What role do the rainforests play in the water cycle?
Anyone who can remember (at least vaguely) what they learned in primary school should be able to tell you that the rainforests are invaluable to the way our planet functions when it comes to oxygen. But what about water?
There are anywhere between 5 and 6.8 million square miles of tropical rainforest covering around 8% of the land on earth. This rainforest plays a crucial role in regulating the earth’s water cycle via transpiration and evaporation.
The science part
Because the rainforest is so dense with foliage, when trees draw water from the soil and release that water into the air via transpiration, this plays a major part in how the clouds in the area and the surrounding area are formed. The more water vapour released into the air; the more clouds are formed, and the more rain is generated. The more rain is generated; the better things are for our planet.
In effect, rainforests store water like gigantic sponges. Indeed, more than half of the world’s water is stored in the Amazon forests. Without the rainforests doing their important job recycling the world’s water, feeding it back into the rivers and lakes that keep us all going, famine and disease would be widespread.
The global water cycle
What does rainfall in a rainforest in South America have to do with the current weather in London? More than you’d think. This is because rainforests don’t just add water to their immediate area – they add water to the whole atmosphere. Because all that moisture can’t possibly stay in one place.
How can we help?
Rainforests are being culled at a rate of around 55,000 square miles every year. That’s about half the size of the UK. If this continues, there will be no rainforest left in 100 years. So how do we stop this from happening and irreparably damaging our water cycle?
- Education is the most important thing here. Many people remain unaware of the importance of the rainforests on the water cycle so don’t be afraid to spread the word.
- Donate to a charity that works to conserve the rainforest. These charities provide emergency relief to people being directly impacted by wildfires and can even provide drones to get supplies to indigenous people.
- Reduce your consumption of wood and paper. This can be done by lots of little things like digitising your resources, using less toilet paper and ensuring that you only use paper when necessary. Because every sheet counts.
- There are organisations that allow you to buy land in the Amazon rainforest to protect it from logging and mining. You’d be surprised by quite how affordable the land is too.
- Make every effort to reduce your water consumption. One of the most realistic ways you can do this is to install a water filter in your home. The better the quality of your water, the less you’ll need to use and the more water you’ll be saving for the rest of the planet.