South America

Home to the Amazon, the World’s Largest Forest

What's at Stake

Spanning nine South American countries and 7 million sq km (2.7 million square miles), the Amazon is the world’s largest forest and is home to more than 120 indigenous groups and one in 10 known species. One-fifth of all freshwater on the planet originates in the Amazon Basin. Unparalleled in its biodiversity, the Amazon is also critical to global climate stability.

Mining in Peru

Mining in Peru

Photo credit: David Dudenhoefer

The Amazon in Peril

Among the multiple threats to the Amazon rainforest, agricultural expansion is the biggest. Cattle ranching alone accounts for more than 60 percent of deforestation in the Amazon Basin, and industrial farming has also wrought severe destruction. Additionally, urban expansion, mining, petroleum extraction, dams, and irresponsible timber production have all led to a massive loss of forestlands.

farmer walking away from fire in the Amazon

A burning field in the Amazon

Photo credit: Mohsin Kazmi

Deforestation in the Amazon

Humans have razed some 20 percent of the Amazon rainforest over the last 40 years alone, and an additional 20 percent is at risk of being destroyed—a potentially catastrophic loss that would cause this vital ecosystem to unravel. Read our response to the forest fire crisis in the Amazon. 

Our Work

Our Work

Stopping deforestation in the Amazon requires bold, multi-faceted strategies that center indigenous forest communities and support their self-determination. This approach characterizes our work in the Amazon, where we work with a wide range of communities and partners to cultivate a sustainable forest economy.

Our Impact

Our Impact

The most important impact of our work in high-risk regions of the Amazon—self-determination—is not quantifiable. However, we continually gauge the success of our approach by measuring both ecosystem health and the economic and social well-being of our partner communities.

Bagged Brazil nuts

Bagged Brazil nuts

Photo credit: Mohsin Kazmi

A Sustainable, Thriving Forest Economy

After working with the Rainforest Alliance for four years, communities in the Madre de Dios region of the Peruvian Amazon exported more than 4,000 metric tons of shelled Brazil nuts, representing a value of nearly US $31 million.

Land area under sustainable management

18 million acres

under sustainable management in South America

This number includes Rainforest Alliance Certified agricultural land and FSC certified forest land, including land certified by our Brazilian partner, Imaflora. Data accurate as of March 21, 2018.

Our Reach in South America

We're working with forest communities, farmers, governments, and companies to conserve the Amazon Basin and protect its precious biodiversity. Together with our partners, we've brought 18 million acres (7.3 million hectares) under sustainable management.

Learn more ways we are achieving real results.
Get Involved

Get Involved

Join us to help rebalance the earth.

Wamaní community members with compost box - photo by Katy Puga

Learn more about how we advance climate resilience, improved livelihoods, and conservation in communities throughout Latin America.

Caetano Veloso in Floresta da Tijuca, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Photo by Andres Levin / Content-OS

Several of Brazil's most beloved musicians travel into the rainforest to celebrate the natural beauty of our planet.

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