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Rainforests of the World: Guest post and infographic by Todd Smith

Rainforests are the most vital habitats on Earth, serving as our planet’s powerhouses by creating their own climates; which in turn impacts global weather systems. They also house more than half of the world’s plant and animal species! This month’s guest blog post comes from Todd Smith, an advocate of rainforest preservation with an interest in ecology. Todd has created an incredible infographic, which I’m very happy to share at the end of this post. 

The Earth’s rainforests are truly remarkable areas. Away from the bustle and glitz of major cities, the rainforests provide a pacifying, captivating experience where, instead of car horns and blaring pop music, your ears are serenaded by animals in their natural habitat, leaves blowing gently and splashes of water.

At present, 2% of this planet is covered in rainforests. It’s a figure that ought to be higher, but sadly deforestation continues apace and wonderful rare species of animals and trees are being shepherded towards extinction. For all the destruction of some rainforest regions, though, there are still vast swarms of land which thankfully remain untouched and where you can find animal and plant life you won’t get anywhere else.

By a distance, the Amazon rainforest is the largest in the world. Of South America’s 13 countries, it traverses nine and still extends to 5.5 million square kilometres despite large areas being destroyed by deforestation.

One-third of all plant species on Earth are located in the Amazon Basin, which houses a vast array of animal life including jaguars, cougars, anacondas, piranhas and electric eels. Of course, not all these creatures are friendly(!), but observing them first-hand is nonetheless enthralling.

If South America has the Amazon, then Africa has the Congo Rainforest. Another nine-country expanse covering almost the entire breadth of the southern half of the continent, this is an area which proves that humankind and wildlife can live in pleasant harmony. More than 75 million people reside within the confines of the Congo Rainforest, representing a plethora of native tribes. This is where you’ll find elephants, gorillas and lions in their natural surroundings, encountering them just as readily as you’d spot a McDonalds in any city.

While these rainforest regions are likely to remain largely untouched for generations, there are parts of Asia which have not been so lucky. The Sinharaja Forest Reserve is the last viable area of tropical rainforest in Sri Lanka, having been reduced to less than 90 square kilometres, while the Southeast Asian Rainforest once housed more than 200 tree species in a single hectare before deforestation eradicated most of these.

Here is an infographic guide to some of the world’s most prominent rainforests, with a few interesting facts on each:

 

Todd SmithTodd Smith is the owner of Jarrimber, stockists of quality Jarrah furniture in Australia. He explains “We use Jarrah and Marri timbers in the manufacture of our products, many of which are constructed from recycled timber. Our company is dedicated to promoting environmental responsibility and, where possible, we will always use recycled timber in our factory rather than new timber. Even though our business sells timber products, I would be an advocate of rainforest preservation and I’ve always had an interest in ecology, which is why I wanted to put this infographic together.” For more information visit jarrimber.com.au

 

 

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‘This is our world’ – last chance to walk among nature’s giants!

An elephant towers above my head; just a few footsteps away a mother giraffe stands protectively over her young calf. From this vantage point I can see a closely camouflaged lioness stalking a skittish zebra. I’m not on safari in Africa though; I’m standing in the Royal Horticultural Halls in central London, surrounded by lifesized acrylic paintings of animals in their natural habitats.

The astonishing ‘This is Our World’ exhibition was comprised of a collection of work by acclaimed British-born artist Omra Sian.

Incredibly, some pieces spanned more than six metres in height and seven metres wide!

The exhibition focused on educating, informing and inspiring visitors from all walks of life about wildlife, conservation and climate change, and was curated by not for profit organisation Art World Conservation.

Each artwork was accompanied by a poignant description of the endangered species depicted and the reason they are threatened – so it was no surprise that the exhibition was hosted in partnership with the Born Free foundation and the International Fund for Animal Welfare.

It’s honestly hard to not feel overwhelmed standing among such detailed and textured scenes showcasing the heart of the African Savannah, the icy Arctic Circle, the lush Amazon Rainforest and the dramatic scenes found deep in the ocean.

Apparently this is the first time the acrylic-on-canvas paintings have been displayed collectively — due to public demand!

There really is a power in seeing these images of some of the planet’s most iconic wildlife species standing side-by-side, as the exhibition title suggests; it really gives a sense of one world, which belongs to us all.

High-definition paintings include the endangered black rhino, majestic lion, towering Rothschild giraffe and elusive great white shark, and information throughout the exhibition (which has also hosted talks from leading wildlife charities and conservationists) offered the chance to learn more about efforts to protect wildlife from threats including climate change and the illegal wildlife trade.

The Artist

Artist and conservationist Omra Sian has been a professional artist for over 30 years.

He spent over 10 years meticulously researching and creating this unique body of work, and travelled around the world to study his subjects in their natural habitats.

Omra hopes that the imagery will both inspire and educate visitors to learn more about conserving the planet and why it is paramount we all do so.

He says: “I once read a quote that said ‘life begins when you come out of your comfort zone’ – so I made sure I stayed out of mine to create this collection.”

“The collection makes people challenge the way they think about the natural world. It is the IMAX of wildlife art and the images painted are scientifically correct.”

“It really was a labour of love! To create canvases on this scale required me to climb up and down scaffolding up to 40 times a day, or paint whilst lying on the floor for hours at a time, so each piece really does represent a huge amount of physical and mental dedication, as well as investment of time.”

“The event will inspire, educate and inform visitors – young and old – about the world we live in; the creatures and habitats we share it with and why they are so important to conserve. Often the simplest of changes by many people can make an enormous difference and this event is about inspiring those changes. Educating children is paramount as they are the future, and I hope the painting will inspire them to learn about flora and fauna, as I did when I was a child”.

A child’s depiction of the Siberian tiger painting shown above is displayed at the end of the exhibition.

It is hoped that this collection can be taken around the globe to education and inspire everybody to conserve the planet for a sustainable future.

Good news if you aren’t able to make it to London for its final days!

Like this? Read about my own conservation art exhibition here.

See what happened when Millie Marotta held her ‘Colouring for conservation’ event

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