The mightiest river in the world is the Amazon. It runs from west to east, from the sunset to the sunrise, from the Andes to the Atlantic...The gigantic
equatorial river-basin is filled with an immense forest, the largest in the world.
- Theodore Roosevelt
Tropical rainforests play other important roles in our daily lives. Estimated to house almost half of the world’s plant, animal, and insect life, the forests are the Earth’s primary gene pool from which foods, medicine, and other products for the industrialized world are derived including coffee, tea, sugar, pepper, spices, bananas, rubber, and oils. Tropical rainforest plants already provide one-quarter of today’s pharmaceuticals and, according to The National Cancer Institute, a full 70% of the plants useful in the treatment of cancer are to be found only in our disappearing rainforest.