Top 10 facts about the Amazon Rainforest

The Amazon is synonymous with Central and South America – it’s the largest of the rainforests, supporting a huge number of plants and animals and hugely important to our own survival.

Taking up most of the Amazon Basin, the Amazon rainforest is mostly contained within Brazil, and stretches into Peru, Ecuador, Bolivia, and smaller parts in some other South American countries.

Here are ten interesting facts about the Amazon (and rainforests in general) that you may not have heard before.

1. Around 80% of the food we eat originally came from rainforests. Some of the more popular examples include coffee, chocolate, rice, tomatoes, potatoes, bananas, black pepper, pineapples and corn. At The Inside Track we basically live on coffee. That’s reason enough to save the rainforest!

2. Tropical rainforests only cover about 6% of the Earth’s surface, but they are home to more than half the world’s total plant and animal species.

3. The forest floor is almost completely dark – with less that 1% of the available sunlight making it through the tree canopy above.

4. There are around 3000 fruits found in rainforests, and in the west we make use of around 200 of them. However, indigenous tribes make use of over 2000!

5. The rainforests have begun to be destroyed in the last 100 years to make way for farm land. Today, the rainforests are being destroyed by 1.5 acres every second. That’s not a typo.

6. With deforestation continuing at such a fast rate, we’ve created the most rapid extinction rate in the history of the world. 137 rainforest species are exterminated completely every single day.

Over half the world’s plants and animals can be found in the rainforests.

7. Over a quarter of the medicines we use today have their origins in the rainforests – and that’s after only about 1% of rainforest plants have been examined for their medicinal properties. Imagine what else could be there? It’s not outlandish to think that our best chance of curing the diseases that plague our world could lie within the rainforest. But with so many species exterminated every day, we may never find out.

8. We often think that the soil in the rainforest is really fertile to support such a huge range of plant and animal life. But rainforest land is not really any good for farming. Once cleared, the soil is of such low quality that it can hardly be used to grow anything. After a year or two of farming, the land is totally bereft of nutrients – leaving a useless patch of land.

9. Some people call the rainforests ‘the world’s lungs’, but decomposition of plant matter absorbs as much oxygen as the trees produce. It’s probably more accurate to think of them as having a cooling effect on the global climate, as they absorb a huge amount of heat from the sun. About 30% of our carbon emissions come from one thing – burning the rainforests.

10. If deforestation continues, we’ll completely lose the rainforests within the next 40 years.

Sunset on the Amazon River

Clearly now is the time to visit this amazing region learn more about this natural marvel and to help gain and spread awareness about how urgent the need to save the rainforest is. Stay in jungle lodges or riverboats and take in the beauty of this biologically diverse region.

Go hiking, swimming, canoeing or simply photograph the many thousands of mammals, birds, reptiles and other creatures all sharing a home within the Amazon. Visit our Amazon page to find out more about how best to experience the majesty of the rainforest on your tour of South America.

Source: How Rainforests Work

Posted in World Wonders | Tagged , , , ,

12 Responses to Top 10 facts about the Amazon Rainforest

  1. TravelToPeru says:

    The Peruvian jungle has a diversity of flora and fauna that makes this trip an unforgettable experience

  2. needs the amount of species of the animals xx

    • Joe Harrod says:

      Good point! This is a hotly contested issue though among biodiversity experts. Here’s what Wikipedia has to say: “The region is home to about 2.5 million insect species, tens of thousands of plants, and some 2,000 birds and mammals. To date, at least 40,000 plant species, 2,200 fishes, 1,294 birds, 427 mammals, 428 amphibians, and 378 reptiles have been scientifically classified in the region. One in five of all the bird species in the world live in the rainforests of the Amazon, and one in five of the fish species live in Amazonian rivers and streams. Scientists have described between 96,660 and 128,843 invertebrate species in Brazil alone.”

      • Hailey says:

        wow! thanks so much! i needed these facts for a project for science and i couldnt find it anywhere! you are so helpful! THANK YOU!

  3. Gabriel says:

    i would really like to have a fieldtrip to the amazon, it would be awesome!!!

  4. Anon. says:

    I would really like to visit it someday.

  5. loren chachati says:

    i really enjoyed these facts! great

  6. Daniel says:

    I`m doing a research project and this has helped ALOT!

  7. vera says:

    ‘the rainforests are being destroyed by 1.5 acres every second’, absolutely shocking!!

  8. Saqib says:

    I`m doing a research project and this has helped ALOT!

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