Most of the plants and animals found in rainforests today could die out by the end of the century because of climate change and illegal logging, according to a new study. The colourful wildlife found in tropical humid forests makes up more than half of the animal and plant species on Earth.
But the first study to look into the combined effect of both global warming and deforestation found most species are in danger of extinction. The study by the Carnegie Institution for Science in Washington predicted that by 2100 only 18 to 45 per cent of the plants and animals in tropical forests may exist as they are today.
This will mean that most will have to adapt, move or die.
The scientists calculated the threat to rainforests from drought or forest fires as the world warms by looking at 16 different climate change models from research centres around the world.
They also studied the threat of deforestation by looking at satellite imagery showing the rate of illegal logging. The worst affected areas will be the Amazon, followed by the rainforests in Africa and Indonesia.