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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A chameleon with a green and brown pattern, clinging to a branch The graceful chameleon belongs to the great variety of reptiles in Atewa Forest. (© Piotr Naskrecki)

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Ghana: don’t sell your nature to China

Researchers have just encountered a rare primate species – the endangered white-collared mangabey – for the first time in the dense jungle of Atewa Forest in Ghana. Yet that hasn’t stopped the government from closing a billion-dollar deal with China to mine bauxite in the protected area. Please speak out against this madness.

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To: HE Nana Akufo-Addo, President of the Republic of Ghana, Mahamudu Bawumia, Vice President

Atewa Forest is a protected area and must not be mined for bauxite. Please establish a national park there.

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