Scientists consider the tropical jungles to be the great treasure-house of global biodiversity. The tropical plants contain substances from which man has extracted medicinal compounds since his distant origins.
▶ Spanish video: http://planetdoc.tv/documental-selvas-tropicales
Human population is constantly growing. There are millions of us all seeking food, shelter and benefits from the land and the water. The majority of human beings are poor and live in undeveloped countries, and so have no time to worry about the environmental problems deriving from their activity; that is a luxury they cannot allow themselves in the daily struggle for the survival of their families.
A small plot of land from which to obtain a crop is an invaluable treasure for the majority of humanity. These poor populations are in the countries that still conserve the last virgin territories on the planet, so when they burn or cut down in order to clear land for cultivation, they do so in areas of very high biodiversity, hot spots of world ecology.
The pressure of these poor populations, which seek to cover their most elementary needs, directly affects ecosystems that house the last paradises in our overexploited world. And some of them, the most sensitive, are disappearing at a frightening speed.
Scientists consider the tropical jungles to be the great treasure-house of global biodiversity.
Today, they cover barely 6% of the surface of the Earth, but they are home to half the species known to man.
We have now destroyed over half the original forests of the earth.
The tropical plants contain substances from which man has extracted medicinal compounds since his distant origins.
When a species disappears, it takes with it substances that could have given us the drugs to cure our most deadly diseases.
The animals too, many of them yet to be discovered, contain substances that could cure us, feed us, help us make our work easier.
The natives of the tropical forests consider themselves to be living encyclopaedias of the natural pharmacopoeia of the jungles. They know the secrets of thousands of species, but as they do not have writing in which to pass on their knowledge, it is transmitted orally from generation to generation. But when the jungles are cut down, the natives disappear with them. And the ancestral information of the remedies of the jungle is lost forever.