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Tropical Rainforests: Here Today, Gone Tomorrow.

Blackboard Class Discussion

The photo is used for educational purposes by Dr. Nilsson, South Texas College. Used by permission from the photographer. Photo © Ela Kotowska.

x Tropical Rain Forests slideshow

x Tropical Rain Forests slideshow. View the x video below. Mandatory viewing for all students. (1:00 min. It is best if you have fast Internet connection. Sometimes these YouTube links disappear. Please let the instructor know if this happens.) Uploaded by dizzo95. Enjoy!

Introduction. There are eight major terrestrial biomes spread on Earth. Each biome is named or characterized by the type of plant life that predominates the landscape. The plant life is determined by rainfall and temperature (climate) in the area.

The most diverse and complex terrestrial biome is the tropical rainforest. This biome is thought to contain 50 - 90 percent of the world species, including a large number of insect species, most of which have not yet been described. Rainfall in the tropical rainforest is usually over 2000mm (80 inches) of rain per year. Temperatures remain warm allowing a year-round growing season.

Not only is the rainforest important as a home to many of the planet's species, but it also serves as the major carbon dioxide sink on earth. When tropical rainforests are cut down and burned, we lose a reservoir for storing carbon dioxide, and also by burning the plants that store the carbon dioxide, we release that stored carbon dioxide into the atmosphere -- a great "global warming" concern.

Tropical rainforest acreage is disappearing at an alarming rate. Development, agriculture, harvesting of tropical woods, oil exploration, and simple mismanagement have lead to the destruction of millions of acres of rainforest per year. At the current rate of destruction, tropical rainforests will be seriously depleted in our lifetime. This destruction may also alter rainfall patterns in the temperate regions of the world, where we live. This could have a devastating effect because the temperate regions of the planet produce most of the food that feeds the world.

Many environmental groups have taken up the cause of preserving and protecting the tropical rainforest biome.

This subject is also important for the discussion of "Global Warming" (when we get to the discussion about Global warming we will also continue the discussion about tropical rainforests).

x Amazon Rainforest SOS for Live Earth

x View the x video below. Mandatory viewing for all students. (1:00 min. It is best if you have fast Internet connection. Sometimes these YouTube links disappear. Please let the instructor know if this happens.) Uploaded by AmazonWatch. Enjoy!

x Chevron's Amazon Abu Ghraib

x "The largest oil-related environmental disaster in the world - Chevron dumped over 18 billion gallons of toxic wastewater in the Ecuadorian Amazon. Now they are trying to hide their disaster and launching public relations campaigns about "human energy". The truth is Chevron's actions cause death, cancer, birth defects, miscarriages and the worst oil related destruction of the Amazon. They damage is estimate at up to $16 billion. Chevron can't hide its actions any longer and should pay up. Visit www.chevrontoxico.com to learn more and take action!" View the x video below. Mandatory viewing for all students. (1:00 min. It is best if you have fast Internet connection. Sometimes these YouTube links disappear. Please let the instructor know if this happens.) Uploaded by AmazonWatch. Enjoy!

After reading the introduction above, what do you think? Let's us discuss this on Blackboard. To be able to make an informed, educated, opinion you must first gather facts -- information. For this activity you must now gather facts on the Internet (or elsewhere). Links to several sites that may serve you as a starting point for your search for information can be found below. When you think you have gathered, and read, enough information to learn about the subject so you can use it during our WebCT bulletin board discussions, go to the STC WebCT discussion forum for this class and discuss your findings.

Photo: Ela Kotowski, Rainforest lake in Costa Rica.

Short instructions

Read this page with instructions and background information and x videos.

Visit the Rainforests reading links on this page, READ, and LEARN from them.

i. Go to the home page of the Jungle Photos. The pages we will explore will be used as the basis for Blackboard bulletin board discussion about Rainforest People.

A. First, look around the Jungle Photos home page, then click on the "People" link and arrive at the "Amazon People Page". Click "Children with pets". We will use these pictures for our Blackboard discussions.

B. Then, read the paragraph (underlined) below. Click on the text to go to Jungle Photos web page with a picture of rainforest deforestation. On the page you will get to page click on the red small picture or on the text Rondonia 1975 - 1992..

You have probably heard a lot about Amazon deforestation and seen plenty of ugly pictures of logged forest, dam and mining projects, and scorched earth. But the problem is the rate of damage. So much is going so fast, that scientists literally do not know what is being lost. Unknown species are disappearing before their very eyes! The rate of loss is estimated from looking at satellite images of forest cover. Over time scientists can compare how much is present in early images compared with later images. The difference in amount is the rate of loss. From such images it is calculated that in Brazil about 5 to 6 million acres are lost per year (This estimate is an old averaged for the period 1979-1990, according to figures from the Rainforest Action Network)

C. Keep browsing the site for pictures and facts on animals and plants, people and handicrafts, nature scenes and cityscapes. To learn more look through the pages of maps and satellite images. If you wish visit Africa and Galapagos.

ii. Go to the home page of the Rainforest Webquest. While at this site you will read about the rainforest, and at the same time get ideas on how to use the rainforest in education. The Rainforest Webquest is located on the Indiana University (IU) web pages. The pages are under construction, but we will use them as the basis for the second WebCT bulletin board discussion we will have -- Rainforest Education -- after having viewed the Emerald forest in class.

A. First, read the introduction text on the Rainforest Webquest home page, then click on the "Task" link, the "Process", the "Evaluation" link, and the "Conclusion" link. While on the "Process" page click "Rainforest Information".

B. Then, click on one of the links on the "Rainforest Information" page (e.g., "Rainforest Education" is an interesting site, but select anyone or several...)

C. Keep browsing the site, we will use it for our Blackboard discussion.

Think about this critically. Critical thinking and making informed decisions is important in a free society, and it is specially important in the academic world of universities and colleges. Then go to the STC Blackboard on-line for this class. Discuss the problem (and perhaps other related questions). State YOUR opinion.


Some of the text above has been modified from: Finer, K.R. 1998. Internet Activities for General Biology. Wadsworth Publishing Company. p. 217.

x Rainforest Destruction and Human Apathy

x "Most of us have chosen NOT to act - now it looks like our grandchildren will suffer the consequenses. Global Apathy towards deforestation is rife, and as always, we've done far too little, much too late. In 40 years time - there will be NO suitable rainforests left. We will all be trying to live in a "low oxygen" environment. This will cause massive problems including increased disease and failing Human Health on a global scale." View the x video below. Mandatory viewing for all students. (1:00 min. It is best if you have fast Internet connection. Sometimes these YouTube links disappear. Please let the instructor know if this happens.) Uploaded by Subscribe rainforestreplanting. Enjoy!

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