According to biologists, the vast Amazon basin is home to more plant and animal species than any other habitat on Earth. It is estimated that as much as 30% of all existing species are found in the Amazon.
Scientists also tell us that 85% of the world’s forests have already been lost as a result of human activity. That figure includes 20% of the Amazon rainforest. In recent years, deforestation in the Amazon is calculated to have occurred at the rate of three soccer pitches a minute. In Brazil, the deforestation rate for 2018 was the highest in a decade, reflecting adjustments in government priorities and the erosion of already inadequate protections.
And because the Amazon basin is believed to contain somewhere between 90 and 140 billion metric tons of carbon, destruction of the forest leads to the release of that carbon into the atmosphere, thereby accelerating the global warming that is causing climate change.
The 6.7 million square miles covered by the Amazon basin are shared by Peru, Brazil, Ecuador, Bolivia, Colombia, Venezuela, Guyana, Suriname and French Guiana. This is the planet’s most biologically diverse region, providing a home to 10% of all the species known to exist on Earth, across 1.4 billion acres of forests and an estimated 4100 miles (6600 kilometers) of rivers.
In 2013, scientists pooled the data gathered by more than one thousand individual biological surveys conducted across the countries which share the Amazon basin. This was the first time that isolated individual studies had been brought together in order to produce a complete picture of the vastness and complexity of life within the Amazon basin.
The data from the study, published in the journal Science, indicates that the Amazon basin is home to an astonishing 16,000 tree species, which together form a forest composed of almost 400 billion individual trees! However, more than half those trees are believed to belong to just 227 species, while as many as 6000 tree species may number fewer than one thousand individuals each, meaning that they qualify for inclusion in the Red List of Threatened Species maintained by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
Left free of human activity, the rainforest ecosystem is entirely self-sufficient, requiring only the steady input of sunlight to maintain the plants which in turn maintain other life forms through a complex web of interactions, checks and balances.
In Peru’s Tambopata National Reserve higher, or vascular, plants (those with vessels for the conducting of water and minerals) are represented by a total of 1713 known species divided into 145 families. Among the species found in this protected natural area are emblematic trees such as cedar, tornillo, mahogany and brazil nut, as well as palm tree species that include pona, aguaje, huasaí and ungurahui
Defined as "tourism which seeks out the attractions of natural elements in an area without undue stress being imposed on them", ecotourism is one of the fastest growing sectors of the Peruvian economy. At Tambopata Ecolodge, we are pledged to protecting our remote corner of the Amazon basin, through our own Private Conservation Area initiative, and the sustainable ecotourism activities we offer in the incomparably biodiverse Tambopata National Reserve.