You will never find a second place like the Amazon Rainforest. Amazon is a mysterious combination between biodiversity and multiculturalism, the inspiration of many scientists, explorers, and even writers. This mystery brings countless surprises and a lot of fun. In this article, we’re going to share with you 7 of the most impressive facts about the Amazon Rainforest to help you better understand this magical place.
The Origin Of The Name “Amazon”
The name “Amazon Rainforest” originates from the word “Rio Amazonas” – a mythical name associated with the mighty Greek female warriors. The name was given to the rainforest by a Spanish explorer named Francisco de Orellana, after a confrontation between him and a group of native long-haired warriors.
The attack happened during his exploration of the rainforest in the 16th century. He wasn’t sure whether the warriors were women or men with long hair, but it was assumed that those warriors were a tribe of female warriors named the Icamiabas, or ‘women without husbands’. These warriors reminded the explorer of the Greek myth of Amazonas, and he decided to name the rainforest “Amazon”.
The Amazon River Is The World’s Largest River In Terms Of Volume
The Amazon River has about over 1100 tributaries, and 17 of them are 1000 miles (1609 kilometers) or longer. It contains 20% of the Earth’s freshwater, and its recorded average discharge is about 219,000 cubic meters per second. In case you didn’t know, 55 million gallons of water are pumped into the Atlantic every second, which is an incredible number. These make the Amazon River the largest river in the world by volume.
And not only is it the world’s largest river by volume, but the Amazon river is also possibly the longest river in the world. According to the latest research conducted by Brazilian scientists, the river actually starts from a snowy mountain in southern Peru. With this finding, the total length of the Amazon river has been extended to about 4225 miles (6800 kilometers), about 65 miles (105 kilometers) longer than the Nile. However, there are several factors that can affect the results of the study, leaving the exact length of the Amazon river a matter of controversy.
The Amazon Rainforest Contains 10% Of All The World’s Wildlife
Known as the world’s largest rainforest, no surprise that the Amazon is full of diverse flora and fauna. 10% of the world’s wildlife can be found in the Amazon, and what is more interesting is that on average, some new species are discovered there every 3 days.
Specifically, scientists estimate that there are approximately 40,000 plant species (16,000 of them are native), 3,000 fish species, 2,200 bird species (a fifth of all bird species in the world), 430 species of mammals, and 2.5 million different types of insects. It’s like we have a little earth in the Amazon.
Much Of The World’s Food And Medicine Originally Come From The Amazon Rainforest
With such species diversity, the fact that the Amazon Rainforest is the source of most food and medicine in the world is understandable. Over 80% of the world’s food is originally from the Amazon, including coffee. There are in fact more than 3,000 kinds of fruits in the Amazon, but only about 200 of them are currently consumed.
In terms of medicine, the Amazon Rainforest provides medical ingredients to make about 25% of all modern pharmaceuticals. And you know what, those ingredients are just 1% of all plant species in the Amazon Rainforest. The rest have not been tested for medicinal properties just yet. Once they are tested, there will definitely be more Amazonian ingredients used to make pharmaceuticals in the future.
There Are More People Living There Than You Think
Although described as a wild, dangerous place, the Amazon Rainforest is actually the home of approximately 21 million people. This number is approximately equal to the combined population of New York, LA, and London. This is such a staggering number.
They are from 350 different indigenous groups and tribes, and about 50 of these groups/tribes are in remote areas with almost no contact with modern civilization. There are about 300 indigenous languages used by the Amazons, so if you want to communicate with them all, prepare to be a linguist.
The Amazon Is Not Really The Lungs Of The Earth
With an estimated 400 billion trees, the Amazon Rainforest is indeed one of the Earth’s major carbon stores and oxygen generators. 20% of the world’s oxygen each day is generated by the Amazon Rainforest. This number is indeed very impressive compared to any other ecosystem. This is one of the main reasons why we call the Amazon “the green lungs of the Earth”.
However, in reality, the Amazon Rainforest is not really the lungs of the Earth. Despite producing a lot of oxygen, the Amazon also puts out the same amount of CO2 at night due to respiration. In fact, the oxygen we breathe is mainly from microorganisms throughout the world’s oceans.
The Rainforest Is Disappearing Rapidly Before Our Eyes
This situation has been going on for a while, and it doesn’t look like it will stop any time soon. 70% of deforestation in the Amazon is caused by cattle ranching and agriculture, construction, illegal logging, and mining. It’s estimated that the Amazon Rainforest loses an area equal to the combined area of 5 football fields every minute, which is really bad. Why? Because according to Amazon Conservation, the current deforestation level of the Amazon Rainforest is already about 17%. If this situation continues, the deforestation level will soon exceed the tipping point (20-25%), causing the forest to lose its ability to sustain itself and soon turn into a dry grassland.
We Cannot Live Without It
There is still a lot to be said, but the above facts about the Amazon Rainforest are somewhat enough to highlight how important it is to human life. Better late than never, a lot of large-scale reforestation projects have been put into practice with the aim of fighting climate change and keeping the Amazon rainforest forever green. However, such a great mission requires a lot more than just the efforts of organizations.
Tenere is working with many reforestation organizations such as 8 Billion Trees, One Tree Planted, etc. to contribute as much as possible to this mission. You can also be a part of the journey by shopping with Tenere, and we will help you plant trees with your purchases. This beautiful planet needs your small actions.