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The Amazon rainforest

“The Amazon is the most stunning place on Earth – we simply cannot afford to lose it. That’s why FFI is working with our local partners, communities and government officials to find a solution to deforestation”.

Cynthia Machado

Fauna & Flora International Technical Director in Brazil

Though “save the rainforest” slogans have been around for decades, our planet’s tropical forests are under more serious threat than ever. The Amazon is the largest rainforest on Earth and harbours a dazzling array of species. Fauna & Flora International (FFI) is on the frontline of forest conservation in the southern edge of the Amazon in Brazil, where the forest is most threatened.

Many people make the mistake of thinking all tropical rainforests are more or less the same; but in fact, many kinds of plants and animals that you find in the Amazon, and how they interact with each other, are distinct from those found in the rainforests of South-east Asia and Africa.

Amazon quick facts:

  • 1.4 billion hectares of forest
  • The world’s largest river basin and the source of one-fifth of all free-flowing fresh water on Earth
  • One in ten known species in the world live in the Amazon Rainforest
  • Threats – Soy plantation expansion, cattle ranching, unsustainable logging, human settlement
  • Around 14% of the rainforest has already been deforested and this process continues at a rate of approximately 20,000km2 a year
  • Amazon basin is home to 21 million people of which about 30% live in rural areas and 200,000 are indigenous
  • The Amazon covers approximately 50% of Brazil and stores huge amounts of carbon dioxide.  Burning of forest, however, has released so much of this greenhouse gas that Brazil is now placed 4th in the world for CO2 emissions

IYB Issue: Deforestation

Humans are causing the destruction of the Earth’s tropical rainforests at an astonishing rate. It is estimated that 13 million hectares of forest – roughly the size of Greece– is lost every year. Deforestation is caused by a plethora of phenomenon, from small-scale subsistence farms inching into the forest to vast soy or palm oil plantation expansion driven by global demand. Logging for timber is of course a huge cause of deforestation as well.

What you can do to protect the virgin forests?

Choose wood products that have the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) label on them, which means they have been made form sustainably harvested timber. Buy paper products that are recycled which reduces demand for timber from virgin forests.

Our work in The Amazon rainforest

Ecuadorian Amazon: Villano biodiversity project for best practice in the oil sector


FFI is working with the Italian energy company eni E&P, its Ecuadorian subsidiary Agip Oil Ecuador (AOE) and the Catholic University in Quito to create a model of good practice within the oil sector in the Ecuadorian Amazon. The university and AOE are investigating both primary and secondary impacts of oil production on biodiversity. The findings are being used to draft an action plan for AOE and to inform eni environmental management systems.

Amazon Basin: Cristalino State Park and adjacent landscape


Despite the global importance of the Brazilian Amazon and the official Brazilian government strategy to protect it, the world’s largest forest is threatened by cattle ranching, illegal logging, new access roads and agriculture. Fauna & Flora International (FFI) has been working to curb the advance of deforestation by supporting the Cristalino Ecological Foundation (CEF) and other partners to protect 6,000 hectares of private reserves adjacent to the Cristalino State Park which are critical to maintaining its integrity.

External link: Cristalino Ecological Foundation

An image relating to The Amazon rainforest

Did you know?

60% of the Amazon is in Brazil, in an area larger than western Europe – the rest of the Amazon spans across Peru, Colombia, Venezuela, Ecuador, Bolivia, Guyana, Suriname, and French Guiana.

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Fauna & Flora International (FFI) is a company limited by guarantee, incorporated in England and Wales, Registered Company Number 2677068. Registered Charity Number 1011102
Fauna & Flora International Australia (Ltd) is a company limited by guarantee, and recognised as a Charitable Institution (ABN 75 132 715 783, ACN 132715783)
Fauna & Flora International USA Inc is a non-profit organization incorporated in the State of Delaware with federal tax identification number 81-3967095. 501(c)(3) status for Fauna & Flora International USA Inc currently is pending IRS approval.
Fauna & Flora International Singapore is a public company limited by guarantee, Registration Number 201133836K. Registered charity under the Singapore Charities Act