The Amazon rainforest is the largest on Earth, covering around 40 percent of the South American continent there are parts of this monumental broadleaf forest in nine different countries which are Brazil, Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, Venezuela, Guyana, Suriname and French Guiana. More than half of the Amazon rainforest (in fact 60 percent of it), is found spread across Brazil.
Covering most of the Amazon Basin throughout South America, the Amazon rainforest makes up half of the world’s remaining rainforests and is home to the largest and most biodiverse tract of tropical rainforest on the planet. There are estimated to be 16,000 different species of tree alone growing throughout its 5,500,000 square kilometres (2,100,000 sq miles) territory.
Here are a few interesting facts about the Amazon rainforest that you may not already know:
- Two billion tonnes of carbon dioxide is absorbed by the Amazon rainforest every year.
- There are around 2.5 million insect species found in the Amazon rainforest.
- 2,200 fish species, 1,294 birds, 427 mammals, 428 amphibians, and 378 reptiles have been discovered in the Amazon rainforest.
- More than 2,000 tropical forest plants have been found to have anti-cancer properties.
- The Amazon basin holds 20 percent of the world’s fresh water, and the same percentage of the world’s oxygen is produced by the Amazon rainforest.
- More than 1.4 million hectares of the Amazon rainforest have been cleared since the 1970s and an even larger area has been affected by logging and forest fires.
- One in five of all of world’s bird species and one in five of the fish species are found in the Amazon rainforest and the Amazon River.
- The Amazon rainforest is home to 2.7 million indigenous people that are split into 350 different ethnic groups (60 of which are very isolated).
- Between 1999 and 2009, 1,200 species of plants and animals were identified for the first time in the Amazon rainforest.
- Deforestation rates have been reducing drastically since 2004 as increasing areas of conserved land are created.