The world would be nothing without rainforests. Extremely integral to the environment and planet earth, we have a lot to thank these areas for. One of the earth’s oldest living ecosystems and home to an abundance of plants and animal species, rainforests comprise of tall, mostly evergreen trees, and a large amount of rainfall. Providing food, medicine, living beings, shelter, air and water, they are essential to planet earth.
Other than Antarctica, rainforests flourish on every continent. If you were to ever head off on an adventure holiday to South America, you would find some of the biggest rainforests on earth, which surround the Amazon River. Equally, if you would instead prefer to explore Africa and make your way to the Congo River, you would also find these extensive areas – which are just as impressive. Within a four-square-mile patch of rainforest, you could find over 750 species of trees, 400 species of birds, 1,500 flowering plants and 150 species of butterflies – it would certainly be a trip to remember forever.
But just why are rainforests so important?
Step into a rainforest and you’ll be amazed to see the likes of jaguars, mountain gorillas, Bengal tigers, sloths, poison dart frogs, anacondas and black-handed spider monkeys. Tremendously rich in animal life, rainforests house the most magnificent creatures, which all have to adapt to their environment.
While some animals may use camouflage to hide from predators, others may use their colours to warn predators away. Although it may be small, a poison dart frog, for example, will use its colouring to show how dangerous they are. These fascinating animals play a key role in helping to keep the rainforest healthy.
We also rely heavily on rainforests for medical reasons. According to the US National Cancer Institute, when it comes to the treatment of cancer, 70% of plants that are useful can only be found in these areas. The plants that we find inside the rainforest also help to treat conditions such as malaria, arthritis and asthma.
In everyday life, we use products that have come from the rainforest. Bamboo and rattan help to build furniture and baskets, while cinnamon and vanilla help to flavour our food. Rainforests also play a critical part when it comes to regulating the world’s oxygen and carbon cycles. The trees absorb carbon dioxide, and release oxygen that we need for survival.
The lodge that saved a rainforest
It is fantastic that so many individuals are doing what they can to make a minimal impact on the environment. This particularly true of the likes of Esquinas Rainforest Lodge – whose mission is really quite spectacular. They want to ensure that their guests get to experience an untouched tropical rainforest in a sustainable manner.
As you can see in the video, from a combination of tourism and donations, Esquinas Rainforest Lodge in Costa Rica has helped to buy and protect 14,000 hectares of primary jungle.
Activity and adventure holiday company, Exodus Travels, are also big believers in sustainable travel. Not only do they make lower carbon choices in how they create their trips, but they also reduce waste wherever possible, and help to protect wildlife. When you travel with them, you will have the opportunity to explore chimps and gorillas in Uganda, or spend a magical few days on a journey of discovery in Central America.
Where is next on your must-see list?