Vol 4 The Rainforest ... Introduction ... What do the rainforests give us?
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What do the rainforests give us?

Many of the foods found in our kitchens were first discovered in the rainforests of the world.
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Many of the foods found in our kitchen at home were first discovered in the rainforest. Although most are now cultivated outside of the rainforests, some even in our back gardens, wild populations still grow in the forest. When crops are struck by disease scientists sometimes need to go back to plants grown in the wild to procure disease resistant strains which when bred with cultivated varieties may transfer resistance to disease.

There are still hundreds of fruits and crops eaten only by native people but that we may one day find on our supermarket shelves.

One quarter of the medicines used by doctors today originate from rainforest plant species. There are still many more that are unknown to us. Indigenous people have learned to use thousands of plants as medicines. The US National Cancer Institute has identified 3,000 plants which may turn up potential cures for cancer, half of which come from tropical rainforests.

Some pharmaceutical companies are conducting research into chemicals extracted from rainforest plants to find cures for a variety of diseases. Besides food and medicines the rainforest also provides us with many other items including oils, dyes, waxes, flavorings, fibers and rubber. These are only a very few of the many resources that are obtainable through sustainable extraction.