For millions of years, planet earth has changed itself countless times especially the Amazon rainforest. Creating different land masses and breaking them apart due to continental drift. New lands formed, different species evolved and went extinct. And climate changed which shaped the world as we know it today. We live in an ever-changing world and us, humans significantly contribute to the shaping of our planet, sometimes for the best, sometimes for the worst.
Today, only a few places here on earth still have its former glory. Just like what they look like before the dawn of man. Due to human activities, most of them are now gradually becoming rarer and rarer. One of the most prominent and most diverse places here on earth is the Amazon Rainforest. The rainforest slowly dying, being more vulnerable to possibilities of extintion due to our actions.
The Amazon Rainforest
The Amazon Rainforest is the world’s richest and most diverse biological ecosystem still around today. It contains over a million different species of flora and fauna that is not seen anywhere else in the world. It covers almost 3 million square miles of land that includes territories belonging to nine South American nations. The Amazon Rainforest also contains the largest river based on the amount of water it discharges to the ocean – The Amazon River.
The Amazon Rainforest Then and Now
Studies show that around 20 percent of the Amazon has been extinct for the last 50 years. There are a lot of reasons why this happened. And human activities contributed to a large portion of it, as well as climate change. It is likely that the Amazon Rainforest has a total of 4.1 million square kilometers before 1970. This estimate gradually becomes smaller and smaller as the years went by. Thus, reducing the total land area to only around 3.3 million square kilometers by 2017. This picture shows that the Rainforest lost about 800,000 square kilometers due to either natural events or human activities.
This gradual decline of the Amazon Rainforest’s total land area severely affected its habitat. Thousands of species of animals went to other locations within the Rainforest to look for food and shelter. This “Exodus” of animals either becomes the hunter or the prey on the new lands that they transferred. Thus, severely disrupting the ecological balance of the said location. These said animals might even invade nearby cities to look for food out of desperation. Several species of plants and animals, most of them are undiscovered, becomes extinct over the years. That extinction gives us no chance to study and catalog them.
Fearing Amazon’s Disappearance
Based on the 2005 study, using the deforestation rates of that period, it was estimated that the rainforest would continue to reduce its area by around 40 percent in the next two decades. Albeit the forest loss is now slowing. As per 2012 findings, which is the slowest since the 1970s, the forest area continues to become smaller.
Plans have been made to counter this continuous shrinking of the Amazon. With the help of the international community and the cruel actions of the Brazilian government. And also other countries who share their territory with the Amazon Rainforest. Strict rules and regulations regarding its conservation and protection are established. Thus, hoping that one day the Amazon will restore its former glory.
The Amazon Rainforest is one of the last diverse ecological sites left on the planet. As different species of both plants and animals treat it as a sanctuary. If the Amazon continues to shrink, millions of animals and plants will perish, and never to be seen again. We humans should be the prime protectors of this ecological haven. Aside from protecting these species of plants and animals, most of us, especially people who live around that region, depends on the rainforest for pretty much anything they need. We need to help restore the Amazon before it’s too late.