Tropical hot spots affect our daily lives in numerous ways, including:
The forest regularly saves our global food supply by offering new, disease-resistant crops. Although we have sampled only a tiny fraction of the potential foods that tropical forests offer, they already have a profound influence on our diet. An astounding number of fruits (bananas, citrus), vegetables (peppers, okra), nuts (cashews, peanuts), drinks (coffee, tea, cola), oils (palm, coconut), flavorings (cocoa, vanilla, sugar, spices) and other foods (beans, grains, fish) originated in and around the rainforest.
Many of the Western medicines that we use today are derived from plants, and many more may have pharmaceutical properties. Tropical forests have given us chemicals to treat or cure inflammation, rheumatism, diabetes, muscle tension, surgical complications, malaria, heart conditions, skin diseases, arthritis, glaucoma and hundreds of other maladies.
3. Consumer Products
Many of the products you use on a daily basis – form shampoo, soap, paper, liquid detergents, moisturizers, and more – are all derived from tropical forests.
4. Homes and Offices
Tropical forests yield some of the most beautiful and valuable woods in the world, such as teak, mahogany, rosewood, balsa, sandalwood and countless lesser-known species. These woods surround us at home, in shopping malls and in offices. Many are vital to our industries.
By acting as the “lungs of the earth”, these forests regulate local and global weather through their absorption and creation of rainfall and their exchange of atmospheric gases. Cutting the rainforests changes the reflectivity of the earth’s surface, which affects global weather by altering wind and ocean current patterns, and changes rainfall distribution. If the forests continue to be destroyed, global weather patterns may become more unstable and extreme.
Preserving these critical life areas is the mission of The Forecastle Foundation.
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