Logging activites are the biggest destroyer of South American forests, but mining, energy exploration, and road building are also major threats.
The main sources of deforestation in the Amazon are human settlement and development of the land.
Many environmentalists are concerned about loss of biodiversity, and the release of the carbon contained within the vegetation, which could accelerate global warming.
In 2005, parts of the Amazon basin experienced the worst drought in one hundred years.
Scientists say that the forest is on the brink of being turned into savanna or desert, with catastrophic consequences for the world’s climate.