Enjoying and Preserving Costa Rica Rainforests
Throughout the world, one hears ecologists touting the need to “save the rainforests.” In Costa Rica rainforests are especially important, not only ecologically but also for the tourist industry and economy of this Central American gem.
The rainforests of Costa Rica are among the most-visited attractions in the country. Guests are thrilled by the animals and birds of the rainforests, the lush vegetation found there, and the opportunity to experience it all - up close and personal.
What is a rainforest?
A rainforest is defined as a wooded area that receives more than 78 inches of rain each year and where the temperature never reaches the freezing point. The tropical rainforest ecosystem houses the largest amount of biodiversity on the entire planet.
Though rainforests only make up about 7% of the Earth’s terrain, they act as a home to more than half the animal and plant species on the planet. In the tropical rainforest, a large majority of plant species are found in the canopy, as the soil is not particularly fertile. That’s why “canopy tours” are so popular in rainforests throughout the world.
Why are Costa Rica Rainforests Important?
Costa Rica rainforests, just like those located in other regions of the world, are essential for a number of reasons.
Many who study these forests refer to them as the “Earth’s lungs.” Through the process of photosynthesis, rainforests help pull carbon from the air and turn it into oxygen. The vast destruction of the world’s rainforests is responsible for the build-up of carbon in the atmosphere. Rainforests also help keep the planet cool and counteract the Greenhouse Effect.
Because Costa Rica rainforests are teeming with animals, destruction of the forests leads to extinction of many species. Scientists say that up to 100 species a day could be facing extinction. Also, disappearance of particular plant families may halt the production of drugs and drug research for some of the world’s most potent and deadly diseases.
Guests will also learn that many everyday products are gathered from the rainforest such as coffee, spices, fruit, and nuts and the demise of the forest results in a shortage of these products.