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The Amazon Rainforests - Crown Jewel of the Natural World

Regarded by many as THE crown jewel of the natural world, the Amazon rainforest remains the largest expanse of its kind on the planet, the ongoing focus of exciting scientific research and discoveries... and the scene of bitter conflict and struggle.

Global heritage for some, home for others, and an untapped bank account for many, the region is under siege from fire, logging and other large-scale disturbances that all add up to major deforestation.

WWF has started work to protect the Amazon more than 40 years ago, promoting solutions for wildlife protection, sustainable management of natural resources and improved conditions for the people who rely on them.

Discover the area, its wildlife and inhabitants, and the threats the Amazon’s natural world faces today.

© WWF-Canon / Roger LeGuen

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Misty sunset on the Amazonian forests along the Tambopata river, French Guiana

The Amazon rainforest forms a pulsating network of water and trees: every year, its canopy receives between 1,500 mm and 3,000 mm of rainfall.

Eastern trade winds that blow from the Atlantic Ocean account for about half of the rainfall, with the other half due to evapotranspiration - the loss of water from the soil by evaporation and through transpiration from plants - in the Amazon River Basin.

Together with an average temperature of around 24 °C or more, the constant water cycle not only creates the typical humid and warm atmosphere of a tropical rainforest, but more importantly regulates local and regional climates.

If evapotranspiration and its role in maintaining ecological balance is disrupted, the climate throughout the region - and well beyond - will be significantly affected.

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