What is the Amazon Rainforest?
The Amazon rainforest, covering much of northwestern Brazil and extending into Colombia, Peru and other South American countries, is the world’s largest tropical rainforest, famed for its immense biodiversity. It’s crisscrossed with thousands of rivers, the most exceptional being the powerful Amazon.
Why is the Amazon Rainforest Important?
- Helps stabilize the world’s climate
- It provides a home to many plants and animals
- It maintains the water cycle
- It also protects against flood, drought, and erosion
- It is a very viable source for medicines and foods
- It supports tribal people
- It is also a very interesting place to visit
What are the Dangers in the Amazon Rainforest?
- The biggest threat comes from mosquitoes carrying malaria and yellow fever. These are both serious illnesses, so get the appropriate vaccinations before you go to the Amazon. Visitors may also get sick from the local food and water. Even relatively clean food and water sometimes contain different strains of bacteria and microorganisms that foreigners' immune systems are not used to dealing with. This can lead to fever, diarrhea and dehydration.
- Most animals do not go out of their way to hunt down humans. However, the rainforest is brimming with creatures that will attack in self-defense. Images of jaguars, alligators, anacondas and piranhas come to mind when thinking of the most formidable animals in the Amazon. In addition, the rainforest houses numerous species of small, venomous creatures like snakes and frogs. However, the most common problems arise from encounters with blood-sucking leeches as well as the aforementioned health issues involving disease-carrying mosquitoes.
- The height of the wet season in the Amazon lasts from October to May with especially heavy rains in March and April. Rains wash out roads and cause the water levels to rise dramatically in the Amazon River and in the hundreds of connecting tributaries. This leads to flooding as well as extremely powerful river currents that have been known to sink boats.
Ways you can protect the Amazon Rainforest
- Reduce your paper and wood consumption
- Reduce your oil consumption
- Reduce your beef consumption
- Invest in rainforest communities
- Support Rainforest Action Network
Species, Planet's, and landscape
The Amazon Rainforest has one in ten known species on Earth, and 1.4 billion acres of dense forests, half of the planet's remaining tropical forests, 4,100 miles of winding rivers, 2.6 million square miles in the Amazon basin, and about 40% of South America.