The Amazon is the largest tropical rainforest in the world, as it covers 5.5 million km². Yet this ecological treasure is threatened by growing deforestation and wildfires.
The Amazon basin, spanning 7.4 million km², covers nearly 40% of Latin America and is spread across nine countries: Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, French Guiana, Guyana, Peru, Suriname and Venezuela. About 60% of it is in Brazil.
Some 30,000 types of plants, 2,500 fish, 1,500 birds, 500 mammals, 550 reptiles and 2.5 million insects, which constitute a quarter of the Earth's species, are found in the rainforest.
The Amazon region contains a third of the world's primary forests and thousands of rivers. Via the Amazon River and its tributaries, 20% of the earth's unfrozen fresh water is made available.
The Amazon is the world's largest river running for up to 6,900km.
The forest, known as the lungs of the planet, acts as a carbon sink, absorbing carbon dioxide (CO2) and releasing oxygen. Without this sink, atmospheric CO2 concentrations would increase and contribute towards higher global temperatures.
The Amazon is inhabited by 34 million people, of whom two-thirds live in cities. It is home to 20 different tribes, around 60 of which live in total isolation.
Manaus is the capital of Amazonas state, the largest in Brazil and which covers 1.5 million km² with a population of 1.8 million.
Almost 20% of the Amazon rainforest has disappeared in the last 50 years and this is accelerating which is causing massive deforestation.
The Amazon is not only rich in biodiversity, but also in mineral resources including gold, copper, iron ore, nickel and manganese.