Disappearance of Amazon Rainforest

March 29, 2023, 7:22 p.m.

The Amazon is the world’s single largest rainforest. The vibrant and extensive ecosystem is home to millions of species of flora and fauna, as well as a large human population. It is one of the most biodiverse ecosystems on the planet.

The world’s most well-known rainforest covers approximately 7 million square kilometers (2.72 million square miles) in total, equivalent to twice the size of India. The Amazon river flowing through it is 4,100 miles long.

The Amazon currently stores an estimated 123 billion tons of carbon.

The Amazon provides a habitat for 2.5 million species of insects and thousands of species of animals.

Amazon rainforest to now emit more carbon dioxide than it absorbs. Deforestation has destroyed thousands of species of wildlife and plants, put the lives of local communities at risk and wiped out one of nature’s most important tools in storing carbon and staving off the climate crisis.

Despite the dangerous consequences, deforestation of the Amazon is continuing at an alarming rate. The current rate of destruction is causing the local water cycle to approach a tipping point that would have profound impacts on the biome’s inhabitants.

The Amazon rainforest spans parts of Venezuela, Guyana, Suriname, Brazil, Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador and Colombia. Brazil contains the largest portion — just over 1.5 million square miles of the Amazon — where the majority of deforestation took place in 2021.

23 percent of the rainforest had been destroyed in the previous 20 years alone. As destructive activities continue, the rainforest is also losing its resilience and approaching a point of devastation it not be able to return from.

Gold mining has been on the rise in recent years and in one area of the Amazon, along the Guiana Shield, gold mining accounts for around 90 percent of deforestation. The process of mining gold has further ecological impacts as it involves the use of mercury, which contaminate local water supplies.

The impact of deforestation in the Amazon is felt by its native wildlife, flora and human population. Beyond the local impact, the rainforest is losing its ability to store carbon, which has serious global implications for the climate catastrophe.

The Amazon is the largest rainforest on Earth. If deforestation continues at its current rate it’s thought that we could see the demise of the Amazon rainforest by 2064, particularly of southern and eastern areas. By this point periods of severe drought will be so close together that the rainforest will not be able to recover in between. The remaining dry and sparse areas of land will not be able to support the native wildlife, indigenous groups, and local communities relying on the water it supplies.

In 2021 alone 8.8 million acres of the Amazon rainforest were lost.

In 2021 deforestation of the Amazon in Brazil rose to its highest level in 15 years.

The Amazon is getting closer to its “tipping point”— when it will no longer be able to generate its own rainfall and support its rainforest ecosystems.

The largest rainforest on Earth could become—at best—a dry grassland.

Amazon rainforest disappearing quickly, threatening indigenous people who live there.

Forests throughout the world are shrinking year after year - and Brazil is the epicentre. If nothing is done to stop it, this unique forest will be razed in next tens of years.

Do you consider the destruction of the Amazon forests a dangerous problem that threatens catastrophic consequences for all living beings on Earth?