Category Archives: Amazon Environment Teasers – Answers

Answers and links to questions about human impacts in the Amazon environment.

Amazon Environment Teaser #2 – Answer

Question: The Amazon forest biomass is a source for how many tons of carbon?

Answer Choices: A) 5 billion B) 10 billion C) 50 billion D) 100 billion;

Correct Answer: D) 100 billion tons

Summary: The 3,130,386 square miles of total rain forest in the Amazon make up a staggering 54% of the planet’s remaining tropical rain forests. Deforestation accounts for a considerable portion of annual carbon loss from the Amazon. The whole Amazon rain forest biomass contains 100 billion tons of carbon which is the same amount of global fossil-fuel emissions from over a 10 year period. To put this number in perspective, 100 billion tons of rain forest biomass is equivalent to the weight of 500 million Boeing 747 airplanes. Comparatively, all of the tropical rain forests of the world contain 229 billion tons of carbon in their vegetation combined. Today, there has been considerable conversation about increasing carbon emissions worldwide. The Woods Hole Research Center has determined that deforestation in all of the world’s tropical rain forests emitted 1.14 billion tons of carbon per year into the atmosphere and the net carbon loss from deforestation in the Amazon was about 350 million tons per year. This makes Amazonian deforestation account for 30.7% of all global carbon emissions due to tropical deforestation. The potential effects from an increase in Amazonian deforestation on carbon emissions could be extremely significant on a global scale. In the 1980’s the Amazon rain forest was considered a carbon sink, where carbon was accumulated and stored. However, there has been a shift in the Amazon that now classifies it as a carbon source where it is emitting more carbon than it is absorbing. Maintaining the integrity of the Amazon rain forest will need a better understanding of the vulnerability and resilience of the transitioning forest ecosystem.

Source: Eric Davidson et al., “The Amazon basin in transition,” Nature, 19 January 2012.;
A. Baccini et al. “Estimated carbon dioxide emissions from tropical deforestation improved by carbon-density maps.” Nature Climate Change, 29 January 2012;

Amazon Environment Teaser #1 – Answer

Question: Between 1990 and 2000, what was the average rate (mi²/yr.) of total forest area loss in the Amazon?

Answer Choices: A) -5,907 mi²/yr. B) -8,455 mi²/yr. C) -11,008 mi²/yr. D) -13,343 mi²/yr.

Correct Answer: D) -13,343 mi²/yr.

Summary: The World Wildlife Fund predicts that, at current deforestation rates, we could expect to see about 55% of all of the Amazon’s rainforests completely gone by 2030. According to the Forestry Department of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), just over 13,000 square miles of Amazon rainforest was lost per year in the 1990’s. Loss rates are subject to fluctuation due to economic and conservation policies and programs. Many rainforests, like the Amazon, are not managed in accordance with the Forest Principles adopted by the United Nations in 1992. This problem stems from developing countries not having adequate funds and human resources for the implementation and monitoring of these forest management programs. The Amazon rainforests are being demolished for agriculture and cattle ranching, mining projects, road and dam construction, and illegal logging. These activities are being carried out with unsustainable methods stabilizing and possibly increasing the rates of deforestation throughout the region and leading to more and more landscape and river degradation. Climate change has also become a factor in recent decades adding to the many threats that the Amazon faces.

Sources: World Wildlife Fund; Amazon: World’s largest tropical rain forest and river basin;; Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations; Global Forest Resources Assessment 2000;