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EditPhoto Title:Amazonia
EditPhoto Description:The world’s greatest rainforest is also one of its most vital life support systems.
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EditImage Description:Essequibo River, Guyana.
EditPhoto Credit:© Pete Oxford/iLCP
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Map of Amazonia. © Conservation International​​

The Amazon is so amazing, so vast, so beautiful, that it almost defies description. Its coffee touches our lips. Its medicines heal our bodies. Its trees clean the air we breathe.

And it’s disappearing — fast.

It’s up to all of us to protect this remarkable global treasure before we lose much of it … forever.


Why is Amazonia important?

The Food We Eat

From the coffee you drink in the morning to the chocolate you eat after dinner, food from the Amazon quietly makes its way into all of our lives. Ensuring that this food continues to make its way to people around the world, without causing a catastrophe in the rainforest, is a global conservation priority.

Climate Stability

The Amazon is the largest land-based “carbon sink” on the planet — so important to our global climate that many people have called it “the lungs of the Earth.” Its forests absorb destructive greenhouse gases like CO2, filter the air we breathe and keep the entire planet hospitable to life.

Jobs And Prosperity

Some 31 million people live in the Amazon region, and their livelihoods depend directly on the natural resources in their backyard. For example: The market for açai berries, a “superfood” used in vitamins and energy drinks, generates more than US$ 250 million per year in the Brazilian state of Amapa alone — creating thousands of jobs in harvesting, transportation, processing and sales.

The Water We Drink

The amount of water in the Amazon basin is mind-boggling. In just one day, more than enough fresh water flows through the Amazon River to supply New York City for an entire year. Tens of millions of people in the Amazon depend on this water for their daily survival — and scientists have also shown that much of the rainfall from regions outside the Amazon actually originates in the region.

Medicines From Nature

As many as 120 prescription drugs sold worldwide today derive directly from plants found in rainforests — including the Amazon, the largest rainforest in the world. And more than two-thirds of all medicines found to have cancer-fighting properties come from rainforest plants. Most remarkably, this is true even though the vast majority of tropical rainforest species have yet to be analyzed for their medicinal value.


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EditSection TitleWhat are the issues?
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EditResult value:20%
EditResult field:of the Amazon cut and burned
EditTitle:Deforestation
EditText:Destroying a resource as rich as the Amazon puts us on a treacherous path. But 20% of the region has been cut and burned to build ranches, croplands and roads. Even today, despite the success of many conservation efforts, the Amazon loses an of area forest the size of Haiti each year — an amount that’s expected to double over the next decade.

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    EditResult value:57%
    EditResult field:affected by a 'mega-drought'
    EditTitle:Climate change
    EditText:The Amazon helps fight global climate change, but it’s also transformed by it. Already, rising temperatures and unreliable weather patterns are making it harder for farmers to grow their crops. And the severe droughts that affect parts of Amazonia today — including a “mega-drought” in 2010 that affected 57% of the region — could, in time, turn much of the rainforest into grasslands and weaken the region’s ability to absorb harmful carbon pollution.

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      EditResult value:277
      EditResult field:dams planned for the future
      EditTitle:Growing energy demands
      EditText:Amazonia is developing — and regional governments are responding by expanding roads and building hydroelectric dams. Already, 154 such dams are in operation, with 21 more under construction and 277 planned for the future. And while hydroelectric energy is vital for the people of the region, it can also backfire. Increasingly, deforestation and climate change threaten to change rainfall patterns and reduce the amount of energy people will get from the dams we’re building today.

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      EditCarousel section title:CI's solutions[Optional]
      EditText title:Promoting sustainable development
      EditText:Development in Amazonia is taking place at the expense of the area’s natural wealth, impoverishing local populations. Put simply: Business as usual isn’t working. That’s why CI works across the region with governments, scientists and communities to promote alternatives that help both people and  the planet.
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      EditImage Alt Text:Tayrona National Park, El Cabo San Juan. © Christopher Schoenbohm
      EditCaption Title:Adapting to a Changing Climate in Colombia
      EditCaption Description:The water, coasts and mountains of Colombia directly benefit 80% of the population — and are critical to protecting against climate change impacts.
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      EditLink URL:/projects/Pages/Adapting-to-a-Changing-Climate-in-Colombia.aspx
      EditLink Text:Read More

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      EditImage URL:/SiteCollectionImages/ci_72841958.jpg
      EditImage Alt Text:Woman peeling cassava in Guyana. © Pete Oxford/iLCP
      EditCaption Title:Supporting Low-carbon Livelihoods in Guyana
      EditCaption Description:To secure a sustainable future for Guyana, we are working to improve livelihoods in the ecologically sensitive Rupununi region through natural resource management.
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      EditLink URL:/projects/Pages/supporting-low-carbon-livelihoods-in-guyana.aspx
      EditLink Text:Read More
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      EditImage Alt Text:People working in a tree nursery in the Alto Mayo Protected Forest. © Thomas Muller
      EditCaption Title:Developing a Sustainable Economy in San Martín, Peru
      EditCaption Description:CI and the San Martín regional government's collaborative work is leading the path toward a new sustainable economic development model for Peru.
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      EditImage Alt Text:Mountains in Calha Norte, Brazil. © Adriano Gambarini
      EditCaption Title:Protecting the Heart of the Amazon in Calha Norte, Brazil
      EditCaption Description:The large, remote area of intact forest in northern Brazil is especially resilient to climate change — so protecting its plentiful water and other natural resources must happen in tandem with sustainable development.
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      EditImage Alt Text:Boys doing cartwheels in Bahia, Brazil. © Cristina Mittermeier
      EditCaption Title:Bolsa Verde: Improving Livelihoods and Conserving Forests
      EditCaption Description:The Bolsa Verde program aims to promote conservation of Brazil’s important ecosystems and simultaneously improve livelihoods for people living in extreme poverty — the condition for nearly 17% of the population in the Amazon region.
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      Edit Image Position:rightRight
      EditSection Title:Protecting valuable places
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      EditImage URL: /SiteCollectionImages/ci_90849779.jpg
      EditImage Description: Portrait of a woman in the village of Ayukre. Brazil, Kayapo Indians, Xingu region. © Cristina Mittermeier
      EditText: Indigenous territories and other protected areas are some of the most valuable places in the Amazon, giving us food, water and the air we breathe. CI works to promote better management, design and financing for these territories — so they can continue to benefit people for generations to come.
      READ MORE: Brazil’s Kayapó: Stewards of the Forest
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      EditText title:Encouraging smart conservation policies
      EditText:CI works with governments and policymakers across Amazonia. By showing governments the social and economic value of nature, we can make the case that conservation can, and must, become central to development plans in Amazonia — even as we promote the region’s continued economic growth.
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      EditImage Alt Text:Santa Cruz highland forest. © Will Turner
      EditCaption Title:Economic Incentives to Protect Ecuador’s Forests
      EditCaption Description:Families and indigenous communities are receiving direct economic incentives to conserve their native forests. The program is alleviating poverty for thousands of Ecuadorians.
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      EditImage Alt Text:Sunrise in the Pampas, Bolivia. © Jonathan Hood
      EditCaption Title:Creating Healthy Sustainable Societies in Bolivia
      EditCaption Description:Bolivia has one of the highest rates of deforestation in the world — now new development of roads and other infrastructure could increase pressure on the country’s vast natural resources.
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      EditImage Alt Text:Essequibo River, Guyana. © Pete Oxford/iLCP
      EditCaption Title:Amapá: A New Development Model for the Amazon
      EditCaption Description:Amapá is home to Brazil’s largest area of protected tropical forests — but social and economic development must occur alongside conservation.
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      Edit Section subtitle:Can you actually make money from keeping forests standing? In the Amazon, Guyana is showing the world how it can be done.
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      Edit Video image alt text:Video: Guyana’s Green Gold: Keeping Forests Standing
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      Edit Section Title:Shop smart
      Edit Section subtitle:Support companies that sell responsibly harvested wood.
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      Newsletter

      EditNewsletter Title:Keep in touch
      EditNewsletter Message:Get the latest updates on Amazonia — and the rest of CI’s conservation work — delivered to your inbox.
      EditNewsletter Confirmation Message Title:Thank you for joining
      EditNewsletter Confirmation Message Text:You should expect to recieve a Welcome email and periodic updates on our work.
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      EditDonate Title:Donate
      EditDonate Message:Donate to CI to protect Amazonia and all the parts of nature we can’t live without.
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      EditImage Alt Text:Night falls over Rio de Janeiro. © Nikada

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      EditImage Alt Text:Clouds rise through Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, home to the endangered mountain gorilla. © Benjamin Drummond

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      EditTitle:Eastern Tropical Pacific Seascape
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      EditLink:/where/Pages/Eastern-Tropical-Pacific-Seascape.aspx
      EditImage Alt Text:Fish swimming in Eastern Tropical Pacific Seascape, Cocos Island, Costa Rica, Central America. © Conservation International/photo by Sterling Zumbrunn
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