Rainforest Trust’s mission for over 30 years has been to prevent the destruction of rainforests and other tropical habitat through the creation of protected areas. We’ve already helped to create 178 protected areas totalling over 37 million acres, and have another 100 or so in the works. So why are these protected areas so important? Here are our top five reasons.
1. Safeguard Biodiversity
Protected areas guard critical habitat for species. Recent studies show that on average the number of species in a protected area is 10.6% higher than outside, and the populations of those species are 14.5% greater when they live on protected land.
2. Protect Our Climate
Rainforests store billions of tonnes of carbon, which is released into the atmosphere as the greenhouse gas CO2 when forests are set on fire. Protected areas preserve these vital carbon sinks, helping to reduce the impacts of climate change.
3. Provide Local Economic Success
When protected areas are created in collaboration with rural communities, local economies stand to benefit in a number of ways. Communities often find employment in protected areas, as forest guardians, in ecotourism or through sustainable farming.
4. Prevent the Spread of Disease
Clearing rainforest habitat displaces biodiversity and renders ecosystems unbalanced. 60% of infectious diseases – including SARS, Lyme, Ebola and Covid-19 – are zoonotic in origin. Protected areas help to keep ecosystems intact, thus playing a vital role in disease prevention.
5. Ensure Food and Water Security
Management plans within our protected areas often promote best practices for sustainable agriculture that result in greater supplies for local communities to consume or sell. These areas also protect watersheds that ensure a clean water supply.
Protected areas of rainforest matter. We all benefit when nature is protected, and the need for protected areas has never been more urgent. By supporting our work, you can benefit our planet for species, communities and future generations.
This post was provided by Rainforest Trust UK. Rainforest Trust UK saves threatened rainforests and other tropical habitats, particularly those that are home to endangered species. We work with local NGOs and indigenous communities to place forests under protection, either by land purchase or by establishing community forests and national parks. So far Rainforest Trust have protected over 37 million acres of threatened rainforest. Protecting rainforests is also vital to fight climate change