World forests are home to a large number of the world's plant and animal species, including many endangered species. They are the habitat for about two-thirds of terrestrial species. As forests are cut down, many species are doomed to extinction. Some rainforest species can only survive in their natural habitat.

Tropical rainforests support the greatest diversity of living organisms on Earth. Although they cover less than 2% of Earth's surface, rainforests house more than 50% of plants and animals on Earth. Here are some examples of the richness of rainforests:
- rainforests have 170,000 of the world's 250,000 known plant species
- the United States has 81 species of frogs, while Madagascar which is smaller than Texas, may have 300 species.
- Europe has 321 butterfly species, while a park in the rainforest of Peru, Manu National Park, has 1300 species.

According to the IUCN there are now almost 45,000 species considered at risk of extinction. Our closest relatives in the animal world: chimpanzees, gorillas and orangutans, are destined to become extinct within the next few decades if we continue to destroy the forests that host them. Every day, 50 to 130 species become extinct. We are facing the most dramatic wave of extinctions since the disappearance of the dinosaurs 65 million years ago.  An ecological disaster is happening at an unprecendented rate; previous crisis played out over millions of years, and in the presence of natural disasters.

 

The Tapanuli orangutan is a sensational discovery – it was only recognized as a distinct species in 2017 and it is already facing extinction. Only 800 individuals remain, hidden in a small patch of forest in northern Sumatra. A Chinese hydropower project may soon destroy their habitat.

It was only in November 2017 that scientists found that the orangutans in Tapanuli are a distinct species and not a subspecies of the Sumatran orangutan. They gave them the name Pongo tapanuliensis. Genome analyses have shown that the Tapanuli orangutan split from the Borneo orangutan line 670,000 years ago. Pongo tapanuliensis is thus the rarest and most critically endangered orangutan species.

This discovery shows us just how little we know about our closest relatives and how incomplete our understanding of biodiversity remains. Humans are driving other species to extinction faster than we can discover and document them. The Tapanuli orangutans will also face that fate if a massive hydropower project is realized in their habitat.

800 individuals – the last of their kind – cling to survival in a forest south of Lake Toba. In Batang Toru Forest, the state-owned Chinese hydropower company Sinohydro wants to build a dam for a 510 MW power plant as part of China's Belt & Road mega-infrastructure initiative.

Wildlife experts are horrified: The dam would destroy the only habitat of the Tapanuli orangutan, marking the beginning of the end of the world’s rarest primate.

Rainforest Rescue ask to sign a petition to stop the hydropower dam project.

More than a third of the 7,000-odd living species of frogs and toads are found in rain forests around the world. But the fossil record for amphibians from these kinds of wet, tropical environments has been almost nonexistent, leaving paleontologists with few clues to their early evolution. Now, lumps of amber dating back to the Cretaceous period have revealed a set of four tiny tropical frogs that lived alongside the dinosaurs, making them the oldest frog fossils of their kind. The specimens include the remains of an ancient frog complete enough to be described as a new species, called Electrorana limoae.

Geologists just discovered 260-million year old forests in Antarctica. And they could provide a glimpse into a climate-changing future. Antarctica wasn't always a barren and largely uninhabitable landscape of snow and ice. Almost 260 million years ago, the world's coldest and driest continent was awash with lush, thriving forests -- and a group of geologists have just found one.

Thirty Indonesian NGOs have sent a letter to twenty banks in China and Europe calling on them to divest from APRIL and its related companies. In 2015, after a long history of rainforest distraction and community rights abuses, APRIL announced a new commitment. Since then the company has failed at proper implementation. Its suppliers were caught several times violating Indonesian regulations, leading the government to recently suspend its working plan. After years of frustration and a lack of integrity by the company, the only two remaining NGOs have now left the APRIL sustainability advisory committee.

On July 4, Hong Kong customs officials seized about 7.2 metric tons of ivory tusks in what they estimate to be the world’s largest seizure of ivory tusks over the past 30 years. The ivory is estimated to be worth around HK$72 million (~$9.2 million).