photo M. Noonan

Every day plants undergo a process called photosynthesis, in which they take in carbon dioxide and sunlight to produce nutrients for energy. Plants also produce oxygen as a result of photosynthesis, which they release into the atmosphere as a by-product. Because of this, plants play a vital role in supporting life on Earth, in that many organisms, including humans, need to breathe in oxygen in order to survive.

Because more than half of all the known plants in the world reside in tropical rainforests, it is not surprising that these ecosystems, which today only cover about 6% of the globe, produce 40% of all oxygen in the atmosphere.

If rainforests continue to disappear at their current rate, they will be gone by 2020. However, the extinction of these forests, and the oxygen they produce can be halted through a combination of reforestation and conservation efforts. Click on our links at the left to see what you can do to assure that these oxygen suppliers will remain for our future generations.

photo M. Noonan


CAC is a program of the Institute for the Study of Human-Animal Relations at Canisius College in Buffalo, NY.