Tropical rainforest: a treasure trove of life on earth

In the CosmoCaixa Science and Technology Museum in Barcelona, ​​Spain, there is a greenhouse with a tropical rain forest. Many years ago, the builders of the Science and Technology Museum went to Brazil to transplant a tropical rain forest on the Amazon River, together with the animals living in it, into the greenhouse in situ, and then nourish it with artificial rain to bring visitors a real impression of the tropical rain forest. .

Although this is only a “model” of the tropical rainforest, the various creatures and their unique survival strategies for adapting to the environment are truly shocking. The tropical rain forest is a kingdom of life, rich in biological species, and colorful life forms: tall trees have evolved magnificent plate-like roots, forming flanks at the base of the trunk, supporting the tall above-ground parts, subject to storms; social insects on the nest Planning, the granary, nursery room and tomb are in their place without interference; from the fish in the water to the birds and beasts on the shore, the animals use the various resources in the rain forest in an orderly manner, coexisting harmoniously, multiplying from generation to generation, And maintain the balance of the system.

From the perspective of biodiversity, tropical rain forests are the most valuable species gene pool for human beings. It not only plays the role of “the lung of the earth”, but also the most important “pharmacy” of human beings, providing about 1/4 of human medicine resources. Tropical rain forests are also home to many lives. In the depths of inaccessible woodlands, many unknown species are still hidden.

The good news is that scientific research is gradually revealing the mysteries of rainforest growth. Since the middle of the 20th century, the massive use of fossil fuels and fertilizers has caused a sharp increase in the deposition of nitrogen and phosphorus in the atmosphere, which has greatly changed the material cycle of the ecosystem. Our nitrogen and phosphorus control experiments in the Jianfengling rainforest of Hainan Island in the past 10 years have revealed the effects of soil nutrient elements on tree growth and the formation of microbial communities. Natural selection, rainforest life is gradually adapting to climate change and human interference, and actively looking for their own way out.

On the other hand, thanks to the spread of the concept of ecological protection, people are repairing the damage that once brought to the tropical rain forest, and some ecological remediation actions based on the harmonious coexistence of man and nature are underway. In Xishuangbanna, Yunnan Province, Asian elephants that lost their habitat due to the fragmentation of tropical rainforests had to choose to invade farmland for food, leading to human-elephant conflicts. Nowadays, the protection plan led by the forestry department will be suitable for afforestation. The barren mountains and wastelands are planted with plants that elephants like to eat, which reduces the destruction of elephants to farmland and residents’ lives. When we humans take the initiative to lower our body and regard ourselves as a member of nature rather than a master, the once seemingly unsolvable problems will be solved by benefiting from a balanced attitude.

In this issue of “Knowledge is Power”, we will show you the magnificence and magic of the tropical rainforest, as well as its irreplaceable value for the earth’s ecology. Mankind today is far from revealing the mysteries contained there. In this case, please protect this rare pure land, and don’t let the secret realm to be explored become an eternal unsolved mystery.