The Amazon rainforest deforestation facts are shocking. Not only does deforestation contribute to climate change, but it also hurts the people who live there and the wildlife that call it home. We’ll explore what’s happening in the Amazon rainforest and why, who’s doing it, how much forest has been cleared, and what you can do to help.
1) The world’s largest forest
The Amazon rainforest is the world’s largest timberland, stretching across 5.5 million square kilometers of land. The Amazon is home to an estimated 390 billion trees and 16,000 species of animals.
The Amazon plays a vital role in global climate change, serving as the lungs of the Earth. The Amazon rainforest produces 20% of the world’s oxygen and absorbs 2 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide each year.
However, the Amazon rainforest is in danger. Deforestation rates in the Amazon have increased by more than 60% since August 2015, largely due to illegal logging and land clearing for cattle ranching and agriculture.
If current deforestation rates continue, scientists estimate that the Amazon could be completely deforested in as little as 100 years.
2) First, what exactly is deforestation?
Deforestation is the cutting of trees in a space where timberland once flourished. This deforestation can be caused by many things, such as; clearing land for pasture or farms, loggers cutting down trees for lumber, mining operations, and even wildfires. The Amazon rainforest is the world’s largest tropical forest, and it covers 2.1 million square miles, which is about 40% of South America. It is also sometimes referred to as the lungs of the earth because it produces 20% of the world’s oxygen. This makes it a very important part of our planet’s ecosystem.
The Amazon rainforest is home to many different animals and plants, some of which are found nowhere else on earth.
3) Why is this happening?
The Amazon rainforest is the world’s largest tropical timberland. It covers more than 5.5 million square kilometers, which is about the size of the United States. The Amazon rainforest is home to 10% of the world’s known biodiversity. It contains more than 40,000 plant species, 3,000 fish species, 1,294 bird species, 427 mammal species,428 amphibian species, and 378 reptile species.
The Amazon rainforest has been called the lungs of the earth because it produces 20% of the oxygen in the earth’s atmosphere. The Amazon rainforest is being deforestation at an alarming rate. Deforestation is when forests are converted into other land uses like agriculture or pasture.
4) Who’s responsible?
While the primary cause of Amazon rainforest deforestation is conversion to cropland and pasture, there are several other contributing factors. These include, but are not limited to, infrastructure development, extractive industries, and fires. Who’s responsible for this destruction? Mostly large corporations and industrial-scale farmers. But all of us play a role when we purchase products that come from Amazon or indirectly contribute to its destruction.
5) It’s more than trees being chopped down
The Amazon rainforest is home to millions of plant and animal species, many of which are found nowhere else on Earth. It’s often referred to as the lungs of the planet as it produces 20% of the world’s oxygen. Amazon is also a key player in regulating global climate. And yet, this vital ecosystem is being destroyed at an alarming rate. The Amazon rainforest covers 2.1 million square miles (over five times the size of Texas). In less than 50 years, nearly 20% has been cleared for cattle pasture and crops like soybeans and corn.
The Amazon stores about 80 billion tons of carbon (or 30 times more than all other forests combined) in its trees, plants, soil, animals, and droppings. Carbon dioxide released by fires sends it soaring higher into the atmosphere which contributes to global warming.
6) Conservation efforts need to happen now
The Amazon rainforest is a critical part of our planet’s ecosystem and its health is essential to our own. However, the rainforest is in danger due to deforestation. It’s estimated that one in ten known species on Earth lives in the Amazon. 20% of the world’s oxygen comes from the Amazon rainforest. The Amazon is the world’s largest river by discharge volume of water and accounts for about one-fifth of the world’s total river flow. The Amazon rainforest covers 2.1 million square miles, which is almost the size of Australia.
7) How can you help save the Amazon rainforest?
Here are some things you can do to help save the Amazon rainforest:
- Support businesses and products that promote sustainable forestry and avoid those that contribute to deforestation.
- Encourage your elected officials to enact policies that will help protect the Amazon rainforest.
- Buy products made from sustainable forestry practices.
- Reduce your consumption of products made from tropical forest resources, such as beef, soy, palm oil, wood, and paper.
- Support conservation efforts in the Amazon rainforest region.
- Educate yourself and others about the importance of the Amazon rainforest and its ecological role in our planet’s health.
8) A word from our partner
As the world’s largest rainforest, the Amazon is often referred to as the lungs of the earth. The Amazon produces 20% of the world’s oxygen and is home to 10% of its known biodiversity. But despite its importance, the Amazon is facing serious threats from deforestation. The Amazon spans 2.1 million square miles in nine countries: Brazil, Peru, Colombia, Venezuela, Ecuador, Bolivia, Guyana, Suriname, and French Guiana. The Amazon comprises 1/5th of Earth’s land surface area. More than 25% of Amazonian trees are believed to be directly threatened by extinction.
The Amazon rainforest is the world’s largest tropical forest. It covers more than 5.5 million square kilometers, or 1.4 billion acres, and stretches across nine countries: Brazil, Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, Venezuela, Guyana, Suriname, and French Guiana. The Amazon is sometimes referred to as the lungs of the Earth because it produces 20% of the oxygen in the Earth’s atmosphere. However, due to deforestation for cattle ranching and soy production, there are now less than 2.5 million square kilometers of Amazon rainforest left.
A little over a decade ago an estimated 15-20% of the Amazon was deforested; that number has since risen to 30%. Experts estimate that if nothing changes, then by 2050 only a fifth of the Amazon will remain standing.