The rainforest

A green sea of ferns, mosses, vines and ancient trees. Iridescent butterflies and colorful birds. Flowers in every hue of the rainbow. The “green lung” is a natural wonder of the world. Find out more about the world’s most diverse, fascinating and threatened ecosystem.

The tropical rainforest is an eternally green band that spans the Earth at the equator. Its climate preconditions – high temperatures and at least two thousand liters of rain per square meter per year – have given rise to perhaps the most remarkable ecosystem on the planet in the Amazon, Congo Basin and Southeast Asia.

The rainforest is also the world’s most diverse habitat. Covering no more than five percent of the planet’s land area, tropical rainforests are home to half of all animal and plant species. Yet this rich heritage is in jeopardy. The forests are being cleared – mainly by timber, palm oil, soybean and mining companies – and with each tree felled, we lose a bit of biodiversity. 

More than half of the planet’s rainforests have already been cleared, and further areas have suffered grave damage or have been fragmented into many small islands of forest. Every one of the forest giants is the habitat of hundreds of further plant and animal species, and when a tree is cut down, its inhabitants also perish. Every human intervention further upsets the delicate interdependence of plants and animals.

Despite lip service and efforts to the contrary, the pace of rainforest destruction has not slowed. Around 10.4 million hectares – and of that total, 6.3 million hectares of primary forest – are still disappearing every year. The forest, with its biodiversity and intricate interdependencies of its inhabitants, is more threatened than ever.

Find out more about this natural environment and why it is so worthy of protection on the pages below. We need your help in preserving the last rainforests!

Related action alerts

Your signature can make a real difference. Our petitions expose destructive projects and name the perpetrators. Together we can have an even greater impact!

An indigenous woman adorned with a feathered crown in front of two other indigenous people Protest march by indigenous people in the capital, Brasilia (© Apib Comunicação - CC BY-SA 2.0)

104,349 supporters

Brazil: Stop Bolsonaro's new assault on the Amazon rainforest!

Brazil's President Bolsonaro wants to open up indigenous territories for mining and hydropower projects. A quarter of the Amazon rainforest – an area nearly five times the size of the UK or three times that of California – is at stake. Bolsonaro is using the war in Ukraine and a shortage of potash fertilizer as a pretext.

More information

To: the Brazilian parliament (Chamber of Deputies and Federal Senate), Brazilian government, relevant ministries and agencies

“No mining and no hydroelectric plants in indigenous territories: Reject draft law PL 191/2020!”

Read letter