The Amazon rainforest is home to the 10% of all plant and animal species on the planet Earth. Human-driven deforestation of the Amazon rainforest has been a major concern for decades as the rainforest's impact on the global climate has been measured. Before the arrival of Europeans, indigenous peoples occupied the Amazon basin for thousands of years practicing small sale shifting cultivation, likely in populations much larger than today. There are 670 million ha (1.7 billion acres; 6.7 million km 2; 2.6 million sq mi) of Amazon rainforest. Human activity, such as agriculture and cattle ranching, caused most of the fires across the Amazon rainforest.

Nobre says the Amazon may soon cross a tipping point and begin to self-destruct: Once a certain amount of the rainforest has been destroyed—perhaps 20 to 25 percent—the resulting lower rainfall and longer dry seasons will eventually turn the area into a grassland. Amazon forest and deforestation. More than 20 percent of the world oxygen is produced in the Amazon Rainforest. The Amazon Rainforest has been described as the "Lungs of our Planet" because it provides the essential environmental world service of continuously recyling carbon dioxide into oxygen. Cattle ranching is the largest driver of deforestation in every Amazon country, accounting for 80% of current deforestation rates. Question: What percent of the Amazon rainforest has been destroyed? Amazon rainforest deforestation 'worst in 10 years', says Brazil. Since 1978, an estimated 750,000 square kilometers (289,000 square miles) of rainforest have been destroyed, all thanks to humans. If this trend continues, the Amazon rainforest could disappear within 100 years. Amazon Brazil is home to approximately 200 million head of cattle, and is the largest exporter in the world, supplying about one quarter of the global market. Approximately 20% of the Amazon rainforest has already been destroyed. Large scale forest conversion in the Amazon has only occurred since the 1970’s and 1980’s, together with the growth of Brazil’s economy.

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