The rainforest

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A green sea of ferns, mosses, vines and ancient trees. Iridescent butterflies and colorful birds. Flowers in every hue of the rainbow. The “green lung” is a natural wonder of the world. Find out more about the world’s most diverse, fascinating and threatened ecosystem.

The tropical rainforest is an eternally green band that spans the Earth at the equator. Its climate preconditions – high temperatures and at least two thousand liters of rain per square meter per year – have given rise to perhaps the most remarkable ecosystem on the planet in the Amazon, Congo Basin and Southeast Asia.

The rainforest is also the world’s most diverse habitat. Covering no more than five percent of the planet’s land area, tropical rainforests are home to half of all animal and plant species. Yet this rich heritage is in jeopardy. The forests are being cleared – mainly by timber, palm oil, soybean and mining companies – and with each tree felled, we lose a bit of biodiversity. 

More than half of the planet’s rainforests have already been cleared, and further areas have suffered grave damage or have been fragmented into many small islands of forest. Every one of the forest giants is the habitat of hundreds of further plant and animal species, and when a tree is cut down, its inhabitants also perish. Every human intervention further upsets the delicate interdependence of plants and animals.

Despite lip service and efforts to the contrary, the pace of rainforest destruction has not slowed. Around 10.4 million hectares – and of that total, 6.3 million hectares of primary forest – are still disappearing every year. The forest, with its biodiversity and intricate interdependencies of its inhabitants, is more threatened than ever.

Find out more about this natural environment and why it is so worthy of protection on the pages below. We need your help in preserving the last rainforests!

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Primitive charcoal ovens and felled trees in the Paraguayan Chaco together with the brand logos of Aldi, Carrefour, Lidl Felled trees from the dry forests of the Paraguayan Chaco wait to be fed into charcoal ovens. Paraguay’s dry forests are home to jaguar, armadillo, and some of the last indigenous communities untouched by industrial civilisation (© Earthsight)

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Supermarkets: Stop burning Paraguay’s forests for summer BBQs!

The forests of the Paraguayan Chaco are being cleared and converted into charcoal which is exported to Europe and the USA. This threatens endangered species and one of the last indigenous peoples living untouched by industrial society. Tell European supermarkets to stop selling charcoal made from the destruction of Paraguay’s forests.

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To: Aldi, Carrefour, Lidl

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