Raintree advocates the preservation of rainforests by promoting the use and creating consumer markets for sustainable and renewable rainforest products with a special emphasis on it's important medicinal plants. Thousands of pages of documentation, validation and information on rainforest medicinal plants can be found on this website in an effort to help educate people about the true wealth of the rainforest - these important and highly effective medicinal plants.
Experts agree that by leaving the rainforests intact and sustainably harvesting it's many medicinal plants, nuts, fruits, oil-producing plants, and other resources like rubber, chocolate, and chicle, the rainforest has more economic value than if they were cut down to make grazing land for cattle or for timber. The latest statistics show that rainforest land converted to cattle operations yields the land owner $80 per acre and if timber is harvested, the land is worth about $500 per acre. However, if these renewable and sustainable resources are harvested, the land will yield the land owner almost $3,000 per acre. Just as important, to wildharvest these rainforest resources effectively, local people and indigenous inhabitants are employed. Today, entire communities and indigenous tribes living in the rainforest earn 5 to 10 times more money wild harvesting these renewable resources than they can earn by chopping down the forest for subsistence crops - one of the leading causes of deforestation. If managed properly, the rainforest can provide the world's need for these natural resources on a perpetual basis.
Promoting the use of these sustainable and renewable sources could stop the destruction of the rainforests. And, it's not that hard. . . Raintree has led the way over the last 20 years, introducing over 60 rainforest medicinal plants to the herbal supplements market world wide. Some have become very common herbs of commerce, now offered by many companies under many different labels. Why? Because they work. There is something special about the plants that grow in the Amazon. The Amazon is teaming with life and it's biodiversity is unequaled. One hectare (2.47 acres) of Amazon rainforest land may contain over 750 types of trees and 1500 species of higher plants. Unfortuately, that biodiversity also includes an equally amazing number of bacteria, viruses, fungi, mold, parasites, and insects species that rainforest inhabitants and the plants must combat. To survive in this unique environment, rainforest plants create powerful and complex chemical defense mechanisms against these pathogens and harmful species. Many scientists are now studying these defensive plant chemicals for their anti-bacterial, anti-viral, anti-fungal and anti-cancerous actions in their search for new drugs. It is of little wonder that the U.S. National Cancer Institute has identified 3,000 plants that are active against cancer cells and 70% of these plants are found in the rainforest. These rainforest plants are powerhouses of active and beneficial plant chemicals. They are the true wealth of the rainforest and they can be the pharmacy to the world.
The people in the rainforest, led by the shamans, medicine men, and herbal healers, have learned over a millenia how to harness the power of these rainforest plants to protect themselves from the same harmful pathogens and to treat other common diseases. These plants have been their only pharmacy in the remote jungles of the Amazon. Since Amazonian Indians are often the only ones who know both the properties of their plants and how they can best be used, their knowledge is now considered an essential component of all efforts to conserve and develop the rainforest. Once again, Raintree has led the way in documenting their knowledge to be put into the public purview and shared with all rather than to be secreted away until these plants or their active plant chemicals can be patented and profited by a few. Failure to document this knowledge would represent a tremendous economic and scientific loss to the world.
This has been one of Raintree's core missions since it's inception and it led to the creation of Raintree's extensive Tropical Plant Database that has been on this website since 1995. The knowledge shared in the Tropical Plant Database, and Raintree's director, Leslie Taylor's books is crucial to help educate people everywhere what to use these powerful rainforest plants for and how to use them effectively so that profitable consumer markets CAN be created. This profits the consumer with a highly effective herbal product armed with the knowlege of how to best use it to positively affect their health. It profits the people in the rainforest by providing an income harvesting these plants to meet this consumer demand. It profits the governments of rainforest countries (who control or own most of the remaining undeveloped land in the Amazon) with increased GDPs and more taxes and harvesting fees on those profitable local enterprizes meeting this consumer-driven demand and exporting these plants and resources to world markets. And, most importantly, it profits the rainforest by demonstrating to those who are destroying it, that there is more value in keeping it alive and thriving than to continue the destruction.
This is a viable solution that makes a real impact, and it can make a real difference. By purchasing renewable and sustainable rainforest products and resources we can all be part of the solution, and the rainforests of the world can be saved. We hope you enjoy your journey through the Raintree website and leave with the knowledge you need to positively affect your health which can then positively affect the health of the rainforest.
“Regardless of which eyes view this forest, there it is a wealth of raw materials therein, which can be rationally exploited so that they yield employment and income to tropical forest residents while preserving the forest as an aesthetic, conservational, and economic entity... If Brazil Nuts and rubber alone make the standing irreplaceable forest worth more than the cattle farm or the soybean farm that might replace it, how much more valuable can green consumerism make that forest?”
James A. Duke, Tropical Botanical Extractives,