03 December, 2020


The vast Brazilian jungle in the lush Amazon rainforest is critical to the health of the planet. In the past 50 years, the forest has lost at least 17% of its expanse—wildfires being a major culprit

Photograph by Getty Images

The smoke-shrouded scene in a lush Amazon rainforest underscores the enormity of the bushfires in the vast Brazilian jungle critical to the health of the planet. The rain has fallen lately, dousing major blazes. Some have burned themselves out. Still, smoke continues to billow from charred fields and scrub­—mostly deforested areas, or land cleared for farming and livestock...

The Lungs

  • The Amazon basin has the world’s largest rainforest—a unique ecosystem, the most biodiverse, it houses at least 10% of the known biodiversity on Earth, home to a million indigenous people
  • Spread over 1.4 billion acres
  • 60% of the forest is in Brazil; the rest in Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, Venezuela, Guyana, Suriname and French Guiana
  • The Amazon forest produces 20% of the world’s oxygen, acc­ording to some experts. But most scientists say the actual figure is probably below 6%.
  • Still, it is an important carbon sink that counteracts climate change. In a normal year, the Amazon rainforest...


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