Trees are vital to life on this planet. They clean the air from pollutants, provide oxygen, create habitat and biodiversity, combat climate change through the removal and storage of carbon dioxide and so much more.
The forests across the world are essential to the health of our planet, and although only cover 6%, they contain over half of planet's animal and plant species.
In one year an acre of mature trees can provide enough oxygen for 18 people.1
With the devastating loss of rainforests through deforestation every year, it is important that we learn more about their value to us and the planet, to encourage their conservation.
Thanks to the Eden Project, you can now learn the importance and the impact of rainforests on our climate, at their latest addition, the Weather Maker.
The new feature is part of the Rainforest Canopy Walkway, and will take visitors on a trek across an aerial rope bridge, provide shelter from tropical rain and then journey through the clouds, all showing how rainforests affect weather.
The 23 metre bridge links the two tallest trees in the biome, at 50m high, and walking through the clouds created by the rainforest ecosystem, will enable visitors to see how they work in reflecting sunlight which helps cool the planet. There are interactive exhibits such as the transpiration tree, a climate platform exploring the relationship between climate and atmosphere and a rain shack looking out onto tropical rain, with explanations as to how it is created in the rainforest.
The Weather Maker has been developed with support from the Met Office and the University of Exeter, with their latest research available for visitors at the Rainforest Research Camp.
A new planting scheme featuring colourful bromeliads will also be included, representing real rainforest ecosystems. Bromeliads are epiphytic plants (grows harmlessly on other plants) that grow on trees, stumps and branches, and are adapted to rainforest life by anchoring themselves in the canopy and catching rainwater. This then supports salamanders, frogs and lizards.
The new feature is open from March 18th 2017, and is a valuable addition to the 15-year-old Eden Project rainforest.
Dr Jo Elworthy, Eden’s Director of Interpretation, said: "We’ll also be showing you how you can get involved and support projects or take actions to conserve the forest. Conserving forests will help regulate our climate.”
Dr Ted Feldpausch, Tropical Forest Ecologist at the University of Exeter, said: “The Eden Project continues to innovate to educate and to bring experiences from tropical rainforests to the public.
From drought, to fire, to forest-climate interactions, the Eden Project communicates important properties and issues facing rain forests in ways that are engaging and sometimes downright torrential.”
The Canopy Walkway has been supported by a number of educational and scientific foundations and individuals, including the Garfield Weston Foundation, Bunzl plc, The Kirby Laing Foundation and donors to the Eddie George Memorial Appeal as well as donations from Eden Project Members and visitors.
For more information visit: www.edenproject.com