Amazonia (The Amazon Rainforest), is the world’s largest intact forest. 2.6 million square miles in the Amazon basin, about 40 percent of South America, with 4,100 miles of winding rivers. It’s home to more than 24 million people in Brazil alone, including hundreds of thousands of Indigenous Peoples belonging to 180 different groups.
There’s a reason the Amazon was the place that inspired scientists to coin the term “biodiversity.” The region is home to 10 percent of all plant and animal species known on Earth. There are approximately 40,000 species of plants, more than 400 species of mammals, 3,000 freshwater fish species. and more than 370 types of reptiles. Birds add almost 1,300, and the insects reach millions.
In addition to its unparalleled diversity of life, the Amazon plays an essential role in helping to control the entire planet’s atmospheric carbon levels. The Amazon Basin stores approximately 100 billion metric tons of carbon, more than ten times the annual global emissions from fossil fuels. The Amazon stores carbon dioxide and prevents it from entering the atmosphere and fueling climate change.
Deforestation, on the other hand, releases that carbon into the air, making climate change worse. Because of this, deforestation accounts for about 10 to 15 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions. Losing the Amazon means more carbon emissions and a warmer world. A healthy Amazon Rainforest is vital for all life on Earth, and needs to be protected. Because if we lose the Amazon, we lose everything.