Tropical rainforests are highly endangered ecosystems critical to life on earth. Human activity has caused one third of the original rainforests to be lost and one third to be degraded. The final third is intact but under threat. The destruction of tropical forests needs to end immediately, followed by permanent protection.
Although tropical rainforests occupy less than 10 percent of the land on earth, they hold more than half of the world’s biological diversity, including endangered tigers, jaguars, macaws, tapirs, gorillas, monkeys, and orangutans. The largest forests are located in Africa, Indonesia, and South America. Historically, tropical forests have been an important sink for carbon dioxide. However, as a result of deforestation, many tropical forests have become a net source of greenhouse gases. Human activity, including logging, mining, development, and conversion to agriculture eliminate a football-field-size patch of forest every six seconds. Supporting the rights of Indigenous peoples is critical to stopping the destruction. Nearly a quarter of all tropical forests are managed by Indigenous peoples, who provide a buffer against logging and human-caused fires.