The Amazon

The cradle of biodiversity

Where and what is it?

The Amazon is a rainforest. Rainforests are lush forests in the tropical regions of Earth and with high rainfall; the mean temperatures exceed 64 Fº and rainfall averages at 98 to 177 inches. This biome is one of the most diverse in the world with 40% to 75% of all species in them being indigenous to the rainforest. Even then, millions of species that live in the rainforest are still undiscovered. The Amazon rainforest is located in South America, specifically in Brazil.
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How is it important?

The Amazon rainforest not only acts as a cradle for biodiversity with millions of indigenous species, but the many trees in the forest filter massive amounts of CO2, providing 20% of the world's oxygen. Vast amounts of resources are provided by the Amazon such as lumber, food crops, medicines, and many other resources for common items. Biodiversity is the key to a healthy ecosystem as a variety of animals doing different roles and even sharing roles allows nature to carry out its processes in the most efficient way possible. Over a fourth of the medicines we use are found in the Amazon forest, in fact.

Native Fauna and Flora

A Few Resources

What is happening?

The Amazon forest is under the danger of deforestation and pollution; the widespread removal of trees is due to the need for more farmland and for resources, resulting in overexploitation. Ever since the 1970's, 222,357 square miles of forestry has been cleared which is comparable to the size of Spain.

A popular method of deforestation is called "slash and burn," where plants are cut down and burned, hence the name. Since removing trees means less CO2 filtering and burning creates CO2, slash-and-burn essentially fuels global warming which is also a threat to global warming. The absence of trees also prevents the soil from being kept in place by roots, causing the loss of fertile soil and bringing about more land and mudslides.

The destruction of the Amazon means that endangered and indigenous species that live in the forest are losing their habitat and face the risk of extinction.

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Amazon Deforestation: Timelapse

How are we helping?

It is not just the Brazilian government that is helping to reduce Amazonian deforestation, but the people of the world are banding together to bring about change. While I myself lack the ability to adequately explain how exactly people and organizations are helping, please look at the below resources for further information.
Greenpeace: Stopping Amazon Deforestation