Skip to Content

The Swallowing Of The Amazon: How Long Until It’s Gone?

The Swallowing Of The Amazon: How Long Until It’s Gone?

The Amazon rainforest is disappearing at a staggering rate—with almost a fifth already deforested, how much longer can we expect this beautiful natural wonder to last? Find out the cause of the problem and whether it’s too late to save the world’s largest rainforest.

Just How Big is it?

Image Credit: Shutterstock / Panga Media

The Amazon rainforest covers most of the Amazon basin in South America and is around 2.1 million square miles. It spans Brazil, Peru, Colombia, Bolivia, Ecuador, French Guiana, Guyana, Suriname, and Venezuela.

A Home to Many

Image Credit: Shutterstock / FotoRequest

This massive ecosystem currently accounts for about 50% of the planet’s rainforest and is home to an estimated 390 billion trees across 16,000 different species. 

Not Just Trees

Image Credit: Shutterstock / MarcusVDT

There are thought to be 2.5 million species of insect, plus mammals, fish, birds, reptiles and amphibians.


Image Credit: Shutterstock / Rich Carey

About 10,000 acres of the Amazon are lost daily, primarily in Brazil, which contains 60% of the rainforest. 

Why is This Happening?

Image Credit: Shutterstock / Savo Ilic

Humans cutting down trees to create land for development for other uses, such as cattle farming, is one of the main reasons.

Profit Before Nature

Image Credit: Shutterstock / lovelyday12

The Brazilian government was encouraging its citizens to use the land for farming purposes. The high cost of beef makes it far more profitable than leaving nature to its own devices. 

Other Uses

Image Credit: Shutterstock / pan demin

Soy farming and oil drilling are also increasing in areas that were previously rainforests.

The Tipping Point

Image Credit: Shutterstock / qualtaghvisuals

The nature of rainforest is such that the trees absorb water from the ground which then becomes the forest’s own rain – known as a moisture cycle. Cutting down trees creates an imbalance in the cycle. Scientists predict the cycle will no longer sustain itself when we reach 20-25% of the Amazon’s original size, effectively killing this massive ecosystem.

Close to the Edge

Image Credit: Shutterstock / Rich Carey

So, how close are we to reaching the worrisome 20-25% tipping point? Figures vary slightly, but the consensus is that around 17% of the forest has already been lost or destroyed. The critical point of no return looms large.

The Final Countdown

Image Credit: Shutterstock / Thammachak Sotiya predicts that, if current rates continue, the planet will be entirely without rainforests by the year 2100.

What Happens Next?

Image Credit: Shutterstock / Piyaset

If the tipping point becomes a reality, what does it actually mean for the rainforest? We can expect to see a dry savanna in its place. Billions of trees will die, and the animals that call the forest home will be displaced—likely with many species becoming extinct.

How Can It Be Stopped?

Image Credit: Shutterstock / Gustavo Frazao

One key answer to saving the forest is Brazil. 23% of the Brazilian Amazon is currently protected against deforestation thanks to being indigenous land. However, that still means 46% of the whole Amazon is in Brazil and vulnerable to development, which was actively encouraged by the government until this year. 

Save the Forest

Image Credit: Shutterstock / William Edge

One key suggestion to save the forest while compromising with farming needs is called silvopasture. This is the practice of integrating trees with pasture, allowing farmers to use the land for cattle without wiping out 100% of the trees.


Image Credit: Shutterstock / Microgen

Countries, including the United States, are looking to introduce sanctions to crack down on “environmental criminals” to protect the Amazon, according to reported last year that Brazil was offering protection of the Amazon in return for trade advantages with the EU.

A New Leader

Image Credit: Shutterstock / Marcelo Chello

Given Brazil’s critical role in saving the Amazon, it is good news to many that President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, in office since January 1, 2024, has pledged to reduce deforestation by 82%. This comes as a dramatic change from far-right former President Jarir Bolsonaro.

Forest Fires

Image Credit: Shutterstock / M. Federico

During Bolsonaro’s presidency, his stance of being very much pro-exploitation of the forest saw a significant increase in forest fires. During his time in office, an area of forest larger than Belgium was lost. The fires aren’t naturally occurring but are set after deforestation.

A Carbon Footprint

Image Credit: Shutterstock / AustralianCamera

These forest fires mean that the Amazon actually produces more carbon than it absorbs. Historically, the Amazon has always been a crucial carbon absorber, helping fight climate change.

Indigenous Peoples

Image Credit: Shutterstock / Hans Denis Schneider

Thankfully, indigenous territories are protected, and around 3,300 are formally acknowledged in the Amazon. However, indigenous people make up only 9% of the 30 million people living in the Amazon.

A Bleak Future

Image Credit: Shutterstock / Gorodenkoff

Without dramatic, urgent changes, scientists and environmentalists fear for the Amazon’s future.  The time for change really is now.

More From The Green Voyage

Top 10 Trending Travel Destinations 2024

6 Essential Banking Apps for International Travel – Managing Your Finances on the Go

Traveling With Kids – 10 Tips to Create Memorable Family Holidays

The post The Swallowing Of The Amazon: How Long Until It’s Gone? first appeared on The Green Voyage.

Featured Image Credit: Shutterstock / PARALAXIS.

Related posts:

Manhattanhenge in NYC
Professor Dituri Spends 100 Days Underwater - Did He Reverse Aging?
April 8th Solar Eclipse - Why the US Is the Prime Spot for This Celestial Spectacle
The Cruelty Behind Elephant Rides - Why They Should Be Removed From Your Travel Bucket List
New York’s $2.4 Billion Plan: Transforming Urban Travel Amid Growing Migrant Influence
The Cost of Magic - Walt Disney World Ticket Prices Increase for 2025
Almost $500,000 for Michelin Star Meals in the Stratosphere - Space Travel Company to Offer Unique E...
Facial Recognition Takes Flight - Examining Security and Privacy at Alabama Airports
Grounded: The Plane Shortage That's Stranding Americans
Go Home: The Cities Rejecting Tourists
17 Travel Trends That Will Take You Off the Beaten Path in 2024
Tourism Cares Takes Flight - Expanding the Meaningful Travel Program for a Sustainable Future
The Rising Interest in NAD+ Therapy for Wellness
Kyoto's Gion District - Balancing Tourism with Tradition
"National Geographic Bucket List Family Travel" - A Guide to Globetrotting with Kids
Exploring the World with TikTok: Gen Z's Travel Guru (Despite Uncertainties)
U.S. Travel Competitiveness Slips - Study Ranks Country Near Last
Americans Can No Longer Pay Their Way Into Spain
Spring Break Season - Tips for Navigating Miami International Airport's Busiest Season Ever
How Taylor Swift Fans Are Fueling the Rise of "Gig-Tripping"
The Constant Build of Sagrada Familia – Is There Finally an End in Sight?
Travel Insurance Has Become Something Many Feel is a Necessary Protection Rather Than Extra Expense
Kruger Shalati - A Stationary Journey into the Heart of the Wild
New York's $100 Million Museum Makeover: Worth It or Waste?
Washington, D.C.’s Cherry Blossoms - Anticipated Peak Bloom in 2024
Beyond the Bucket List - American Express Report Shoes Experiential Travel Boom
The Migrant Crisis Hitting New York
$1.7 Million Ticket - The Record-Breaking Cruise of a Lifetime!
Nashville: 21 Must-See Attractions and Activities
The Venice Simplon-Orient-Express - A New Journey from Paris to Portofino