Amazon Rainforest: History, Biodiversity, Facts

By : Neha Dhyani

Updated : Jan 4, 2023, 11:01

Amazon Rainforest is the largest rainforest globally, encompassing an area of 5,500,000 sq. km and spanning across nine nations. Also referred to as the Amazon Jungle or Amazonia, this rainforest is home to hundreds of ethnic groups and millions of species of insects, plants, and animals. Amazon Rainforest covers 40% of the South American continent.

This rainforest is also home to the Amazon River, which is the largest and second-longest river in the world. We have shared more information about the history, significance, and facts about the Amazon Rainforest.

About Amazon Rainforest

Amazon Rainforest is the biggest rainforest in the world and is believed to have come into existence around 55 million years ago. However, it has undergone several significant changes in terms of vegetation and ecosystems and now comprises an array of ecosystems, ranging from savanna to swamps. Human inhabitants first settled in the Amazon around 11,200 years ago.

Amazon jungle is home to not only flora and fauna, but also thousands of indigenous communities. This rainforest spans across 5,500,000 square kilometres. Here is an overview of the Amazon Rainforest.


Amazon Rainforest


South America

Area Covered

5,500,000 sq km

Known For

Its vast biodiversity


It is the largest rainforest in the world

History of Amazon Forest

The Amazon rainforest has a rich history and the forest is believed to have first come into existence around 55 million years ago. It houses thousands of flora and fauna species, in addition to thousands of indigenous human communities. The history of the indigenous communities of the Amazon rain forest is also very rich.

Amazon Rainforest covers the most part of the Amazon basin and belongs to nine different territories, including Brazil, Colombia, Peru, Ecuador, Bolivia, Guyana, French Guiana, Venezuela, and Suriname.

Amazon Forest Area

Amazon Rainforest is located in the Amazon basin of the South American continent. Being the biggest rainforest in the world, it spans across nine countries in South America, namely, Brazil, Peru, Bolivia, Columbia, Venezuela, Guyana, Suriname, French Guiana, and Ecuador.

The majority of the Amazon Rainforest is located in Brazil (60%), followed by Peru (13%) and Bolivia (7.7%). In total, the Amazon forest spreads across an area of 5,500,000 square kilometers.

Amazon Rainforest - Biodiversity

Amazon rain forest is home to the largest variety of plants and animals in any terrestrial ecosystem on the Earth. Around 30% of the planet's species can be found in the rainforest. Compared to tropical rainforests in Asia and Africa, the Amazon, with its largest rainforest track, comprises unparalleled biodiversity. Here is a list of different kinds of species in the Amazon Rainforest:

  • 2.5 million insect species
  • 40,000 plant species
  • 16,000 tree species
  • 3,000 fish species
  • 1,300 birds
  • 430+ mammals
  • 1,000+ amphibians
  • 400+ reptiles

However, the biodiversity in the Amazon faces the threat of losing its habitation due to large scale deforestation and forest fires.

Amazon Forest - Deforestation

Cases of deforestation are very common in the Amazon jungle. When a forest area is converted into a non-forested area, it is called deforestation. This practice may be done for reasons such as human settlement, hunting, the establishment of factories, etc. Around 17% of the Amazon forest land was deforested in 2018.

The rainforest faces a massive threat of deforestation, which will adversely impact the biodiversity of the area. Recently, the Amazon Rainforest has become a hot location for deforestation since the discovery of fossil fuels was made in the region.

The Amazon forest is vital to the survival of millions of species of plants and wildlife. With over 1.4 billion acres of dense forest land, its preservation is necessary to stabilise local and global temperatures. Indiscriminate deforestation for cattle ranching, agriculture, industrial activities, and development activities threatens the existence of the Amazon.

Effects of Climate Change on the Amazon Jungle

Climate change is leading to a loss of biodiversity in the Amazon rainforest. With deforestation and prominent forest fires in the Amazon, the release of carbon into the environment will increase, which can accelerate global warming. According to a report, the Amazon forest emitted more greenhouse gases than it absorbed in 2021.

Also, the impact of deforestation is not borne alone by the flora and fauna of the Amazon rainforest. It also affects the indigenous communities living there. There are some activities such as ecotourism that can help stop deforestation in the Amazon.

Amazon Rainforest Facts

Here is a list of interesting Amazon forest facts you must know

  • The Amazon is named after the Amazons of Greek mythology, a group of fierce, independent, and courageous female warriors and hunters. The name was given by Spanish explorer Francisco de Orellana when he fought a war with some tribes in the forest and witnessed women of the tribe fighting alongside men.
  • There are over 350 indigenous and ethnic groups residing in the Amazon Rainforest, many of which have never had contact with the outside world. The forest is home to around 30 million people.
  • The forest cover in the Amazon is so thick that it takes around 10 minutes for rainwater to reach the forest floor in some regions. This thickness is also why only 1% of sunlight reaches the floor, and the forest is mostly dark.
  • The Amazon Rainforest is called the "lungs of the planet" because it absorbs and stores billions of tons of carbon, thus maintaining global temperatures.

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FAQs on Amazon Rainforest

Q1. Where is Amazon forest located?

Amazon Rainforest is located in the South American continent, in the Amazon biome. The Amazon rainforest covers a significant part of the Amazon basin, and is part of nine different nations, including Brazil, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Columbia, Venezuela, Guyana, Suriname, and French Guiana.

Q2. What is the total area of the Amazon Rainforest?

The total area of the Amazon rainforest is 5,500,000 square kilometers. The major part of the forest is located in Brazil (60%), while other nations also share the Amazon rainforest. Peru has 13% of the forest while Colombia has 10%, and other nations also have a minor amount of forest in their territories.

Q3. Why is the Amazon Rainforest called the "lungs of the planet"?

Amazon Rainforest is called the "lungs of the planet" because it absorbs and stores 90-140 billion tons of carbon. However, in 2019, it produced more greenhouse gases than it absorbed. This is because of the ongoing climate crisis and the threat of deforestation that the Amazon forest faces.

Q4. In which countries is the Amazon Rainforest situated?

Amazon Rainforest is spread across nine countries in the South American continent. The nine countries that share parts of the Amazon forest include Brazil, Peru, Bolivia, Columbia, Venezuela, Guyana, Suriname, French Guiana, and Ecuador.