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Amazonian Rainforest

            The Amazon Rainforest: Going Once, Going Twice, Almost Gone.
             The sunlight sporadically pierces through the high, dense canopies, just barely reaching the world below. A beautiful, black leopard lies dormant quietly resting upon the cool ground. The mixed sounds of parrots and monkeys flood the air with the usual symphony of nature. A nearby stream of pure, untouched water trickles into a pool where it empties into a wondrous waterfall of gigantic proportions. Suddenly the peaceful ecosystem erupts with a thunderously loud crack as the age-old forests of the Amazon fall to the destruction of man made machinery at the hands of big business greedy for wealth and expansion. Rain forests of the world are being destroyed at an alarming rate and the Amazon Rainforest is no exception. If such destruction does not end, South America and even worse, planet Earth, will lose not just a rain forest, but also a valuable ecosystem of plant and animal life. .
             Rainforests are the richest, oldest, most productive and complex land ecosystems on this planet. They cover less than two percent of the earth's surface, yet they are home to approximately 50% of all earthly life forms. As renowned biologist Norman Myers states, "Rainforests are the finest celebration of nature ever known on the planet" (Miller). Of these ecosystems, the Amazon is the world's largest tropical rain forest. It covers approximately 2 million square miles in the Amazon River Basin of South America. The country of Brazil is home to nearly two-thirds of this tropical forest while the remainder occupies Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, and Venezuela. The rainforest receives an annual rainfall of 50-175 inches and averages temperatures of about 80 degrees Fahrenheit (Amazon 401). It contains a wider variety of plant and animal life than any other place in the world. Tens of thousands of different plant species, 1,500 species of birds, 3,000 species of fish and up to 30 million different species of insects call the Amazon home (Amazon 402), not to mention the wide variety of alligators, anacondas, monkeys, parrots, sloths, and wild species of cat (Amazon 403).

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