Amazon under seige

Publication - 5 January, 2004
The Amazon Basin covers five percent of the land surface of the planet, extending over some 7.8 million km2. It has 25,000 km of navigable rivers and contains around 20% of the Earth’s fresh water. Its forests represent one of the most important ecosystems on Earth, accounting for 45% of tropical forests and storing 40% of the carbon residing in terrestrial vegetation. Almost half of all known species live in the Amazon. Among them, 353 species of mammals, 3,000 fish species, 1,000 species of birds, 60,000 plant species and an estimated 10 million species of insects. The Amazon plays a vital role in maintaining biodiversity, regional hydrology and climate. Despite decades of intense focus in the spotlight of international environmental concern, the Amazon is today more than ever under siege from the loggers, farmers, and politicians who view it as a modern Eldorado to be plundered for profit. Today, loggers, farmers, private enterprises and many politicians, local public administrators and legislators still view the Amazon as a vast territory to seize, occupy and exploit.

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