The Amazon Rainforest

Aerial view using a fish eye lens of forest flooded by black water of Rio Negro. Rio Negro Forest ... rel=
Amazon in Flood.
© WWF-Canon / Michel ROGGO
What & Where
The Amazon river basin, which covers about 40% of the South American continent is home to the largest rainforest on earth (7 million sq. kilometres) and includes parts of 9 countries: Brazil, Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, Venezuela, Guyana, Suriname, and French Guiana.

Size & Value
The area represents more than half of the world’s rainforests. The region is home to about 2.5 million insect species, tens of thousands of plants and 2,000 birds and mammals. The Amazon Rainforest produces about 20% of the earth’s oxygen.
Amazonian rainforest being burnt to create pasture for ranching, Brazil. rel=
Amazonian rainforest being burnt to create pasture for ranching, Brazil.
© WWF-Canon / Mauri RAUTKARI
Threats
Deforestation of the rainforests is a grave concern for many environmentalists, mainly because more than 20% of the area has already been destroyed. The land is being cleared for cattle ranches, mining operations, logging and sustenance agriculture.

Some forests are being burnt to make charcoal to power industrial plants. Another concern for Amazonia is the fate of its indigenous people - more than 90 tribes have been destroyed since the 1900s. If nothing is done to protect and preserve this jewel, the Amazon Rainforest may disappear entirely in another 50 years.

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