Amazon Rainforest – Present & Future Lungs of the World from Rainforest to Savannah – Tipping Point

Get unlimited access to the best preparation resource for CDS : get questions, notes, tests, video lectures and more- for all subjects of CDS.

The Amazon Rainforest
  • The majority of the forest is contained within Brazil, with 60 % of the rainforest, followed by Peru with 13 % , Colombia with 10 % , and with minor amounts in Venezuela, Ecuador, Bolivia, Guyana, Suriname and French Guiana. Four nations have “Amazonas” as the name of one of their first-level administrative regions and France uses the name “Guiana Amazonian Park” for its rainforest protected area. The Amazon represents over half of the planet՚s remaining rainforests, and comprises the largest and most biodiverse tract of tropical rainforest in the world, with an estimated 390 billion individual trees divided into 16,000 species
  • Nine countries share the Amazon basin — most of the rainforest, 58.4 % , is contained within the borders of Brazil. The other eight countries include Peru with 12.8 % , Bolivia with 7.7 % , Colombia with 7.1 % , Venezuela with 6.1 % , Guyana with 3.1 % , Suriname with 2.5 % , French Guyana with 1.4 % , and Ecuador with 1 %
  • The region is home to about 2.5 million insect species, tens of thousands of plants, and some 2,000 birds and mammals. To date, at least 40,000 plant species, 2,200 fishes, 1,294 birds, 427 mammals, 428 amphibians, and 378 reptiles have been scientifically classified in the region
  • Among the largest predatory creatures are the black caiman, jaguar, cougar, and anaconda. In the river, electric eels can produce an electric shock that can stun or kill, while piranha are known to bite and injure humans.
  • The Rainforest
    Amazon Rainforest
    The immense extent and great continuity of this rainforest is a reflection of the high rainfall, high humidity, and monotonously high temperatures that prevail in the region.
  • More than 56 % of the dust fertilizing the Amazon rainforest comes from the Bodélé depression in Northern Chad in the Sahara Desert. The dust contains phosphorus, important for plant growth. The yearly Sahara dust replaces the equivalent amount of phosphorus washed away yearly in Amazon soil from rains and floods
  • Amazon phosphorus also comes as smoke due to biomass burning in Africa.
  • Amazonian evergreen forests account for about 10 % of the world՚s terrestrial primary productivity and 10 % of the carbon stores in ecosystems.
    The Fires
  • There have been 72,843 fires in Brazil in 2019, with more than half in the Amazon region.
  • In August 2019 there were a record number of fires. Deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon rose more than 88 % in June 2019 compared with the same month in 2018
  • In 2005, parts of the Amazon basin experienced the worst drought in one hundred years.
  • Deforestation in the Amazon rainforest region has a negative impact on local climate. It was one of the main causes of the severe drought of 2014 – 2015 in Brazil. This is because the moisture from the forests is important to the rainfall in Brazil, Paraguay and Argentina. Half of the rainfall in the Amazon area is produced by the forests
  • Research suggests that upon reaching about 20 – 25 % (hence 3 – 8 % more) , the tipping point to flip it into a non-forest ecosystems – degraded savannah – (in eastern, southern and central Amazonia) will be reached
  • In the 1970՚s, construction began on the Trans-Amazonian highway. This highway represented a major threat to the Amazon rainforest
  • 70 % of formerly forested land in the Amazon, and 91 % of land deforested since 1970, have been used for livestock pasture. Currently, Brazil is the second-largest global producer of soybeans after the United States. New research however, conducted by Leydimere Oliveira et al. , has shown that the more rainforest is logged in the Amazon, the less precipitation reaches the area and so the lower the yield per hectare becomes. So despite the popular perception, there has been no economic advantage for Brazil from logging rainforest zones and converting these to pastoral fields.