AMAZON TOUR
Amazon Rainforest Slideshow
40+ pictures and maps from the Amazon rainforest
Amazon rainforest canopy
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The Amazon
NASA satellite image of South America, including the Amazon Basin
The Amazon rainforest is located in South America. It is named after the Amazon River, which is the largest river in the world.
NASA illustration of the Amazon Basin
The Amazon rainforest includes parts of 8 countries: Brazil, Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, Venezuela, Guyana, and Suriname, as well as French Guiana, which is a department of France.
NASA illustration of the Amazon Basin
The Amazon is the world's largest rainforest. More than half the Amazon rainforest is located in Brazil.
Gray-winged Trumpeters in Suriname
The Amazon rainforest is believed to contain more species than any other ecosystem in the world. As much as a third of the planet's land-based species are thought to live in the Amazon region.
Giant monkey frog in Peru
While some of the most famous animals in the Amazon rainforest are large:
Jaguar in Colombia
Jaguar - the largest cat in the Americas
Tapir in Brazil
Tapir
Harpy eagle
Harpy eagle - the largest raptor in the world
Blue and gold macaw in Colombia
Macaws
Mother poison dart frog with tadpoles on its back in Suriname
Poison dart frogs
Anaconda in Colombia
Anaconda
Pink planthopper insect
Most are very tiny.
Amerindian man with a woolly monkey
The Amazon rainforest is also home to indigenous people, some of whom live in tribes.
Waura shaman in Brazil
Traditional indigenous people have great knowledge of the forest, including plants and animals.
Waura child in Brazil
Shaman, or traditional medicine-men, use plants to heal people. But shaman are disappearing as the Amazon rainforest is cut down.
Palm tree in Colombia
There are other reasons the Amazon is important.
Rainforest in Colombia
Trees and other plants in the Amazon absorb carbon dioxide as they grow, helping fight climate change.
River in Brazi
The Amazon creates large amounts of rainfall, which provides water for agriculture and electrity generation.
Rain falling on the Amazon rainforest
The Amazon influences global weather patterns.
Deforestation in Peru
But as the Amazon rainforest is cut down, these benefits are lost.
Deforestation in Brazil
About 20 percent of the Amazon rainforest in Brazil has been destroyed since 1970.
Cattle ranching in the Brazilian Amazon
The main reason for deforestation is agriculture. People cut down the Amazon rainforest to raise cattle and plant crops like soybeans.
Deforestation in Colombia
The Amazon rainforest is also logged for timber.
Deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon
Fire is a big problem in the Amazon, too. Usually fires are set by people who want to clear rainforest for farms and ranches.
Deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon
Warmer ocean temperatures in the Atlantic can cause bad droughts in the Amazon, which make fires much worse.
Amazon water lillies
In 2005 and 2010, the Amazon rainforest had the worst drought ever recorded. Giant rivers dried up and millions of acres of forest burned.
Jaguar
But recently there has also been some good news for the Amazon.
Annual deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon
Since 2004, the deforestation rate has fallen by a lot in Brazil. There are several reasons.
Deforestation for soy in the Amazon
The government has set up more parks to protect rainforests.
Satellite image of deforestation in Brazil, courtesy of Google Earth
The government is also using satellites to monitor the Amazon. This has improved enforcement of environmental laws and people who deforest have been punished.
Soybeans and forest in Brazil
Environmentalists have put pressure on companies not to cut down rainforests.
Armed hunter in Colombia
Indigenous people have protected rainforest in their territories.
Deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon
Now other countries like Peru and Ecuador are starting to follow Brazil.
Canopy platform in Colombia
At the same time countries like Norway, Germany, Britain, France, and the United States are trying to help by providing money and technology to reduce deforestation.
Kids in the Amazon
Still a lot must still be done to ensure the Amazon rainforest is around for kids in the future.
Woolly monkey in Colombia
There are things you can do to help.
Deforestation in Peru
Tell your friends and parents about why the Amazon is important and what is happening to it.
Rainforest river in Suriname
Be sure to recycle and reduce energy use. Try to produce as little garbage as possible.
Cattle in the Amazon
Ask questions about the products you and your family buys. Do these products harm the environment?
Butterfly with transparent wings
Join an organization that is working to protect the Amazon.
The Amazon River between Colombia and Peru
If we all work together, the Amazon can be saved.
Rhett Butler in Panama in 2011
This tour was created by Rhett A. Butler, the founder of mongabay.com
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