8 facts you need to know about the Amazon rainforest

The Amazon rainforest is vital to life on Earth. Do you know why?


The Amazon rainforest is the largest tropical forest in the world — spanning nine countries and home to more than 30 million people. The region influences global weather and stores massive amounts of carbon — making it critical in the fight against climate change. Simply put, people cannot thrive without the Amazon rainforest — but right now, humans are driving this ecosystem to the brink.


Learn more about Amazonia and why we need to protect it:​


Fact 1: Amazonia boasts the richest biodiversity of any ecosystem on the planet

This extraordinary rainforest boasts an astounding wealth of biodiversity, harboring at least 10 percent of the world’s known species.Jump to references1 One region in the Ecuadorian Amazon is regarded as the most biodiverse area of land in the worldJump to references2, boasting more diverse species of trees in a given hectare of forest than all of North America. Tweet this fact


Fact 2: Amazonia stores (so much) carbon

The world’s forests absorb about 7.6 billion metric tons of carbon each year.Jump to references3 The Amazon rainforest does much of the heavy lifting, removing a yearly total of 1.2 billion metric tons of carbon from the atmosphere.Jump to references4 But if forest loss continues at current rates, the region could lose its ability to absorb and store carbon, eventually becoming a net source of emissions. Tweet this fact


Fact 3: Indigenous people legally own more than a quarter of the Amazon

Indigenous peoples manage 35 percent of Latin America's forests and nearly half of the forests in the Amazon Basin.Jump to references5 Studies have shown that areas under the secure management of Indigenous peoples are typically better protected and better managed than those under government control.Jump to references6 Tweet this fact


Fact 4: Amazonia is shrinking fast

In the past 60 years, more than 13 percent of the Amazon has been deforestedJump to references7 — an area nearly the size of Alaska.Jump to references8 Tweet this fact


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Fact 5: Amazonia could transform from a rainforest into a savanna

As more trees are cleared, the forest is losing its ability to retain moisture. If this cycle of destruction continues, the rainforest will be pushed to an ecological tipping point — gradually turning into a dry savanna. Tweet this fact


Fact 6: Protecting the Amazon rainforest can help halt climate change

Protecting the Amazon and other tropical forests could get us at least 30 percentJump to references of the way to solving the climate crisis, while also providing a host of additional benefits — filtering fresh water, providing breathable air — that other climate solutions don’t offer. Tweet this fact

Fact 7: The Amazon rainforest can — and must — be restored

Like most ecosystems, the Amazon rainforest is incredibly adaptive and resilient when properly cared for. By 2025, Conservation International aims to conserve 80 percent of the forest while improving human well-being in the region. Tweet this fact

Fact 8: You can be a part of solution

From establishing a carbon tax to creating new protected areas, countries across Amazonia are working tirelessly to ensure this tropical forest is conserved. Want to do your part? Here are five ways you can help fight climate change. Tweet this fact

Our Solutions

Mangrove tree in Indonesia at sunset.
© Mathias Japri

The next five years are critically important for Amazonia.

Conservation International is pursuing an ambitious strategy to sustain the forests of Amazonia, so that they can continue to sustain us all. We are helping to establish new protected areas to conserve forests and improve the well-being and livelihoods of local communities and Indigenous peoples.



  1. Guayasamin, J. M., Ribas, C. C., Carnaval, A. C., Carrillo, J. D., Hoorn, C., Lohmann, L. G., Riff, D., Ulloa Ulloa, C., & Albert, J. S. (2021). Chapter 2: Evolution of Amazonian biodiversity. In Amazon Assessment Report 2021. UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN). https://doi.org/10.55161/czwn4679
  2. Bass MS, Finer M, Jenkins CN, Kreft H, Cisneros-Heredia DF, McCracken SF, et al. (2010) Global Conservation Significance of Ecuador's Yasuní National Park. PLoS ONE 5(1): e8767. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0008767
  3. Harris, N.L., Gibbs, D.A., Baccini, A. et al. Global maps of twenty-first century forest carbon fluxes. Nat. Clim. Chang. 11, 234–240 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41558-020-00976-6
  4. Harris, N., Gibbs, D. (2021, January 21). Forests Absorb Twice As Much Carbon As They Emit Each Year. World Resources Institute. https://www.wri.org/insights/forests-absorb-twice-much-carbon-they-emit-each-year
  5. Forest governance by indigenous and tribal peoples. An opportunity for climate action in Latin America and the Caribbean. (2021). FAO. https://doi.org/10.4060/cb2953en
  1. Porter-Bolland, L., Ellis, E. A., Guariguata, M. R., Ruiz-Mallén, I., Negrete-Yankelevich, S., & Reyes-García, V. (2012). Community managed forests and forest protected areas: An assessment of their conservation effectiveness across the tropics. In Forest Ecology and Management (Vol. 268, pp. 6–17). Elsevier BV. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.foreco.2011.05.034
  2. Nobre, C. A., Sampaio, G., Borma, L. S., Castilla-Rubio, J. C., Silva, J. S., & Cardoso, M. (2016). Land-use and climate change risks in the Amazon and the need of a novel sustainable development paradigm. In Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (Vol. 113, Issue 39, pp. 10759–10768). Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1605516113
  3. Butler, R.A. (2022, February 25). 10 Facts about the Amazon Rainforest in 2022. Mongabay. https://rainforests.mongabay.com/amazon/amazon-rainforest-facts.html
  4. Griscom, B. W., Adams, J., Ellis, P. W., Houghton, R. A., Lomax, G., Miteva, D. A., Schlesinger, W. H., Shoch, D., Siikamäki, J. V., Smith, P., Woodbury, P., Zganjar, C., Blackman, A., Campari, J., Conant, R. T., Delgado, C., Elias, P., Gopalakrishna, T., Hamsik, M. R., … Fargione, J. (2017). Natural climate solutions. In Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (Vol. 114, Issue 44, pp. 11645–11650). Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1710465114