Seasonally flooded forest along the Jau River in Jau National Park in the central Amazon, the second-largest forest reserve in South America, covering an area greater than 2.2 million hectares.
The Amazon is the largest and most diverse rain forest in the world — about 10 percent of all known species on Earth dwell there — but only a few dozen of the Amazon’s thousands of tree species rule the jungle, researchers recently found.
This new analysis can help reveal which Amazon tree species face the most severe threats of extinction and which areas there are most in need of protection, scientists added.
Until now, researchers’ knowledge of the types of trees in the Amazon
and where they were located was based on analyses of regions — the rain forest’s vast expanse made it challenging to survey in its entirety. For instance, scientists didn’t even know the most common tree species in the Amazon.
To help shed light on this giant rain forest’s tree composition, more than 120 scientists catalogued any trees with stems thicker than 3.9 inches (10 centimeters) at 1,170 different locations throughout Amazonia, the 2.3-million-square-mile area (6 million square kilometers) surrounding the Amazon River. They found that approximately 16,000 tree species made up this region.
Read the full story here.