The Amazon is the world’s largest rainforest; encompassing 5 and a half million square kilometres and spanning the borders of eight South American countries, it covers remarkably 40% of the South American continent. Of the countries that embrace this tropical jungle, Brazil is the largest at 60% followed by Peru (13%) and small amounts in Bolivia, Ecuador, Colombia, Venezuela, Guyana, and Suriname. This colossal basin is drained by the Amazon River, the second longest river in the world after the Nile and the source of one fifth of all free-flowing fresh water on earth. Essentially, this river serves as the forests lifeline all in support of the mosaic of ecosystems, wildlife, and vegetation types contained within the forest.
Not surprisingly, the Amazon contains species from all walks of life and is in fact the most species-rich tropical rainforest in the world. “Containing nearly 40,000 plant species, the Amazon sustains the world’s richest diversity of birds, freshwater fish and butterflies. One of the world’s last refuges for jaguars, harpy eagles and pink dolphins, its thousands of tree species are home to southern two-toed sloths, pygmy marmosets, saddleback and emperor tamarins and Goeldi’s monkeys.” Read more on the species of the Amazon: http://www.worldwildlife.org/what/wherewework/amazon/species.html
In conjunction with the diversity in species, “more than 350 indigenous and ethnic groups have lived in the Amazon for thousands of years, tapping nature for agriculture, clothing and traditional medicines. Today, more than 30 million people live in the region. Although most live in large urban centers, all residents remain dependent on the Amazon’s ecosystem services for food, shelter and livelihood.” Read more on the inhabitants of the Amazon: http://www.worldwildlife.org/what/wherewework/amazon/people.html
In light of this evidence, we know that there is extraordinary value concealed within the extensive terrain covered by the Amazon. Within it is an incredible world that we have only begin to tough upon, bulging with life`s beauty only awaiting its discovery. What`s more, as the Amazon River is a lifeline to the Amazon itself, so is the Amazon Rainforest a lifeline to the entire planet. It`s destruction would be not only be a tragedy but also a spark to mass catastrophe.
Sadly and unforgivably, rapid deforestation threatens the Amazon, with 55% of its rainforests potentially gone by 2030, a looming disaster. Already thousands have species have gone extinct, leaving the rest endangered or another species overpopulated. Keeping species intact is vital to upholding an entire ecosystem as they maintain an important equilibrium. Furthermore, deforestation threatens all the buried secrets and potential discoveries that could be made from this heavily diverse and valuable rainforest.
In actuality, the Amazon Rainforest is key to stabilizing local and global climate. High levels of rainfall, diverse topography, and winding rivers sustain its incredible variety and abundance of life, a unique environment that can nowhere near be replicated. Containing vast stores of carbon, specifically a producer of 200 million tons of carbon dioxide each year, it is crucial that the resources of the Amazon be sustained in order stabilize environmental systems around the world. It balances the environment by keeping the entire world`s temperature down by 1-2 degrees Celsius, a intricate system that is fundamentally irreplaceable. Climate change occurs due to the release of carbon dioxide into the environment through the use of fossil fuels as well as forest fires. The Amazon holding such a dense amount of carbon, when released through deforestation, in effect, produces an extremely dangerous threat to the world at large.
Saving the Amazon should be a top priority with respect to the environment as well as a global effort. Take action now…http://wwf.worldwildlife.org/site/PageServer?pagename=can_home