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Watch Out For That Tree!

The rainforests of the world are delicate ecosystems. An ecosystem which stands for "ecological system"— includes all living organisms that that live in a particular area. So, an ecosystem will include plants, animals, and people too. In the rainforest ecosystem, trees especially, play a very important role in keeping the rainforests healthy. Not only do trees provide food and shelter for the many living creatures of the rainforest, they help to keep the air clean.

But in many rainforests, trees are rapidly disappearing. The loss of trees is called deforestation and has many causes. Some trees are cleared so that farmers can land to graze cattle. Rainforest wood is highly prized for furniture. Building roads and homes also contribute to the loss of trees in the rainforest. Natural disasters too, such as fires can destroy acres of trees.

Deforestation - Rainforest Tree Loss Brazil rainforest jungle
The destruction of the rainforest not only impacts people, plants and animals — it also can affect our climate and weather. Fewer trees mean less clean air as more carbon dioxide stays in the air. Many scientists also believe that with fewer trees, global warming occurs.

This image is a great example of deforestation. To the left is rainforest jungle, to the right a cleared area of the rainforest. What do you think happens when it rains?

What might be some of the ways people are helping to save rainforest trees?

Look further: Deforestation

Rainforest Kids Science curriculum connection: Unit 5: Chapter 1, Lesson 3, Grades 4-5

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