Amazonia facts

The Amazon Rainforest is a very particular part of our planet, often presented as the lung of Earth, as 20% of our oxygen is produced by its trees. But there are other facts that you should know about it!

The largest rainforest on Earth…

Amazonia facts

Amazonia is the world’s biggest rainforest; larger than the next two largest rainforests combined (the Congo Basin and Indonesia). It is composed by over 390 billion trees of 16 000 different species! Nine countries of South America have a part of their territory covered by this rainforest.

 

… and the greatest river

Amazon facts

The Amazon is the greatest river in the world by so many measures: the volume of the water it carries to the sea (approximately 20% of all the freshwater discharged into the ocean comes from here; more than the next seven largest independent rivers combined), 40% of South America is irrigated by water from Amazon. Finally, the Amazon is one of the wider and longest rivers in the world, approximately 6 5000 Km long.

 

A divine name

Amazonia facts

In 1540, Francisco de Orellana – a Spanish explorer, and conquistador – completed the first known navigation of the entire length of the Amazon River, which initially was named “Rio de Orellana”. During this trip, whilst crossing the Tapuya territory (on the West part of today’s Brazil), the boat was attacked by the Indians. As customary in this tribe, the women of the tribe fought alongside the men. Orellana, impressed by the courage of these women, named them Amazonas, a derivation of the mythological Amazons, from Greek legends.

 

The Amazon river changed its direction

Amazon fact A few thousands of years ago, the Amazon River flowed west-ward instead of east-ward, as it does today. The rise of the Andes caused it to flow into the Atlantic Ocean.

A rich wildlife

Between 2010 and 2013, 441 new florae and animals species were discovered in Amazonia. It’s hard to imagine the diversity of the wildlife there. For instance, more than 2,5 million species of insects live there. Among the famous species, we could mention the Jaguar, the Piranha, the Anaconda, but also the Poison Dart Frog. This little frog (not even 5 cm long) produce a very deadly venom. Each frog contains enough poison to kill 10 humans!

 

A treasure for the humanity

Amazonia facts

25% of pharmaceutical products are made from ingredients from the Amazon rainforest. However, less than 1% of trees and plants have been tested by scientists. Preserving these trees could allow us to find ingredients to cure some deceases.

 

The home of untouched tribes

More than 50 untouched tribes have been counted in Amazonia, mainly in Brazil. However, some parts of the rainforest remain unexplored. Protecting this forest means also protecting these people. We wrote an article about untouched tribes around the World, check it here!

 

A giant in danger

Amazon facts

Around 17% of the Amazon rainforest has been lost in the last 50 years, mostly due to forest conversion for cattle ranching. Deforestation in this region is particularly rampant near more populated areas, roads and rivers, but even remote areas have been encroached upon when valuable mahogany, gold and oil are discovered. Different elements allowed to reduce this danger in the last 10 years (pressure of NGO, new protected areas, recognition of indigenous territory, improved law enforcement). However, the situation is still critical, and a surface equivalent to 7 football fields is deforested every minute.

The destruction of the Amazonia is not unsalvageable; we can all still act to save it. The NGOs WWF and Adventure Life give, for instance, some tips to help protect the Amazon with small daily actions.

 

credit photo: 1, 2, 4: Niel Palmer; 3: Painting from Albert Eckhout, 5,6,8: wikimedia
Reflection pictures

Mirrors, water, lights… Sometimes these elements offer some amazing reflection effects, opening doors on a poetic World. It takes a lot of patience, and a bit of luck for the photographs to capture these temporary moments, but the result is worthy. Enjoy some reflection pictures taken around the World.

Glacier National Park, Canada

New York City, USA

Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia

London, United Kingdom

Barri Gòtic, Barcelona, Spain

Eiffel Tower, Paris, France

Windmills, Netherlands

Sunndal, Norway

Devil’s Bridge, Saxony, Germany

Istanbul, Turkey

Taj Mahal, India

Mount Fuji, Japan

Quite impressing, no? Any places in the World that you would like to see captured through a reflection game?

Indigenous tribes

Before they pass away, an artistic and human project

During three years, the photojournalist Jimmy Nelson traveled around the World with the project of photographing different indigenous tribes. From the Huli in Papua New Guinea to the Chinchas in Peru, including the Chukchis in Russia and the Banna in Ethiopia, the photograph immortalized around 40 tribes in their traditional costumes.

The goal of this artistic project named Before they pass away is to capture, celebrate cultural diversity, but also to draw the attention of the World on these indigenous tribes whose are threatened, among other things, by the extension of our “modern” lifestyles.

The United Nations has issued a Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. This declaration allows promoting and defend the collective rights of indigenous people, such as culture, identity, language, and access to employment, health, education, and natural resources. Estimates put the total population of indigenous peoples from 220 million to 350 million

Worried about presenting these tribes in an “aesthetic, romantic, subjective and iconographic” way, Jimmy Nelson took some amazing pictures, real testimonial of the traditions and habits encountered. These pictures, full of emotion, deliver a strong message of tolerance, open-mindedness, and universalism. Find below some of the indigenous tribes met by Jimmy Nelson.

Ni Yakal villagers, Vanuatu

Huli Wigmen, Papua New Guinea

Goroka man, Papua New Guinea

Yali men and boys, Indonesia

Miao childs, China

Kazakh hunter, Mongolia

Chukchi woman and her daughter, Russia

Ladakhi girls, India

Samburu young men, Kenya

Banna young men, Ethiopia

Himba woman, Namibia

Chincha family, Peru

 

You can find more pictures and information about the Before they pass away exhibitions, on the website Before they pass away.

You can also contribute to this amazing project by supporting the Jimmy Nelson foundation. The foundation is also looking for projects that would help to celebrate indigenous tribes and culture. If you have some ideas, sharing them could be for you the opportunity to join this amazing human adventure.

 

First ever aerial footage from uncontacted Amazon Tribe

There are, around the World, more than 100 uncontacted tribes. Most of them live in South America or in Papua New Guinea.
Some of them see today their existing threatening by the deforestation and the development of industrial activities.

The anthropologist José Carlos Morales fought for the recognition of the right to exist to some of these tribes living in South America. Located in the heart of the Amazon forest, – an area rich in resources – it is easier for some Governments to deny the existence of these tribes and then harvest their lands for their profits, even if this endangers the life of the local tribes.

Protecting these tribes, fully-fledged member of the humankind, without destabilizing their lifestyle is a real challenge.
The aerial footage could provide significant evidence of the existence of these tribes, without interfering with their life.

The video below is the first ever aerial footage of an Amazonian Indian tribe.

The organization Survival International is a global movement fighting for the recognition of tribal peoples’ right. Don’t hesitate to have a look at their website.

Interested in articles related to South America? Find here some travel moments experienced on this continent!