The word Amazon instantly conjures up a vision of a gigantic forest that is alive and full of exotic animals and trees. Indeed, the amazon rainforest is the largest tropical rainforest on Earth, but that’s just one of the amazing things about it.Let’s find out more about this forest that is more than 6 million square kilometers.
13 Fascinating Facts about the Amazon Rainforest
- The Amazon rainforest is roughly the size of 48 continuous US states and covers around 40% of the South American Continent. It stretches across Brazil, Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, Venezuela, Guyana, Suriname and French Guiana!
- The Amazon river that flows through the amazon rainforest is the world’s largest river by volume, and the second longest river in the world (the first being the Great Nile)
- The Amazon rainforest is estimated to have around 40000 plant species!
- The forest floor is completely dark. Less than 1% of the available sunlight makes it to the floor, because of the thick tree canopy above. In fact, even rainwater takes around 10 minutes to reach the ground. Think about that!
- A quarter of all our medicines have origins in the rainforest, and only 1% of the rainforest plants have been examined for medicinal purposes.
- 10% of the world’s known species live in the Amazon rainforest.
- 20% of the bird species of the world live in the Amazon rainforest, that’s around 1300 species of birds!
- The amazon rainforest is home to more than 1200 unique species of animals!
- The Amazon rainforest is also home to around 2 .5 million different insect species. That’s a whole lot of insects!
- Around 80% of the food we eat originally came from rainforests, including popular items like coffee, rice, tomatoes, potatoes and even chocolates!
- The Amazon rainforest is also home to around 400-500 indigenous tribes, and some (around 50) of these tribes have never had contact with the outside world.
- Some of the residents of the amazon forest are downright deadly, such as piranhas, electric eels, poison dart frogs, jaguars and viciously venomous snakes.
- The Amazon forests are sometimes referred to as the lungs of the planet, but considering the number of living creatures in it, most of the oxygen produced the gigantic forest is used up. But the forests are responsible for regulating the temperature on our blue planet.
Even though the Amazon rainforests are essential to our planet’s survival, deforestation is a major threat to it. Thankfully, we are growing more aware and responsible and serious efforts are being undertaken to preserve this huge green canopy on earth.