The Amazon is burning. Around 73,000 km2 of land was burnt in the Amazon rainforest of Brazil in 2019 – fires across the whole of Brazil were almost double the number in 2018. And they continue into 2020. Soaring deforestation is one of the main causes of these fires. We must fight the causes and protect this precious place.

South America’s Amazon contains nearly a third of all the tropical rainforests left on Earth. Despite covering only around 1% of the planet’s surface, the Amazon is home to 10% of all the wildlife species we know about – and probably a lot that we don’t know yet.

Our research shows that, on average, a ‘new’ species of animal or plant is being discovered in the Amazon every 3 days. However, tragically, because huge parts of the forest are being destroyed so fast, we may never know all the riches it holds.

People around the world, as well as locally, depend on the Amazon. Not just for food, water, wood and medicines, but to help stabilise the climate, playing a critical role in global and regional carbon and water cycles.

The Amazon is under siege like never before. Deforestation and fire are once again on the increase, and protected areas and indigenous lands face increasing threats. It needs our help more than ever. We cannot tackle the climate crisis without the Amazon’s vital life-sustaining role.

Just two quick facts to give you an idea of what’s at stake here. 1) The Amazon has more species of primate than anywhere else on Earth. 2) You can find more types of ant on one tree in the Amazon than you can in some whole countries.

We’re so determined to help protect the Amazon, for the benefit of its people and for the planet as a whole. Your help will be vital.

We worked for decades with many other organisations to expand Chiribiquete National Park in the heart of the Colombian Amazon. We finally won in 2018, and in more good news the park was declared a UNESCO World Heritage site – recognition of its enormous value. Deforestation, climate change, the expansion of the agricultural frontier, illegal timber extraction, illicit crops and unplanned settlements, remain significant threats to Colombia’s forests: 66 per cent of the country’s deforestation occurs in the Amazon region. We’re now supporting the creation of a fund to increase the amount of land in Colombia’s protected area system and make sure that the land is properly managed and protected .

Categories: Education, Science, World