The Amazon Rainforest and its river basin cover a vast swath of the northern portion of South America. Several countries have some portion of this largest rainforest in the world within their boundaries. The countries that have jurisdiction over parts of the rainforest play important roles in the protection of this natural resource and its future.
The Amazon Rainforest lies along the Amazon River and covers almost 40% of the land in South America or 2.7 million square miles.
This biome plays a vital part in the global diversity of flora and fauna. One in ten global species calls this rainforest home. Plus, half of the globe's remaining rainforested areas lie within the Amazon basin.
The rainforests also help mitigate the human impacts of climate change. By capturing up to 200 billion tons of carbon, rainforests reduce carbon that reaches the atmosphere and causes climate disruptions.
Eight countries and one territory hold parts of the Amazon Rainforest. The countries are Brazil, Suriname, Guyana, Venezuela, Colombia, Peru, Bolivia, and Ecuador. France runs French Guiana as a territory of its nation. Hence, some statistics don't count French Guiana among the independent countries that have parts of the Amazon Rainforest in them.
Of the eight countries and one territory, the majority of the Amazon lies within the borders of Brazil. This country holds 60% of the Amazon Rainforest.
Due to the large amount of rainforest within its borders, the leadership of Brazil has played a role in the land use of the Amazon basin. For example, President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva ran on a campaign of reducing deforestation. During his presidency, deforestation rates decreased by 42%. The president before him, however, encouraged land clearing of the rainforest to enhance the economy.
The leadership of the country with the greatest area of the Amazon Rainforest makes a difference in the health of a large part of this biome. However, the leaders in other Amazon countries also matter.
The countries that have the Amazon Rainforest within their boundaries are important because those nations' policies can steer the future of that biome. In August 2023, those eight countries banded together to create a conservation agreement.
The Belem Declaration sought to unite the countries in the fight against the deforestation of the Amazon Rainforest. Land grabs, lumbering, and agricultural planting have led to people cutting down large portions of the rainforest over the years. Razing the trees has led to a loss of 17% of the Amazon with even more area severely damaged by human activity.
By bringing the Amazon Rainforest countries together for the Belem Declaration, the nations have a clear blueprint for protecting the rainforest and preserving more of it for future generations.