Rainforests rule
热带雨林法则

by Claire Powell
克莱尔鲍威尔

A world like no other – perhaps this is the best way to describe the world of the rainforest. No rainforest is exactly the same – yet most rainforests are now distributed in the small land area 22.5 degrees north and 22.5 degrees south of the Equator, between the Tropic of Capricorn and the Tropic of Cancer. You can find tropical rainforests in South America and Indonesia. Other rainforests flourish further from the Equator, in Thailand and Sri Lanka.
独一无二——这或许是对热带雨林最为贴切的描述了。尽管大部分的热带雨林都位于南北回归线之间,分布在赤道以南和以北22.5度内的小片陆地上,但世界上的热带雨林都各有所异。你既可以在南美和印尼寻觅到热带雨林踪迹,也能在赤道附近的赤道和斯里兰卡看见它们的倩影。

Despite occupying a relatively small area, rainforests have a colossal role to play in maintaining the world as we know it. Tropical rainforests are home to a rich, colourful variety of medicinal plants, food, birds and animals. Can you believe that a single bush in the Amazon may have more species of ants than the whole of Britain! 480 varieties of trees may be found in just one hectare of rainforest. These forests sustain around 50% of all the species on Earth, and offer a way of life to many people living in and around the forest.
尽管只占据了相当小的区域,但是热带雨林在维持整个世界的生态平衡中所扮演的角色可是非同小可。他们蕴藏了丰富多彩的药用植物、食物以及鸟禽猛兽。你可以想象吗,仅仅亚马逊灌木丛所存在的蚂蚁种类比整个英国的都要多!在热带雨林中,你甚至可以在一公顷的面积内发现480种树木。这些雨林维持着全球50%的物种生存,并且给很多雨林区域内的人们提供了生存之道。

Rainforests are the lungs of the planet – storing vast quantities of carbon dioxide and producing a significant amount of the world’s oxygen. Rainforests have their own perfect system for ensuring their own survival; the tall trees make a canopy of branches and leaves which protect themselves, smaller plants, and the forest animals from heavy rain, intense dry heat from the sun and strong winds.
热带雨林就是地球的肺——它吸纳了大量的二氧化碳,并制造了全球氧气的很大部分。热带雨林有着自己完善的生态体系以维持自身的存在;高大的树木生长出的枝节和树叶形成了大大的华盖,既保护了自己,也保护了一些小型植被和雨林中的动物,让它们免受骤雨、暴晒和飓风的侵扰。

Amazingly, the trees grow in such a way that their leaves and branches, although close together, never actually touch those of another tree. Scientists think this is a deliberate tactic to prevent the spread of any tree diseases and make life more difficult for leaf-eating insects like caterpillars. To survive in the forest, animals must climb, jump, fly or glide across the gaps. The ground floor of the forest is not all tangled leaves and bushes, like in films, but is actually fairly clear. It is where leaves decompose into food for the trees and other forest life.
惊异的是,虽然雨林中的树木生长地如此巨大,但是树与树之间的枝节和树叶只会紧密相连,而非相互接触。科学家认为这是一种深思熟虑之后的策略,以此来预防树木类疾病的传播,以及降低像毛毛虫这样的食叶昆虫的成活率。生存在这样的雨林之中的动物需要在丛林的间隙之中攀爬跳跃,和飞翔滑翔。热带雨林的地面其实是相当干净的,而并非如电影里面所拍摄的一样堆满了紊乱不堪的树枝树叶。落叶最终会坠落于地面,并分解为树木和其他雨林生命的食物。

They are not called rainforests for nothing! Rainforests can generate 75% of their own rain. At least 80 inches of rain a year is normal – and in some areas there may be as much as 430 inches of rain annually. This is real rain – your umbrella may protect you in a shower, but it won’t keep you dry if there is a full rainstorm. In just two hours, streams can rise ten to twenty feet. The humidity of large rainforests contributes to the formation of rainclouds that may travel to other countries in need of rain.
热带雨林这名字可不是白叫的。雨林可以自我形成所需降雨的75%。每年80英寸的降水量对于热带雨林来说再普通不过了,有些区域每年降水量甚至最多可以达到430英寸。这些可都是货真价实的降水——雨伞能保你在阵雨中安然无恙,但是在一场真正的暴风雨中,雨伞可就有心无力了。仅仅两个小时,河流可以上升十到二十英尺。而庞大的热带雨林湿气则可以形成雨云,这些雨云则可以飘往那些缺雨水的国家。

Worryingly, rainforests around the world are disappearing at an alarming rate, thanks to deforestation, river pollution, and soil erosion as land is being claimed for agriculture and trees are felled for wood. A few thousand years ago, tropical rainforests covered as much as 12% of the land surface on Earth, but today this has fallen to less than 5.3%.
令人担忧的是,全球范围内的热带雨林正在以惊人的速度消亡。这些都是由于森林采伐、河流污染、水土流水、农业用地开垦以及伐木所造成的。几千年前,热带雨林在地球上的覆盖率为12%,而如今这个数字已经跌至了5.3%。

We can only hope that the world governments work together with environmentalists and businesses to use their environmental knowledge and power to preserve the rainforests – awe-inspiring, beautiful and vital for our existence.
我们所能期盼的则是世界政府可以和环境保护者以及商业人士齐心协力,运用他们的环境知识和权力来保护热带雨林。因为他们不仅是如此令人惊叹和美丽的存在,也对我们人类生存有着生死攸关的作用!