In light of the recent rise in Amazon conservation and volunteer projects – including luxury eco-lodges and a general awareness of issues facing the Amazon Rainforest – we decided to take a step back and look at the facts, figures and some of threats which affect this, the world’s greatest, most varied wilderness.
Covering an area of over 5.5 million sq km, home to over 40,000 plant varieties, nearly 1,500 bird species, 430 different mammals and over 2.5 million types of insect, there is no denying the biodiversity of the Amazon; no surprise given that it’s the largest expanse of jungle on the planet. Such a melting pot of habitats and animals, across mile upon mile of subtly changing though complementary ecosystems, help to make the rainforest an endless source of both scientific intrigue, and touristic attraction.
On top of this, the Amazon is the home of several hundred native tribes who still inhabit these lands, some of which have never had contact with the outside world, others who welcome visitors with open arms, giving the Amazon Rainforest a reputation for being endlessly fascinating and varied all at the same time. In part, the revolution has been fuelled by an increased number of fantastic eco-lodges, jungle tours and Amazon cruises – such as the superb Delfin and Anakonda vessels – helping to spread awareness as well as providing real, once in a lifetime experiences along the way!
So, for anyone seeking a little extra comfort in between intrepid excursions, wildlife walks and sunset boat rides, opt for one of the highly regarded, sustainable and luxurious lodges or cruises to be found in Peru, Ecuador, Colombia and Brazil. The beauty of this rise in explorative travel is that not only do you, the traveller, have access to unforgettable experiences, quality guides and unique Amazonian cuisine, but – so long as the environment itself continues to be respected – visitors to the Amazon Rainforest leave educated and in touch with this fragile place, which can only be a good thing. On top of that, tourism boosts the economy of each country that the rainforest touches; Brazil, Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, Venezuela, Guyana, Suriname and French Guiana, meaning that the industry and therefore the rainforest has become a commodity, one which is in everyone’s best interests to preserve.
There are, however, severe challenges facing the Amazon Rainforest, from poachers to illegal loggers, cattle ranching and development, with many conservation projects aimed at protecting this essential, life-giving region of the world. Worryingly, nearly 80 million acres of the Amazon Rainforest are destroyed each year and estimates suggest that over 750,000sq km of jungle has been lost since the late 1970’s which, given the region produces 20% of all the world’s oxygen, simply cannot be overlooked. In addition, countless species are killed, driven from their native habitat or lost forever during the process of deforestation, causing an unbalance in the ecosystem at best or complete extinction at worst.
That said, with adversity comes hope, in the form of multiple conservation and voluntary projects, community engagement initiatives and sustainable practices across South America. More and more of the jungle is falling under the watchful eye of organisations, campaigners and the government, who seek to create new, protected spaces; in January 2018, for example, a huge portion of the forest in Loreto, Peru, was identified as part of the brand new Yaguas National Park, which will protect millions of acres of delicate ecosystems.
Overall, the more that is known about the Amazon Rainforest the better; the more people who visit and love this unique highlight of South America the greater their influence; and, with luck, the broader the scope for both Amazon conservation and protection. This means that wildlife can thrive, and travellers can continue to visit for many generations to come.
Interested in an eco-friendly experience in the Amazon? Build your Amazon trip with Discover Your South America and choose from our selection of eco-friendly jungle lodges and cruises. Check out Peru, Ecuador or Colombia online or contact our travel team to find out about tours in the Brazilian Amazon; call 1 866 978 7398 (US/Canada) or 080 8189 0438 (UK) today!