For years, many environmentalists have expressed great concern about the fate of the rainforest. The Rainforest Action Network, for instance, has made the claim that the Amazon is losing “two to three football fields a minute, while actor William Shatner (a.k.a. Captain Kirk) has asserted that, worldwide, rainforests are being cleared at 20 football fields a minute.

But what’s the truth about this jungle story?

Well according to researchers Marc Morano and Kent Washburn of the American Investigator, a T.V. news magazine, the facts about the rainforest can’t be seen through all the emotion-driven trees surrounding them.

In their special report, entitled “Amazon Rainforest: Clear-Cutting the Myths,” Morano and Washburn note:

Landsat data indicate that 87.5 percent of the forest is still intact. Of the 12.5 percent that is deforested, one-third to one-half is in the process of regeneration, meaning that up to 94 percent of the Amazon rainforest is left to nature.

Patrick Moore, a founding member of Greenpeace, says “the rainforests of the Amazon, Congo, Malasia, and Indonesia, … are the least endangered forests [because] they are the least suitable for human habitation.”

The idea that rainforests are the lungs of the world, i.e. they take up carbon dioxide and breath out oxygen, is a myth. Only their fast growing, young trees take in CO2, and because trees fall down and decay, rainforests actually take in more oxygen than they release.

Fears that man is destroying a raw source of medicine are unfounded because the rainforests are remarkably healthy. Incidentally, the sea holds more mysteries for medicine than the rainforests.

The researchers also looked into claims about 50,000 species going extinct each year in the rainforest. And what did they find? Well, when they asked a member of Rainforest Relief to produce even one species that has gone extinct, the individual replied “No we cannot, because we don’t know what those species are.” Apparently, the extinction statistics are generated by a computer at Harvard University and may, in fact, carry no more semblance to reality than “electrons on a hard drive.”

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