Biodiversity - short for biological diversity - is the number and types of organisms in an ecosystem, region or environment.
THE BIODIVERSITY OF THE RAINFOREST
The loss of tropical rainforests has a profound and devastating impact on our life!
Consider these facts:
- A single pond in Brazil can sustain a greater variety of fish than is found in all of Europe's rivers.
- A single rainforest reserve in Brazil is home to more species of birds than are found in the entire United States.
- One single tree in Peru was found to harbor forty-three different species of ants - a total that approximates the entire number of ant species in the British Isles.
- The number of species of fish in the Amazon exceeds the number found in the entire Atlantic Ocean.
Words by Harvard's Pulitzer Prize-winning biologist Edward O. Wilson: The worst thing that can happen is not energy depletion, economic collapses, limited nuclear war, or conquest by a totalitarian government. As terrible as these catastrophes would be for us, they can be repaired within a few generations. The one process ongoing in the 1980s that will take millions of years to correct is the loss of genetic- and species diversity by the destruction of natural habitats. This is the folly that our descendants are least likely to forgive us for.
Yet still the destruction continues. If deforestation continues at current rates, scientists estimate nearly 80 to 90 percent of tropical rainforest ecosystems will be destroyed by the year 2020. This destruction is the main force driving a species extinction rate unmatched in 65 million years.
The Atlantic Forest is not only a most diverse ecosystem, but also the habitat for many endemic plants and animals. Pau Brazil (engl Brazil wood, latin: caesalpinia echinata) that gave it’s name to the country of Brazil, origins from the Atlantic Forest and is in verge of extinction. ARFI
planted hundreds of Pau Brazil and thousands of other precious wood seedlings on it’s properties and intends to reforest many more. The „Golden Lion Tamarin“ monkey is just one example of many truly endangered endemic species of the Atlantic Rainforest.
The Atlantic Rainforest is the most striking example of a conservation HOTSPOT – 93% of it’s original size were destroyed during the last 500 years. It is very rich in biodiversity and under continued threat! Just for your information: about 80% of the Amazon remains today. The worst, the Atlantic Rainforest is hardly known by anybody in the Western world – we all must change this!
The Atlantic Forest or „Mata Atlantica“ stretches along Brazil's Atlantic coast. It extends inland to eastern Paraguay and the province of Misiones in northeastern Argentina, and narrowly along the coast into Uruguay. Also included in this hotspot is the offshore archipelago of Fernando de Noronha and several other islands off the Brazilian coast.
The Atlantic Rainforest comprises 7 ecosystems with up to 5 altitudinal zones. Therefore, the biodiversity of the Atlantic Rainforest is particularly high. It comprises the second largest biosphere reserve on Earth. About 600 of Brazil's 900 conservation units are to be found in the Atlantic Rainforest.
The exceptional biodiversity of the ecosystems of the Atlantic Rainforest is related to its geological history, its tropical and subtropical position, severe climate changes in the past and substantial altitudinal differences from 0 to almost 3.000 m. The coastal mountain ranges „Serra do Mar“ and „Mantiqueira“ contain the highest peaks on the Atlantic side of the American continent. Additionally coastal rainforests are significantly richer in biodiversity than inland ones like.
The original size of the Atlantic Rainforest once covered over 1.23 million km2. Today a mere of 99 thousand km2 remain. That is less then 7%!
Even tough heavily deforested, the biome still holds a very high biological diversification with a high level of endemism. The Atlantic Rainforest harbor more then 20\'000 tree species. In Southern Bahia (where the ARFI
base camp is located) there were following counts recorded in only one hectare (size of a football field): 270 species of mammals (90 endemic), 372 amphibious (260 endemic), 197 reptiles (60 endemic), 849 birds (188 endemic), 2120 butterflies (948 endemic) and a world record of 456 trees. Once a species is extinct, it is gone forever!
save and reforest your plot of atlantic rainforest.