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Brazilian Amazon rain forest fact sheet

Available in: العربية, Français
  • The Brazilian Amazon rain forest covers about 33% of the tropical forests in the world. It has a unique role in preserving biodiversity, regulating the regional climate and continental hydrological cycle, and storing carbon.
  • Area:  4.1 million km sq. in Brazil (larger than the European Union and 48% of the Brazilian territory). It covers all of seven states and part of two more (Acre, Amapá, Amazonas, Pará, Rondônia, Roraima, Mato Grosso, Maranhão, and Tocantins).
  • Population: 21 million people of which about 30% live in rural areas and 200,000 are indigenous.
  • Major rivers: Amazon, Negro, Madeira, Xingu, Tocantins, Tapajos, Solimões and Purus.
  • Climate: Temperatures are typically tropical year-round with average midday temperatures in the range 27° C/80° F to 32° C/90° F. The Amazon region is notoriously humid, with rainfall generally more than 2,000 millimeters per year and reaching as high as 3,000 millimeters in parts of the western Amazon and near Belém (about twice as much as the rest of Brazil).
  • Natural species: More than one third of all species in the world live in the Amazon. This includes some 2,500 tree species (one third of the world’s tropical woods) and nearly 30,000 of Latin America’s 100,000 plant species. Together they support the world’s highest diversity of freshwater fish, birds, and butterflies.  The Amazon is one of the last refuges in the world for jaguars, harpy eagles, and giant river otters. 
  • Deforestation is the greatest threat to the Amazon forest. It is estimated that 17 percent has been deforested for cattle ranching, commercial logging, agricultural production and demand for fuel wood. From 2003-2004, over 27,200 km sq. of forest (over half the area of Switzerland) was destroyed.

    • Consequences: increased incidence of wildfires, degradation of watersheds, lower river flow rates, overexploitation of wildlife and fisheries, and significant negative social impacts such as land grabbing, abuse of labor rights, and violence.

Updated December, 2005


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