre, yet so little is known that biologists despair over understanding it fully before the forests are gone."
The quote comes from Catherine Caufield, who authored "In the Rainforest."Here's a look at other notable rain forest statistics:
- More species of plants and animals live in rain forests than in the rest of the planet combined.
- Tropical deforestation wipes out 17,000 species of plants and animals a year - species that exist nowhere else. That's about 48 species made extinct each day or two an hour.
- Every second, one acre of rain forest disappears in rain forests around the world, including the United States. In a year, that amounts to an area the size of New York State. Already, half of Earth's tropical forests have been burned, bulldozed and obliterated.
- Loss of rain forests contributes to global warming, or the "greenhouse effect."
- Sixty to 80 tree species can be found in one acre of tropical rain forest as opposed to a maximum of 25 tree species in temperate U.S. forests.
- Rain forests harbor 11,000 of the world's 12,000 species of ferns and three-quarters of the world's mosses.
- Of 3,000 plants identified by pharmacologists as having cancer-fighting properties, 70 percent of them grow in the rain forests. They also produce other medications, food products and hardwoods.
(Source: "The Rainforest Book" by Scott Lewis, with the Natural Resources Defense Council.)