Rainforests are home to about 50 percent of the world's terrestrial species. Rainforests play an important role in maintaining the climate, protecting against desertification, and providing numerous vital ecological functions.Despite worldwide awareness of the importance of protecting rainforests (and other forests), sadly deforestation rates have not slowed. Figures from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) shows that tropical deforestation increased 8.5 percent from 2000-2005 when compared with the 1990s. Loss of primary forests may have expanded by 25 percent over the same period. Nigeria and Vietnam's rate of primary forest loss has doubled since the 1990s, while Peru's rate has tripled, and other countries like the Philippines have less than sixpercent of primary rainforest.
Another forest under intense threats is the Atlantic Forest of Brazil, being the most devastated ecosystem in the country. It once covered 15% of the entire Brazilian territory and has already lost 93% of its natural range. Now the Atlantic Forest covers a merely 28,600 km2 most in forest reserves. This ecosystem was declared as a Natural Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1999 but it did not stop its sharp decline. Among the most emblematic animal found in the forest is the endangered jaguar (Pantheraonca). Recent survey results show that about 250 adult jaguars remain in the Atlantic Forest, which is a drop of 80% over the past fifteen years. Many other wildlife species are highly threatened like tapirs, giant anteaters and spider monkeys which have become "virtually extinct" due to the fragmentation and emptying of the once dense canopy by farmers and hunters.
Since its start, Endangered Species International (ESI) has been involvinglocal people as conservation stewards, conservationists, reforesters, and informed forest users to protect rainforest. This is a great challenge that requires time in order to achieve progress in the field. ESI does not follow the traditional "top-down" approach to conservation involving large international conservation organizations; such approach has failed around the world and once the organization or project is gone, then deforestation occurs again. Protecting and restoring rainforest is one of the major human challenges of this century and your support is much needed. You canít count on governments alone to save forest. ESI needs you and your support is the backbone of our conservation successes.
Join us today to save and restore rainforest!