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Facts About Amazon Rainforest

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The Amazon Rainforest is a tropical rainforest that is full of mystery and life. It produces over 20 percent of the available oxygen. This has earned itself the nickname “The World’s Lungs”. It gets its name from the river that flows through it and gives it life, the mighty Amazon. The Amazon Rainforest contains the largest diversity of species in the world and is home to many different plants and animals. It is simply amazing the amount of biodiversity that the rainforest contains. Nowhere else is this much amount of life can be found in a single place. If you want more information about the Amazon Rainforest, check out these facts.

Size of the Amazon Basin from spaceYellow line denotes the size of the Amazon Basin. Black lines are national borders. © Pfly.

Size of the rainforest

The total size of the rainforest covers more than 2 million square miles. This would be the size of the United States Western half. In comparison, if landmass were to make a country, the Amazon Rainforest would be the ninth largest country. Rainforests cover less land mass, at six percent of the total land mass of the Earth. Fifty four percent of this is covered by the Amazonian rainforest.

Amazon River

The Amazon River is the second longest river in the world. Its point of origin is thought to be the Andes and it empties into the Atlantic at an astounding 209,000 cubic meters of water per second (7,381,000 ft³/s). It also runs through seven different countries and has more than 1,100 estuaries and tributaries. 17 rivers reach more than 1,000 miles long and at least two thirds of fresh water located worldwide can be found in the Amazon.

Aerial view of the Amazon forest. © Jorge.kike.medina.

Flowers and plants

Taking a look at a single hectare in the rainforest, you would find at least 1,500 different plants and 750 different trees. This area is the biggest collection of plant life in the world. Many of the plants that have been discovered here are being used for medical purposes. Edible nuts and fruit can also be found here and are not cultivated for consumption through commercialization.

Animal life and the native tribes

Bird species here make up one third of the total bird species for the world. Other animals that live here are fish with over 2,500 varieties, ants and frogs. Over 200 native tribes live in this rainforest and over 50 have had no contact with the modern world.

Biodiversity of the rainforest

The biodiversity of the Amazonian Rainforest is sheer in the magnitude of the different animals, plants, insects and birds. For example, there are over 1800 different species of butterflies, 1500 of birds, 50,000 higher plant types and over 2,000 of mammals and birds. This ecosystem is delicately balanced. If one species goes down, it can start a chain reaction.

Aerial view of Amazon RainforestAerial view of Amazon Rainforest.

Ninth largest country

The Amazonian rainforest covers a very large area of land. For example if it were designated as a country, it would be the world’s ninth largest country. This covers parts of Columbia, Guyana, Suriname, Ecuador, Venezuela, Bolivia, Peru, Brazil and French Guiana. All total this is 7 million square kilometers of land with the majority of it being in Brazil.

Lungs of the world

The Amazonian Rainforest produces at least 20 percent of the entire world’s Oxygen. For this reason, it has the nickname “Lungs of the World”. With a name like this, you can see why this rainforest is so protected and so needed. Any deforestation of this area can come at a very high cost. The world depends on the oxygen that it provides and any changes in rainforest habitat can make significant inroads to this oxygen supply.

Medicinal properties of plants

Typically the rainforest produces a lot of medicinal plants. For example, over 3,000 different species have been identified as possible cancer fighters. 25% of all pharmaceutical items are derived from the rainforest. So it is a great source of healing for various ailments and diseases.