The Amazon rainforest is the largest rainforest in the world. It is located in South America and covers 2.6 million square miles across nine countries; Bolivia, Brazil, Peru, Colombia, Ecuador, Venezuela, Guyana, Suriname and French Guiana. Almost 60 % of the Amazon basin is located in Brazil. The Amazon river runs through the north of the rainforest flowing around 6,400 km making it the second largest river in the world.
The Amazon is very rich in ecosystem. It is home to almost half of the world's species containing about 40,000 plants species, 1,300 birds species, 3,000 types of fishes, 430 mammals and about 2.5 millions of different kinds of insects. Amazon's trees provides 20% of the world's oxygen giving it its nickname "Lungs of the Planet"
The Amazon rainforest consists four layers or communities and each layer had unique ecosystems, plants, and animals that are adopted to them.
- Emergent Layer: It is the tallest layer towering about 200 feet above the forest floor. Most of the trees in this layer are broad-leaved. Because it is at a higher level, it has high amount of sunshine. It is also exposed to irregular temperature, wind, and rainfall. Most of the animals who is adopted in this layer are eagles, monkeys, bats and butterflies.
- Canopy Layer: It is one of the main layer of the rainforest. It forms a roof over the two remaining layers filtering out about 80% of the sunlight. The Canopy leaves are very dense, and have smooth oval leaves. Many animals lives in this area including snakes, toucans, and tree-frogs.
- Understory Layer: This layer only gets about 2 - 5% of sunlight and the plants find a unique way to adopt this dark area. The plants often don't grow more than 12 feet in height because of air movement and they relay on insects and animals to pollinate their flowers. Many animals are adopted in this area including jaguars, and leopards.
- Forest Floor: it is the lowest layer of the rainforest. It only receive about 2% of the sunlight and almost no plant grows in the area. The floor is filled with decomposing leaves that could take from 6 weeks to a year based on the climate. Large animals and insects such as millipedes, scorpions and earthworms lives in it.
Deforestation in Amazon:
As if today, more than 20% of the Amazon rainforest has been destroyed due to the humans extreme demands for rainforest. Since 1979, over 750,000 squared km of amazon forest has been destroyed.
What are the causes?
For most of human history, deforestation was mainly a product of subsistence farmers. rainforest had been harvested for wood for fuel and construction. In addition, vast areas had been cleared for farming and cattle gazing. in the 20th century industrial activities and large scale agriculture became one of the factors of deforestation.
How can you help?
There are many ways we can take to reduce deforestation.
- Live in a way that doesn't hurt the environment; don't buy tropical woods (they are often used for flooring or furniture).
- Use FSC certified paper.
- Reduce consumption of meat.
- Learn about rainforest and share your knowledge and concerns with other.
- Support companies that is protecting rainforest. - Green Peace
Action to take today:
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Ecosia has six core values are
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