Why is the definite article used in the following collocation?
"destruction of the rainforests"
(I'd use the zero article here.)
For me, it's a question of how many are left. If there were hundreds or thousands, I'd say 'destruction of rainforests' (just as I'd say 'loss of languages' [of which there are still thousands]. But as there are so few, I use the article.
I'm sure there's a better reason [I hope so, and will stay tuned ], but that's how I see it.