The Amazon Rainforest

Overview of the Amazon Rainforest

The Amazon rainforest, also known as Amazonia, is one of the world's greatest natural resources. The Amazon rainforest gets its name from the Amazon River, the life force of the rainforest. The Amazon River begins in the Peruvian Andes, and winds its way east over the northern half of South America. It meets the Atlantic Ocean at Belem, Brazil. The main river is about 4,080 miles long. Its drainage basin covers 2,722,000 million square miles, and lies in the countries of Brazil, Columbia, Peru, Venezuela, Ecuador, Bolivia, and the three Guyanas. Sixteen percent of all the world's river water flows through the Amazon delta. Twenty eight billion gallons of water flow into the Atlantic every minute, diluting the salinity of the ocean for more than 100 miles offshore. The Amazon rainforest watershed is home to the world's highest level of biodiversity.


The Amazon rainforest is located in South America and covers 2.1 million square miles of land. Brazil has 60%, Peru has 13%, and Colombia has 10% while other countries have very small parts of the rainforest within their borders.

Importance of the Amazon Rainforest

One reason as to why the Amazon is important is because of its vegetation. It continuously recycles carbon dioxide into oxygen, it has been described as the "Lungs of our Planet". About 20% of earth's oxygen is produced by the Amazon rainforest.

Harmful Activities towards the Rainforest

One human activity that negatively affects the Amazon Rainforest is deforestation. Human activity and development in the tropical rainforest has led to the depletion of habitat for many of the earth's species. The economic development in these areas are polluting tropical rain forests, reducing the habitat of numerous species, and producing loud and disturbing noises from the machinery. More and more of the natural vegetation is being replaced with farmland because the fertility of the soil depletes only a few years after it was originally cleared.

Harmful Activities Towards the Rainforest 2

Another human activity that negatively affects the Amazon Rainforest is overexploitation. Human activity and development in the tropical rainforest has lead to massive amounts of forest land being converted into other human uses such as mining or agriculture. Overexploitation of the rain forests Natural resource is a highly damaging impact that humans have on the rainforest, massive amounts of trees are cut down in the rainforest which are used for the timber industry, this cutting down of the trees causes a massive drop in the habitat of the forest’s organisms and the machinery used to complete this process provide a massive source of pollution and habitat destruction.

Protection Efforts

Amazon watch is a non-profit organization that works to protect the rainforest and advance the rights of indigenous peoples in the amazon basin. They are active in many campaigns operating in Brazil, Columbia, Ecuador, and Peru. The World Wildlife foundation or WWF has a central goal of protecting diversity in the tropical rainforest, therefore they have projects in place to stop deforestation and conserve the wildlife. “WWF is committed to conserving the world's rain forests, not only for the incredible wealth of plants and animals that live in them, but for the benefit of the indigenous peoples who live in them.”

Animals in the Amazon

There are 4 main layers of the rain forest and animals live/depend on these individual levels for survival. The highest layer, the Emergent Layer, contains mostly birds and butterflies. The next layer is the Canopy. Animals that live here include monkeys and some birds such as toucans. The next layer, the understory, includes boa constrictors and frogs. The lowest layer is the ground floor. This layer includes millipedes, army ants, and scorpions.
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Emergent Layer

The is the highest layer of the rainforest. Only a few very tall trees break through the canopy into the emergent layer. These trees can be as tall as skyscrapers. The tops of the trees are shaped like umbrellas and they grow on long, thin trunks. , the Emergent Layer, contains mostly birds and butterflies.

Canopy Layer

The canopy is the busiest part of the rainforest. The leaves, flowers and fruit that grow there provide food for monkeys, birds, insects and other animals. The canopy protects the ground from the sun and light rain

The Understory

The understory is hot, damp, and the air is still. This part of the rainforest is under the leaves but above the ground. The understory is a tangle of shrubs, young trees, palms and woody plants that can grown in the shade of the taller trees.

Forest Floor

The floor of the rain forest is not crowded. Very little sun reaches the forest floor. It is very warm and humid in this layer. Plants that don't need a lot of sun grow here. Fallen leaves, dead plants and animals will decay very quickly.


Shanice Turner