The environmental situation today is very grim. You have issues like global warming, rise in the sea levels, melting of the ice caps, etc. This has resulted in the summers becoming hotter day by day. In fact the temperature of the Earth has risen considerably. Do you have an idea as to what could be the reasons for this phenomenon?
One of the main reasons is rampant deforestation. Man has ventured into places where he should not. The rapid urbanization has led to a reduced forest cover. This automatically shrinks the space for the animals resulting in unnecessary human-animal conflicts. Man is after all the superior animal. His actions have resulted in many animals being pushed to the level of extinction.
The same applies to the forest cover. The more he ventures inside for meeting his requirements, the more damage he causes. As a result, some of the forests have literally become endangered with more than 85% to 90% reduction in their original habitat. Let us look at the top 10 most endangered forests in the world 2019. These forests are spread right across all the continents.
10. Eastern Afromontane – Africa
At No. 10, we have the Eastern Afromontane Forest in the continent of Africa. This continent was at one time full of forest cover. However, the rapid industrialization and urbanization has reduced these forests to the bare minimum. The Eastern Afromontane Forest, located at the Eastern edge of the continent actually starts from the western part of Saudi Arabia and extends up to Zimbabwe. At one point in time, this forest was the largest home to some of the finest fauna and flora such as the Juniperus, bamboo, Hagen, and the Podocarpus. You could also witness a variety of birds, animals, and amphibians. The population of humans has increased over the years with people pushing into the forest for their agricultural needs. This has reduced the habitat to just around 10% of the original thus bringing this forest under the endangered category.
9. Madagascar & Indian Ocean Islands – Africa
At No. 9, we have another forest from the continent of Africa. However, the Madagascar & India Ocean Islands Forest is cut off from the mainland of Africa. Therefore, you do not find the same animal habitat as you would find in the rest of the African continent. These groups of islands are the home to many endangered species of plants, insects, birds, and most importantly, the Lemur monkey. In fact, this area is not conducive for agricultural activities. However, man has ventured into other activities like timber harvesting, hunting, and mining. These activities are enough to push the forest towards the endangered category.
8. Philippines – Asia Pacific
The No. 8 spot goes to the forests in the Philippines in the Asia Pacific region. Just about five decades ago these areas were lush green with abundant tree cover. You had a large number of animals roaming freely. Over the last two to three decades, rapid industrialization and urbanization has resulted in the forests losing more than 85% of its green cover. The animal and the bird species have literally disintegrated from these islands in and around the Philippines. As of today, you have only around 5% of the ecosystem intact. This area is rapidly turning into a huge desert.
7. New Caledonia – Asia Pacific
Deforestation has not spared any continent except maybe Antarctica. The main and only reason is that there are no forests in Antarctica. At No. 7, we have the New Caledonia Forest spread along a group of islands in the South Pacific just off the coast of Australia. These forests are the only place in the world where you can see the parasitic conifers. More than 65% of the worlds’ Araucaria trees are from this region alone. However, nickel mining has led to rampant deforestation by the supreme animal, man. As a result, the forest cover has reduced by more than 85% to 90% making this forest rank No. 7 on this list of endangered forests in the world.
6. Sundaland – Asia Pacific
From Australia, we move northwards towards the Indo-Malayan archipelago where we find the Sundaland Forest. These forests were once spread right across the islands of Java, Sumatra, and Borneo. You could find some of the most unique plantations in this forest. In addition, this forest is also the home to the South East Asian rhinoceros. Everybody knows that this is the area of rubber plantations. Man’s quest to tap more rubber and acquire more timber has led to rampant deforestation in these areas. Hence, you find a great reduction in the forest cover to only around 7% of the original habitat. This qualifies this forest to rank as No. 6 on the top 10 endangered forest list.
5. California Floristic Province – North America
The No. 5 spot goes to the California Floristic Province in North America. This area is the home to the largest tree family in the world, the Sequoia. You can also find the coastal redwood, a similar kind of tree to the Sequoia. The stems of the trees are so large that a truck can easily pass beneath a cut stem. This region is the main habitat of the American Condor. These birds have literally become extinct over the years. Expanding urbanization, environmental pollution, and illegal farming are the main reasons for the rapid deforestation and reduction in the forest cover to around % of their original habitat.
4. Coastal Forests of Eastern Africa
After literally touring Asia, Australia, and America, we come back to the Eastern African forests along the fragile East Coast of Africa. The forests of central Africa are thick whereas these areas along the coast have disintegrated. You can find some exotic species of endemic monkeys here. Reckless hunting by the locals has literally reduced the monkeys to the brink of extinction. As the human population increases, you find the forests getting reduced to a great extent. Commercial farming has also resulted in the rapid deforestation of these exotic forests. Now, you barely have 10% of these forests intact. In the years to come, there is no guarantee that this will sustain. Hence, these forests along the Eastern Coast of Africa rank at the 4th place in this list.
3. Indo Burma Forests – Asia Pacific
The Indo Burma forests were at one point in time thick with vegetation. Over the years, the have seen mass deforestation. This area is the home of some of the most exotic animals in the world such as freshwater turtles. You can also see some of the largest species of fishes here such as the Jullien’s Golden carp, and the giant catfish. This area is under constant danger of people pushing in to increase their rice cultivation. This has resulted in the destruction of more than 90% of the forest cover. Unless, the administration takes proper care of these forests, they will be consigned to history within no time.
2. Mountains of South-West China – Asia Pacific
China has some of the most beautiful forests in the world. However, the mountains of South-West China have seen rapid deforestation over the years. At one point in time, you could see some of the greatest coniferous forests in this area. The Giant Panda is also one animal that is literally becoming extinct. Overgrazing of the domestic animals had reduced the forest cover a great deal. Now, with the construction of the Three Gorges Dam, more than 90% of the forest has been consumed. The forest itself is literally facing extinction. This forest occupies the No. 2 spot in this particular list of the Top 10 endangered forests in the World.
1. Atlantic Forest – South America
Finally, we come to the only continent left, i.e. South America. Unfortunately, the Atlantic Forest encompassing the entire Atlantic side coast of the continent is on the verge of extinction. The countries involved include Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay, and Uruguay. This tropical forest is the home to more than 20,000 varieties of plants as well as 23 endangered animal species. Agriculture, especially the sugarcane and the coffee plantations are the main culprits for the endangerment of these magnificent forests. With just about 9% of the forest cover left, this area has the ignominy of being the No. 1 in this list of endangered forests in the world.
You have just seen the damage Man can cause to the forests because of his agricultural and industrial activities. In his urge to create a better world for the future generation, Man is destroying the forest cover. This can lead to rapid global warming leading to the melting of the ice caps and resulting in an increase in the sea levels all over the world.