Global Warming and the Effect on Plant Diversity

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Depletion of tropical forests is becoming one of the many worldwide dilemmas facing our planet. The rapid rate of deforestation is reaching disastrous limits as the demands for resources far exceed supplies. Rainforests provide a home to many species of plants, both known and unknown. Our dependencies on tropical plants are vast ranging from the daily essentials of food and shelter, to cures for cancer and possibly AIDS. As destruction of the rainforest continues, the effects on plants are immense through the loss of genetic diversity and the disappearance of species. Plant species extinction is reaching critical levels. With this extinction comes a cascade of effects on the ecosystems in which plants play a vital role. New…show more content…
At the beginning of our era approximately 250 million people lived on Earth and by 1650 the population had grown only to 500 million. Yet, the rapid growth of population, starting in the nineteenth century, coincided with the development of the industry making the impact of the humanity on the environment, and in particular on the temperature change, considerable. In 1830 the planet population reached one billion, in 1930 it reached two billion, and four billion around 1975. In 1990 it was estimated 5.3 billion. It is clear that the growing population is consuming more resources, using more energy. One of the most growing environmental concerns of our planet is the loss of tropical forests. Tropical forests are depleting at an alarming rate. A rate where demand far exceeds the supply. Of all the forest habitats, none seems to be more threatened than the tropical rainforests, as the world loses up to 20 million hectares of these forests annually, an 80 percent increase over previous estimates. In 1950, 30 percent of the world 's surface was covered by rainforests. By 1975 this area had shrunk to 12 percent. Today, tropical forests account for about 8 percent of the planet 's surface, an area roughly equal to that of the United States, constituting slightly less than half their prehistoric cover. Findings have shown that Africa has lost 60 percent of its original rainforests and Central America and Southeast Asia have lost nearly two thirds.
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