Just try to find two trees of the same species within a few minutes in the Amazon rainforest, and the term ‘massive biodiversity’ will take a new meaning: you keep walking across different species. Just the western part of the Amazon River Basin has the highest diversity of trees in the world1.
Many species, few specimens
Tropical rainforests set records in biodiversity: anywhere between 40 to 100 species of tree can be found in a 1-hectare plot of land. Take the Cocha Cashu Biological Station in the Amazon floodplain forests
of Peru, as an example. There, at least 1,856 species of higher plants have been discovered2
The Amazon is home to as many as 80,000 plant species from which more than 40,000 species play a critical role in regulating the global climate and sustaining the local water cycle.3
But the richness
of species is one thing, and abundance
another. While there may be many species in tropical rainforests, these often exist 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 recent arrivals, plants are a food source and raw matter for non-timber forest products.