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On Amazon Day, the 5 stories you need to read

© Johnny Lye

Editor’s note: Today is Amazon Day, created to commemorate the founding of what is now known as the State of Amazonas in Brazil. True to its name, the state — which is nearly four times the size of California — is home to the Amazon rainforest, the world’s largest tropical forest. To celebrate, peek under the rainforest canopy with five of Human Nature’s most popular Amazon stories.

1. Mud, parrots and parasites: Filming the rainforest in virtual reality

Go behind-the-scenes with the camera crew of CI’s latest virtual reality film, “Under the Canopy,” on their 26-day expedition to two of the most pristine areas in the Amazon: southern Suriname and Ecuador’s Yasuní National Park.

2. Stopping deforestation in the Amazon by 2020? It’s possible

What’s causing deforestation in the Amazon rainforest, and how do we stop it? To find out, CI scientists took a look at the bigger picture and created a color-coded roadmap for action.

3. These 7 maps shed light on most crucial areas of Amazon rainforest

Do you love maps? These artful representations of the Amazon’s critical natural resources — forests, water, biodiversity and more — are sure to inform and inspire.

4. 5 rainforest species that could save your life

From chemicals in snakes that lower blood pressure to trees that contain cancer-fighting properties, saving the Amazon means saving nature’s pharmacy.

5. How ‘protected’ are Amazon’s protected areas?

Protected areas are still threatened: In Brazil, from 1900 to 2014, CI researchers found 67 instances of protected areas subject to changing laws and regulations.

Leah Duran is a staff writer for Conservation International.

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Cover image: An aerial view of the Amazon. (© Johnny Lye)