The famous Amazon Rainforest, covering much of northwestern Brazil and parts of Colombia, Peru and other South American countries, is the world’s largest tropical rainforest, famed for its biodiversity. While the rainforest is known for various reasons, it has been in news recently for the most worrisome reason. As per a recent report by the National Institute for Space Research, Brazil's Amazon rainforest has seen a record number of fires this year.
In the year 2019, between January and August, nearly 73,000 fires were recorded. In addition, the Rainforest has been on fire for a number of days, without receiving much attention from the concerned authorities. In fact, the recent satellite images have spotted more than 9,500 new forest fires since last week alone, mostly in the Amazon basin. While the news might not have reached you yet, here’s why you should be seriously thinking about the ways to stop the deadly Amazon fires:
1. Known as the ‘Lungs of the World’, the Amazon Rainforest produces more than 20% of the world’s oxygen.
2. The world’s largest tropical rainforest, Amazon covers over 5.5 million square kilometres. It is spread across South America, spanning across Brazil, Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, Venezuela, Guyana, Suriname and French Guiana.
3. The Amazon has an incredibly rich ecosystem, hosting around 40,000 plant species, 1,300 bird species, 3,000 types of fish, 430 mammals and a whopping 2.5 million different insects.
4. The incredibly dense Amazon rainforest is home to a lot of deadly creatures, including electric eels, flesh-eating piranhas, poison dart frogs, jaguars and some seriously venomous snakes.
5. Not just flora and fauna, the Amazon rainforest is also home to around 400-500 indigenous Amerindian tribes. It is believed that about fifty of these tribes have never had contact with the outside world.
6. The Amazon delivers 55 million gallons of water into the Atlantic Ocean every second.
7. 25% of all western pharmaceuticals come from the Amazon rainforest-based ingredients. This is when less than 1% of the trees and plants in the Amazon have ever been tested by scientists so far.
8. More than 80% of the world’s food has its origins in the Amazon rainforest. In fact, the rainforest contains more than 3,000 fruits, out of which only 200 are consumed in the western world.