Brazil and the Amazon Forest

The Amazon rainforest is the world's largest intact forest. It is home to more than 24 million people in Brazil alone, including hundreds of thousands of Indigenous Peoples belonging to 180 different groups.

There’s a reason the Amazon was the place that inspired scientists to coin the term “biodiversity.” The region is home to 10 percent of all plant and animal species known on Earth. There are approximately 40,000 species of plants and more than 400 mammals, with almost 1,300 different varieties of birds and an insect population in the millions.

In addition to its unparalleled diversity of life, the Amazon plays an essential role in helping to control the planet’s atmospheric carbon levels. The Amazon Basin stores approximately 100 billion metric tons of carbon — that’s more than ten times the annual global emissions from fossil fuels.

While it covers 2.6 million square miles across nine countries — Brazil, Bolivia, Peru, Colombia, Ecuador, Venezuela, Guyana, Suriname, and French Guiana — about 60 percent of the Amazon Basin is in Brazil, where Greenpeace has focused its efforts.

In the last 40 years, the Brazilian Amazon has lost more than 18 percent of its rainforest — an area about the size of California — to illegal logging, soy agriculture, and cattle ranching. Despite the creation of protected areas in recent decades, most of the remaining forest is under threat, and with it the plants, animals, and people who depend on the forest to survive.

Around the world, people like you have stepped up to achieve policy reform, additional protected areas, and commitments from corporations that have slowed the rate of deforestation. Still, forest areas the size of entire cities are cleared in the Brazilian Amazon every year and “burning season” fires have returned at record-breaking levels.

Large swathes of ancestral lands of Indigenous Peoples’ have not yet been officially demarcated by the Brazilian Government, with each year seeing increasing pressure from the industry to not recognize these land claims. Furthermore, even recognized protected areas, including officially recognized Indigenous Peoples’ lands, suffer from invasions of illegal mining, logging, or deforestation-linked land-grabbing for agribusiness.

Greenpeace’s work in the Amazon investigates the on the ground impact global supply chains have in these regions in order to highlight the threats and do something about it.. The work in the amazon has included the award-winning Amazon Soy Moratorium, groundbreaking research on the International Market’s role in cattle-driven deforestation in the Amazon, and in defending critical forest areas from problematic infrastructure expansion.

Starting in 2018, Greenpeace’s Amazon campaign has begun to include work on the adjacent biomes; the Cerrado Savanna Grasslands in Brazil, the Gran Chaco forests in Argentina, Bolivia, and Paraguay. While lesser-known internationally, these forests are critical in the fight against climate change and are under serious threat from the same drivers that impact the Amazon.

In July 2006, a historic agreement was signed to protect the Amazon rainforest. Former antagonists from the soya industry, NGOs and corporate sector reconciled their difference and agreed on the Soya Moratorium.