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The Rainforest: A Web Of Relationships

Aug 17, 2007
People talk about the rainforest as an ecosystem, but most tend to think of the trees (and to some extent, plants) as merely a habitat for the animals that survive within its domain. However, there is a much deeper and more complex relationship than that: the trees, plants, birds, mammals, reptiles and insect of the forest are all equal and vital contributors to the ecosystem. They may play slightly or very different roles, but nonetheless contribute equally to the well-being and balance of the rainforest. The trees provide shelter and food, while the birds, mammals and insects propagate the progeny of the plants (the seeds, pollens and spores) so that the next generation of plants can succeed their parents. The animals also interact in a way that keeps the balance of predators and prey in check, so that there's always plenty to eat, and enough space for everyone.

One tends to think of living organisms in terms of their shapes and sizes. There is the elephant with its massive frame, long trunk and gleaming white tusks, all the way down to the tireless ant workers. The human-centric way of thinking leads us to believe that there is a hierarchy of importance in the web of life, when in fact every living organism is built uniquely for the way it exists and behaves in this marvellous bioshpere that we call Earth. The giant trees of the rainforest, with their lush foliage; the tiniest of insects, with their finely evolved body structure and unique niche; all of these wonderful living organisms work in their fascinating ways, not just for themselves, but together for the benefit of their environment. It is sustainable living at its absolute perfection.

This is not just some casual relationship that can be easily formed and broken. It's something that has taken many hundreds, if not thousands of years to build up, to negotiate. Something that has taken each participate to contribute, to work out their roles and their differences so that the whole ecosystem functions seamlessly. It's as if the rainforest behaves as one single unit, fluid and poetic in its function and form. The fact that such a diverse group of organisms can learn to co-operate in such an admirable fashion, in contrast to the human race (a group of very similar organisms), really does put us to shame. Perhaps this is something that humans should be eager to explore and learn about, so that we can make our living space much more in harmony with the world that we live in - like the rest of the citizens of this planet.
About the Author
Learn about Birds, Plants, Insects & the Rainforest at http://www.paradiseearthonline.com/
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