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The Amazon Rainforests - Crown Jewel of the Natural World

© WWF-Canon / André Bärtschi


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Breadnut (Brosimum alicastrum), Manu Biosphere Reserve, Peru

Tropical rainforests set records in biodiversity: anywhere between 40 to 100 species of tree can be found within 1 ha of land.

The Amazon rainforest is home to as many as 80,000 plant species. But richness of species is one thing, and abundance another. While there may be many species in tropical rainforests, these often occur in low numbers over large areas.

Amazon plants and trees play critical roles in regulating the global climate and sustaining the local water cycle. The forests they form are home to the huge variety of animals found in the Amazon.

But their greatest riches yet may be the compounds they produce, some of which are used for medicine and agriculture. For Amazon people, both indigenous and immigrants, many plants are important as a food source and as non-timber forest products.

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