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Home > Category Index for Science Quotations > Category Index R > Category: Rain Forest

Rain Forest Quotes (21 quotes)
Rainforest Quotes, Tropical Forest Quotes, Tropical Rainforest Quotes


A lot of people ask, 'Do you think humans are parasites?' It's an interesting idea and one worth thinking about. People casually refer to humanity as a virus spreading across the earth. In fact, we do look like some strange kind of bio-film spreading across the landscape. A good metaphor? If the biosphere is our host, we do use it up for our own benefit. We do manipulate it. We alter the flows and fluxes of elements like carbon and nitrogen to benefit ourselves—often at the expense of the biosphere as a whole. If you look at how coral reefs or tropical forests are faring these days, you'll notice that our host is not doing that well right now. Parasites are very sophisticated; parasites are highly evolved; parasites are very successful, as reflected in their diversity. Humans are not very good parasites. Successful parasites do a very good job of balancing—using up their hosts and keeping them alive. It's all a question of tuning the adaptation to your particular host. In our case, we have only one host, so we have to be particularly careful.
Talk at Columbia University, 'The Power of Parasites'.
Science quotes on:  |  Biosphere (10)  |  Carbon Cycle (5)  |  Coral Reef (7)  |  Deforestation (39)  |  Environment (138)  |  Nitrogen Cycle (2)  |  Parasite (28)  |  Virus (22)

Among the scenes which are deeply impressed on my mind, none exceed in sublimity the primeval [tropical] forests, ... temples filled with the varied productions of the God of Nature. No one can stand in these solitudes unmoved, and not feel that there is more in man than the mere breath of his body.
In What Mr. Darwin Saw in His Voyage Round the World in the Ship “Beagle” 1879, 170.
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Different kinds of animals and plants live together in different places: camels in deserts, whales in the seas, gorillas in tropical forests. The totality of this diversity from the genetic level, through organisms to ecosystems and landscapes is termed collectively biological diversity.
From Reith Lecture, 'Biodiversity', on BBC Radio 4 (19 Apr 2000). Transcript and audio on BBC website.
Science quotes on:  |  Animal (309)  |  Biological Diversity (2)  |  Camel (9)  |  Desert (27)  |  Diversity (46)  |  Ecosystem (21)  |  Genetics (98)  |  Gorilla (16)  |  Landscape (23)  |  Live (186)  |  Nomenclature (129)  |  Organism (126)  |  Place (111)  |  Plant (173)  |  Sea (143)  |  Term (87)  |  Totality (9)  |  Whale (21)

Deforestation photo of burning brush and timber on the ground + quote caption “Earth skinned alive”
Deforestation of Amazon forest by burning to clear for grazing lands.
Credit: NASA LBA-ECO Project
Earth, Skinned Alive.
[Headline for deforestation book review.]
Newspaper
Headline to book review by Stephen J. Pyne in New York Times (21 Apr 1991), BR19. (The book being reviewed was Kenton Miller and Laura Tangley, Trees of Life: Saving Tropical Forests and Their Biological Wealth.)
Science quotes on:  |  Alive (38)  |  Deforestation (39)  |  Earth (487)

Forests … are in fact the world’s air-conditioning system—the very lungs of the planet—and help to store the largest body of freshwater on the planet … essential to produce food for our planet’s growing population. The rainforests of the world also provide the livelihoods of more than a billion of the poorest people on this Earth… In simple terms, the rainforests, which encircle the world, are our very life-support system—and we are on the verge of switching it off.
Presidential Lecture (3 Nov 2008) at the Presidential Palace, Jakarta, Indonesia. On the Prince of Wales website.
Science quotes on:  |  Deforestation (39)  |  Food (139)  |  Livelihood (8)  |  Lung (17)  |  Planet (199)  |  Population Growth (4)  |  Poverty (29)  |  Storage (3)  |  Switch (7)

I used to worry that all the trees in the jungle would be cut down to make paper for their reports on how to save the rainforest!
Quoted in Binka Le Breton (1993), Voices From the Amazon (1993), 26. As cited in Lykke E. Andersen (ed.), The Dynamics of Deforestation and Economic Growth in the Brazilian Amazon (2002), 1, captioning Nick Birch as a “Forester in Rondonia.”
Science quotes on:  |  Cut (36)  |  Deforestation (39)  |  Jungle (13)  |  Paper (52)  |  Report (31)  |  Save (46)  |  Tree (143)  |  Worry (27)

It is estimated that thirty-five to fifty acres of rain forest are chopped down every minute.
From interview collected in Pamela Weintraub (ed.), The Omni Interviews (1984), 80.
Science quotes on:  |  Acre (7)  |  Chop (5)  |  Destruction (80)  |  Estimate (19)  |  Forestry (11)  |  Minute (25)

It's like seeing a light at the end of the tunnel and the tunnel has leaves on it.
About rain forest destruction and species extinction.
Quoted in Douglas Martin, 'A Brief Walk Through Time', New York Times (4 Jan 2002), E39.
Science quotes on:  |  Deforestation (39)  |  Extinction (55)

My Rainforests Project … has three main elements. Firstly, to determine how much funding the rainforest countries need to re-orientate their economies so that the trees are worth more alive than dead.
Presidential Lecture (3 Nov 2008) at the Presidential Palace, Jakarta, Indonesia. On the Prince of Wales website.
Science quotes on:  |  Alive (38)  |  Dead (45)  |  Deforestation (39)  |  Economy (46)  |  Funding (12)  |  Tree (143)

The forest doctors of the Amazon say each plant has its “song”, and that to know how to use the plant you must listen to its voice.
In 'Fifty Years On, the Silence of Rachel Carson’s Spring Consumes Us', The Guardian (25 Sep 2012).
Science quotes on:  |  Amazon (6)  |  Doctor (100)  |  Forest (88)  |  Know (321)  |  Listen (26)  |  Plant (173)  |  Song (18)  |  Voice (41)

The silencing of the rainforests is a double deforestation, not only of trees but a deforestation of the mind’s music, medicine and knowledge.
In 'Fifty Years On, the Silence of Rachel Carson’s Spring Consumes Us', The Guardian (25 Sep 2012),
Science quotes on:  |  Deforestation (39)  |  Knowledge (1128)  |  Medicine (322)  |  Mind (544)  |  Music (66)  |  Silence (32)  |  Tree (143)

The simple fact is that the world is not paying for the services the forests provide. At the moment, they are worth more dead than alive–for soya, for beef, for palm oil and for logging, feeding the demand from other countries. … I think we need to be clear that the drivers of rainforest destruction do not originate in the rainforest nations, but in the more developed countries which, unwittingly or not, have caused climate change.
Presidential Lecture (3 Nov 2008) at the Presidential Palace, Jakarta, Indonesia. On the Prince of Wales website.
Science quotes on:  |  Alive (38)  |  Beef (4)  |  Dead (45)  |  Deforestation (39)  |  Demand (52)  |  Fact (609)  |  Logging (3)  |  Pay (30)  |  Service (54)  |  Simple (111)  |  World (667)

The time has come to link ecology to economic and human development. When you have seen one ant, one bird, one tree, you have not seen them all. What is happening to the rain forests of Madagascar and Brazil will affect us all.
Quoted in Jamie Murphy and Andrea Dorfman, 'The Quiet Apocalypse,' Time (13 Oct 1986).
Science quotes on:  |  Ant (19)  |  Biology (150)  |  Bird (96)  |  Brazil (3)  |  Ecology (55)  |  Economics (30)  |  Knowledge (1128)  |  Tree (143)

The tragedy of deforestation in Amazonia as well as elsewhere in the tropics is that its costs, in... economic, social, cultural, and aesthetic terms, far outweigh its benefits. In many cases, destruction of the region’s rainforests is motivated by short-term gains rather than the long-term productive capacity of the land. And, as a result, deforestation usually leaves behind landscapes that are economically as well as ecologically impoverished.
From Anthony Bennett Anderson (ed.), Alternatives to Deforestation: Steps Toward Sustainable Use of the Amazon Rain Forest (1990), xi. As cited in Lykke E. Andersen (ed.), The Dynamics of Deforestation and Economic Growth in the Brazilian Amazon (2002), 2.
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The tropical rain forests of the world harbor the majority of the planet’s species, yet this wealth of species is being quickly spent. While the exact numbers of species involved and the rate of forest clearing are still under debate, the trend is unmistakable—the richest terrestrial biome is being altered at a scale unparalleled in geologic history.
In The Fragmented Forest: Island Biogeography Theory and the Preservation of Biotic Diversity (1984),
Science quotes on:  |  Alter (19)  |  Clearing (2)  |  Debate (19)  |  Deforestation (39)  |  Forest (88)  |  Geologic History (2)  |  Harbor (4)  |  Rate (22)  |  Richest (2)  |  Scale (49)  |  Species (181)  |  Spent (3)  |  Terrestrial (14)  |  Trend (16)  |  Tropical (4)  |  Unmistakable (3)  |  Wealth (50)

We need to be realistic. There is very little we can do now to stop the ice from disappearing from the North Pole in the Summer. And we probably cannot prevent the melting of the permafrost and the resulting release of methane. In addition, I fear that we may be too late to help the oceans maintain their ability to absorb carbon dioxide. But there is something we can do—and it could make the whole difference and buy us time to develop the necessary low carbon economies. We can halt the destruction of the world’s rainforests—and even restore parts of them—in order to ensure that the forests do what they are so good at—in other words storing carbon naturally. This is a far easier, cheaper and quicker option than imagining we can rely on as yet unproven technology to capture carbon at a cost of some $50 per tonne or, for that matter, imagining we can achieve what is necessary through plantation timber.
Presidential Lecture (3 Nov 2008) at the Presidential Palace, Jakarta, Indonesia. On the Prince of Wales website.
Science quotes on:  |  Absorbing (3)  |  Carbon Dioxide (20)  |  Cheaper (5)  |  Climate Change (56)  |  Deforestation (39)  |  Destruction (80)  |  Development (228)  |  Difference (208)  |  Disappearance (21)  |  Easier (8)  |  Economy (46)  |  Ensure (8)  |  Forest (88)  |  Global Warming (26)  |  Halt (6)  |  Ice (29)  |  Little (126)  |  Melting (5)  |  Methane (6)  |  Natural (128)  |  Necessity (125)  |  North Pole (3)  |  Ocean (115)  |  Prevention (29)  |  Realism (7)  |  Release (15)  |  Restore (5)  |  Result (250)  |  Stop (56)  |  Storage (3)  |  Summer (26)  |  Technology (199)  |  Timber (7)  |  Time (439)  |  Unproven (3)  |  World (667)

Who would be a better source of information about the forests than aborigines themselves because they have lived off the forest for most of their lives. The forests have provided the aborigines with food, medicine and shelter among other things and yet, the aborigines have never abused or ravaged the forest the way others have.
Keynote address yesterday at the 21st IUFRO World Congress (International Union of Forestry Research Organisations), Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. As quoted in Lee Shi-lan 'Utilise Knowledge of Aborigines for the Conservation of Forests', New Straits Times (14 Aug 2000), 8.
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Yes, we have to [do more to prioritise animals and the environment over human activity]. There are whole areas—the rainforest, for example—that have to be protected for the animals and for the whole of the climate of the planet. That’s a priority if ever there was one.
In Rowan Hooper, 'One Minute With… David Attenborough', New Scientist (2 Feb 2013), 217, No. 2902, 25.
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You hear headlines from time to time about the Amazon rainforest disappearing at a greater or lesser rate.... The real story is that over time the rate has stayed just the same. Year after year, decade after decade, we have failed to stop or really even decrease deforestation...
Online transcript of interview, segment 'Amazon Deforestation' on NPR radio program, Living on Earth (25 Feb 2005).
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[A contemporary study] predicted the loss of two-thirds of all tropical forests by the turn of the century. Hundreds of thousands of species will perish, and this reduction of 10 to 20 percent of the earth’s biota will occur in about half a human life span. … This reduction of the biological diversity of the planet is the most basic issue of our time.
Foreword, written for Michael Soulé and Bruce Wilcox (eds.), papers from the 1978 International Conference on Conservation Biology, collected as Conservation Biology (1980), ix. As quoted and cited in Timothy J. Farnham, Saving Nature's Legacy: Origins of the Idea of Biological Diversity (2007), 208.
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Burned deforestation photo+quote Destroying rain forest for economic gain is like burning a Renaissance painting to cook a meal
Lacandon jungle burned for agriculture in Chiapas, Mexico (by Jami Dwyer) (source)
[Destroying rain forest for economic gain] is like burning a Renaissance painting to cook a meal.
Quoted in R.Z. Sheppard, 'Nature: Splendor in The Grass', Time (3 Sep 1990)
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Carl Sagan Thumbnail In science it often happens that scientists say, 'You know that's a really good argument; my position is mistaken,' and then they would actually change their minds and you never hear that old view from them again. They really do it. It doesn't happen as often as it should, because scientists are human and change is sometimes painful. But it happens every day. I cannot recall the last time something like that happened in politics or religion. (1987) -- Carl Sagan
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