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Mongabay.com is considered a leading source of information on tropical forests by some of the world's top ecologists and conservationists. TROPICAL RAINFORESTS: Saving What Remains

Gaia Theory



The basic tenant of the Gaia theory is that life makes life possible on Earth. In other words, without the presence of biological entities on Earth, life in the form as we know it would not exist. J.E. Lovelock argues in his work, Gaia: A New Look At Life on Earth, that the atmosphere of our planet is highly improbable based its chemical composition. Certain gases, like oxygen should be much rarer (less than 1% instead of 21% of atmospheric content); while other common gases should be present. The carbon dioxide content should be 98%, making the planet an unbearable 600°F. These conditions probably existed 3.5 billion years ago, but as life appeared, life altered these conditions. Carbon dioxide disappeared from the atmosphere as it was extracted by life as is lived and died (oil and peat deposits).

Whether this lends credence to a supernatural being is an unanswerable debate.

In The Future of Life E.O. Wilson describes the two versions of the Gaia theory:
    The strong version holds that the biosphere is a true superorganism, with each species in it optimized to stabilize the environment and benefit from balance in the entire system, like cells of the body or workers of an ant colony . . . The strong version, however, is generally rejected by biologists, including Lovelock himself, as a working principle. The weak version, on the other hand, which holds that some species exercise widespread and even global influence, is well substantiated. Its acceptance has stimulared important new programs of research.
Wilson, E.O. The Future of Life. 2002. New York: Alfred Knopf. 11-12.





Continued: Saving rainforests [an error occurred while processing this directive]
Solutions Introduction
Sustainable Forest Products
Large-scale Forest Products
Medicinal Drugs
Logging
Logging (con't)
Oil
Conservation Priorities
Reserve Size & Valuation
Organization
Intergovernmental Institutions
Communication, Education
Indigenous people
- - - -
References (1)
References (2)
References (3)
References (4)
References (5)
Eco-tourism
Foods & Genetic Diversity
Medicinal Drugs & Pesticides
Logging (con't)
Cattle
Increasing Productivity
Types of Reserves
Funding
Developing nations
NGOs
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Conclusion

- - - -
Kids version of this section
- How can we save rainforests?
- Education
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- Sustainable development
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- What you can do


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Copyright Rhett Butler 1994-2015

Carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions generated from mongabay.com operations (server, data transfer, travel) are mitigated through an association with Anthrotect,
an organization working with Afro-indigenous and Embera communities to protect forests in Colombia's Darien region.
Anthrotect is protecting the habitat of mongabay's mascot: the scale-crested pygmy tyrant.

"Rainforest" is used interchangeably with "rain forest" on this site. "Jungle" is generally not used.