Arguably the most famous rainforest in the world, the Amazon is home to an incredible variety of plants and animals – but sadly, they’re in trouble. If you’ve listened to the news lately you’ve probably heard lots about the fires that are burning across the rainforest, and while these do happen naturally, they’re only getting worse due to climate change and deforestation. The Amazon is important for so many reasons, so we need to protect it – and thanks to some incredible organizations right here in Canada, we’re doing just that!
Besides being an important home for plants and animals, the Amazon rainforest actually does a lot for us, too. Did you know it’s helping to fight climate change as we speak?! Trees soak up some of the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere as they grow, which means that just by existing they’re helping to reduce the amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, which contribute to climate change. They also use this carbon dioxide to produce the oxygen we need to breathe. The Amazon alone makes over 20% of the world’s oxygen, which is pretty incredible considering it covers such a small piece of the Earth’s land area!
It’s easy to see why the Amazon is so awesome, but sadly this important ecosystem is in danger. Every year, more and more of the Amazon is cut down or burned to make room for farming, roads, and houses. As the Amazon shrinks, there are fewer places for the huge number of animals who rely on its ecosystem to live. In addition, climate change is making it more and more difficult for the plants and trees that used to live there to grow back. That’s because it’s causing less rainfall, and without lots of rain these jungle plants can’t survive.
One of the best ways we can help save animals is by protecting their habitats, and thankfully there’s lots of work being done to do just that in the Amazon. Indigenous groups live on over 10% of the land in the rainforest, and by working with them to help protect their territories we can help conserve over half a million square kilometers of important habitat. ICFC (International Conservation Fund of Canada) is a group that partners with conservation organizations in areas where ecosystems are under threat, and through their work with the Kayapo indigenous people in the Amazon they’re trying to protect over 100,000 square kilometres of rainforest – that’s an area twice the size of Nova Scotia! They work with the Kayapo to help them defend their land from threats like deforestation and farming, and they’re also helping them develop their own economy. Doing this will make sure they don’t feel forced to sell their land to industries, and will hopefully help them keep their important territory as undisturbed as possible for years to come.
The Kayapo project is just one example of the many efforts underway to protect the Amazon rainforest. Click here to learn more about this awesome project, and tell us what you think – and what you love most – about the Amazon in the comments!