Amazon Rainforest Biodiversity

Location

This is located at the equator in South America mostly covering Brazil, but also covering small areas in surrounding countries such as: Peru and Colombia. The Amazon Biome spans about 6.7 million kilometers squared. The Amazon River Basin is located in the same area and covers about 6.915 kilometers squared.
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Importance of the Amazon Rainforest

More than a third of pharmaceutical products in the US are made from a rainforest plant. Also, Rosy periwinkle contains alkaloids. These are used to treat Hodgkin disease and childhood leukemia. The Amazon’s canopy cover also helps to regulate temperature and humidity. This is linked to regional climate patterns through hydrological cycles that depend on the rainforest. Without tropical rainforests, the greenhouse effect would likely increase, and climate change in the future may get even worse.

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.

Harmful Activities

Businesses clear huge areas of the rainforest, cattle ranchers level the forest to create grazing fields and produce beef for the fast food industry. Logging, farming, and mining can also be destructive. Native farmers clear small areas to feed their families.

Protection efforts

Rehabilitation of formerly forested lands and expansion of protection areas. The WWF also works to create a network of parks covering 150 million acres of forest. Efforts are also made to improve the sustainability of soy farmers' practices and minimize their impact on the Amazon and its wildlife. Another conservation effort being made is working with the beef industry in the Amazon to create standards that increase efficiency and reduce waste.

By Kristin Brown