Tropical rainforests are home to tribal people who rely on their surrounding for food, shelter, and medicines. Today, there are more than 370 million indigenous people in some 90 countries worldwide (UNPFII, 2011) but very few forest people still live in traditional ways, most have been displaced by outside settlers or have been forced to give up their lifestyles by governments.
Indigenous peoples around the world have sought recognition of their identities, their ways of life and their right to traditional lands, territories and natural resources, yet throughout history their rights have been violated - they have often been dispossessed of their lands or in the center of conflict for access to valuable resources because of where they live. Indigenous peoples are arguably among the most disadvantaged and vulnerable groups of people in the world today. The international community now recognizes that special measures are required to protect the rights of the world's indigenous peoples.
Their knowledge of medicinal plants used for treating illness is unmatched and they have a great understanding of the ecology of rainforests. More than 100 pharmaceutical companies are currently funding projects to study indigenous plant knowledge and specific plants used by native healers (IFAD, 2011). “Indigenous peoples have an irreplaceable store of knowledge about the plant and animal life of the ecosystems where they live,” says Antonella Cordone, Coordinator for Indigenous and Tribal Issues at IFAD. “Now more than ever, in the face of climate change and the powerful interests that encroach on their territories, they need support to protect and preserve that biodiversity, which humanity as a whole is in need of.”
Children in the rainforest...
While they don't watch TV, use the internet, or play video games, children in the rainforest do many of the same things you probably do. They play with friends, help their families with chores, and go to school.
Since "rainforest kids" live closer to nature than the average child, they learn things that are helpful in the environment around them. From an early age many children learn how to fish, hunt, and collect materials and food from the forest. Instead of going to a playground or a shopping mall for fun, children in places like the Amazon spend most of their time outdoors playing in the forest and in rivers and streams.