Coral reefs off Cancun, Mexico. Rainforests and coral reefs both have critical roles in the global environment.

RAINFORESTS HELP STABILIZE CLIMATE     Click here for more detailed information about rainforests!

Rainforests help stabilize the world’s climate by absorbing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Scientists have shown that excess carbon dioxide in the atmosphere from human activities is contributing to climate change. Therefore, living rainforests have an important role in mitigating climate change, but when rainforests are chopped down and burned, the carbon stored in their wood and leaves is released into the atmosphere, contributing to climate change.

Rainforests also affect local weather conditions by creating rainfall and moderating temperatures.

RAINFOREST PHOTOS

By Rhett Butler

Date published: June 24, 2004 | Last updated: March 21, 2014