Rainforests are divided into two types: tropical moist rainforests and temperate-zone rainforests.
The world's largest and most famous tropical rainforest is in the Amazon River basin of South America, but Africa, Asia and Australia also host extensive tropical forest cover
Many tropical rainforest trees--including mahogany, teak, rosewood, balsa and sandalwood trees--provide hard wood that has been popular in furniture production and shipbuilding since colonial times.
The logging of rainforest wood to produce furniture and ships for Europeans and Americans contributed greatly to the exploitation of tropical forests in Indonesia and Africa throughout the 19th and 20th centuries.
According to ecologists, the ravaging of the rainforests harms not only the trees, animals and people within the forests themselves.
Experts have outlined a number of negative effects of continued rainforest destruction, some of which have already begun to become reality:
- Depleted Oxygen Production
- Global Climate Change
- Mass Species Extinction
- Decimation of Indigenous Cultures
Nearly everyone concedes that the rainforests will disappear within decades if no action is taken soon.
"I'm worried that in a decade," says the WWF's Purnomo, "we'll all be environmentally aware, but there'll be nothing left to defend."