For a Living Amazon!

Beginning of flooding season Fish are starting to spawn Rio Tapajos, Brazilian Amazon
© Michel Roggo / WWF Canon
One in ten known species on Earth lives in the Amazon. Its forests contain 90-140 billion metric tons of carbon, the release of even a portion of which would accelerate global warming significantly. 30 million people living in the Amazon depend on its resources and services – not to mention many millions more living as far away as North America and Europe, but still within the Amazon’s far-reaching climatic influence.

 / ©: Adriano Gambarini / WWF Brasil
Five Reasons to Care for the Amazon and Five Things You Can Do to Help
© Adriano Gambarini / WWF Brasil

The importance of the Amazon

Living Amazon Initiative

Given that the forces shaping the Amazon Biome extend far beyond a local context and know no political boundaries, we can no longer work on pieces of the puzzle in isolation from one another. Rather, we must address the biome as a whole in order to secure the viability of the entire system.

Therefore, although our presence in the region has been key to many conservation results over the years, it is with the articulation of the Living Amazon Initiative in 2008 that WWF has been able to bring together 40 years of experience as part of a unified blueprint to address the challenges to the Amazon Biome as a whole.

LAI COVER / ©: Cover photo: Brent Stirton / Getty Images /  WWF
Living Amazon Initiative
© Cover photo: Brent Stirton / Getty Images / WWF

Can the Amazon survive?

The good news is that over 80% of the Amazon’s original forest is largely intact.

The bad news is that our generation could witness the extinction of the Amazon.

Rapidly expanding global markets for meat, soy and biofuels and the imminent realization of large-scale transportation and energy infrastructure projects coupled with poor planning, weak governance and lack of an integrated vision of sustainable development for the Amazon are contributing to accelerated rates of deforestation and increased pressure on the natural resources and environmental services upon which millions of people depend, including yourself.

Increased temperatures and decreased precipitation caused by global warming will exacerbate these trends and could lead to a “tipping point” where the tropical moist forest ecosystem collapses and is replaced over large areas by a mixture of savanna and semi-arid ecosystems. The implications of this massive ecosystem shift for biodiversity, global climate and human livelihoods would be profound.

 / ©: WWF
Amazon Alive! A decade of discovery 1999-2009

Increasing threats

Learn more about the threats to the Amazon and what WWF is doing to tackle them, here.

What WWF is doing: an integrated approach

Urgent and immediate action is needed if we are to ensure the Amazon’s conservation.

Over the next few years WWF will develop far reaching and powerful partnerships with governments, civil society, and the private sector to promote the transformational processes needed to bring about an optimistic and sustainable scenario for the Amazon, in which:

Saul Rojas Hota, the oldest resident of New York, sitting next to Sebastian Suito of WWF. New York ... / ©: Brent Stirton / Getty Images / WWF
Saul Rojas Hota, the oldest resident of New York, sitting next to Sebastian Suito of WWF. New York is a river community alongside the banks of the river Tiger, a tributary of the Amazon river, Loreto region, Peru.
© Brent Stirton / Getty Images / WWF
40 + years of conservation experience

For more than 40 years, WWF has been at the forefront in protecting the Amazon. Building on this experience, WWF is working with goverments, local communities and others to ensure conservation and sustainable development throughout the world's largest rainforest and river system.

Our vision for the Amazon is:

  • An ecologically healthy Amazon Biome that maintains its environmental and cultural contribution to local peoples, the countries of the region, and the world, within a framework of social equity, inclusive economic development and global responsibility.

Amazon Facts & Figures

    • The Amazon rainforest covers an area of 6.7 million km2 over 8 countries: Brazil, Bolivia, Peru, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Suriname, Venezuela, plus French Guiana.
    • About 1/2 of the planet's remaining tropical rainforests are found in the Amazon, and at least 10% of the world's known species.
    • The Amazon Basin accounts for 15% - 16% of the world’s total river discharge into the oceans.
    • About 30 million people live in the Amazon, including more than 300 indigenous groups.

WWF Goals

    • The diversity of terrestrial and freshwater ecosystems of the Amazon Biome is conserved to ensure the survival of the species that live there and the continued provision of environmental goods and services to local peoples, the countries of the region, and the world.
    • The quality, quantity, and timing of flow regimes in priority rivers and their headwaters are maintained at levels that ensure the integrity of aquatic ecosystems and the continued provision of ecological services that sustain local livelihoods and regional economies.
    • The region’s political and institutional framework supports the implementation of a climate-adaptive conservation and development agenda that increases the resilience of the Amazon Biome’s key ecological process and services.


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