Conservation is on everyone’s minds these days. Forests around the world are disappearing, along with the rare species of plants and animals that make their homes in them. Everyone loses when the trees are gone and some forests are already down to virtually nothing, and some of the most diverse habitats in the world will no longer exist in just a few short years. Check out the list of 10 most endangered forests in the world.
Madagascar is the fourth largest island in the world and home to a large number of animal species found only in its lush rainforests. Unfortunately, logging practices have reduced the forested area on the island to just 10% of the original. The insects and animals that once called the island home are gradually disappearing, along with local flora.
2. Eastern Afromontane
The Eastern Afromontane forests run from Saudi Arabia to Zimbabwe and contain more endemic creatures than any other region of Africa. Over 600 species of animal living in the forest cannot be found anywhere else in the world. Despite the amazing species found in this area, just 11% of the forest is left. The rest has been destroyed to make room for banana, tea and bean farms.
3. California Floristic Province
The United States is also home to an endangered forest. The California Floristic Province Forest is known for its impressive sequoia and coastal redwood trees. While some trees are still standing in logged areas, only ten percent of the original forest remains in decent condition. Sadly, many species unique to the area have already gone extinct and others face extinction in the near future if steps are not taken to preserve the forest. Among the highly endangered animals are the last few wild condors in the world.
4. Coastal Forests of East Africa
The coastal forests of East Africa are gradually being cleared away to make room for agriculture. Just 10% of the original forest remains intact. The area is home to the last remaining Tana River Colobus and Magabey, as well as the few remaining Zanzibar Red Colobus. The primates are endangered now, as are dozens of plants that are only found in this particular forest. The area is now drawing more tourist attention, which is both good and bad.
5. Mountains of Southwest China
High in the mountains of China, you’ll find the two rare species of panda. The giant panda and the red panda make the forest their home, but it is rapidly disappearing. The deforestation is mainly due to agriculture, but new roads and dams have also contributed to the destruction of what was once an enormous forested area. Now only 8% of the forest is still intact.
6. Atlantic Forest
The Atlantic Forest runs through Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay. Over forty percent of the more than 20,000 species of plants in the forest are unique to this part of the world. The Atlantic Forest is also home to more than two dozen critically endangered species of animals. Among the endangered animals are lion tamarins. The majority of the forest is being cut down to make way for sugar and coffee plantations.
Sundaland Forest once spread out over 17,000 islands. Among the included islands were Borneo and Sumatra. At this point, just 7% of the forest is still around, leaving many islands almost completely deforested. The forest is the only known habitat for orang-utans, as well as two types of Southeast Asian Rhinos. Many species, endangered or not, are hunted for food and medicine on a daily basis.
8. The Philippines
The Philippines is made up of over 7,000 islands, all of which were once heavily forested. Today, a whopping 93% of the forest is gone, destroyed to make room for expanding towns and plantations. The small amount that is left is home to the Panther Flying Frog and the second largest eagle in the world. These two species do not exist anywhere else.
9. New Caledonia
Nickel mining and invasive plant species are the main reasons just 5% of this amazing forest is left. The South Pacific islands of New Caledonia are not far from Australia and are home to five endemic plant species. One of these is the only parasitic conifer in the world. The growing tourist industry may bring enough attention to conservation to help the remaining forest stay intact.
The Indo-Burma forest is almost completely gone. Only 5% remains intact, despite the area being a very important habitat for wildlife. Some of the biggest freshwater fish in the world live in the rivers that run through the forest, but damming has ruined many habitats. The dams also cause water to rise, preventing local birds from nesting on sandbars and beaches. Entire swamps have been turned into rice paddies, making it impossible for many animals to find a home.
When forests disappear, it’s everyone’s concern. More and more areas of the world are being turned into plantations, farms and industrial sites, taking over irreplaceable habitats.