The Human Impact
Illustration by Fernando Gomez-Baptista
Known for its lush forestry, exotic animals, and indigenous cultures, the Amazon rain forest remains a richly interdependent hub of biodiversity. Today, the Amazon faces a myriad of challenges presented by the increasing anthropogenic demand for its many natural resources. The various map supplements highlight this intricate relationship between humans and the natural environment of the Amazon rain forest, and encourage decision-making practices rooted in conservation efforts.
Together, this collection of activities, case studies, and interactive maps provides students with a holistic picture of the current state of the Amazon rain forest, and raises awareness about the short- and long-term impacts of human activity on it's biodiversity. The National Geographic Society supports education as a vital component in conservation. By engaging with these resources, students will acquire integrated and innovative skills to become capable decision-makers, able to identify alternative solutions and weigh tradeoffs to make well-reasoned decisions.
Lesson and Activities
Exploring the Relationship between Human Activity and Habitat Loss in the Amazon
Activity (Grades 6-8) How will the construction of a transcontinental railroad through the Amazon rain forest affect the ecosystem and indigenous territories? This activity is also available in Spanish and Portuguese.
Exploring the Tradeoffs between Accessing Resources and Protecting the Amazon Rain Forest
Activity (Grades 6-8) What are the consequences of accessing valuable resources in the Amazon rain forest? This activity is also available in Spanish and Portuguese.
Local and Global Effects of Deforestation in the Amazon Rain Forest
Activity (Grades 6-8) How does deforestation in the Amazon rain forest affect the water cycle, nutrient cycle, and plant and animal life? This activity is also available in Spanish and Portuguese.
Protecting Biodiversity in the Amazon Rain Forest
Activity (Grades 6-8) Why is biodiversity important? Why is it critical to protect biodiversity in the Amazon rain forest?
Taking a Position on Human Activity in the Amazon Rain Forest
Activity (Grades 6-8) Can the countries within the Amazon Basin develop their rich natural resources without causing irreparable damage to the environment?
Making a Decision about Building a Road in the Amazon
Lesson (Grades 9-12) Who will be affected by building a road in the Amazon?
Profiles of Amazon Experts
Ask an Amazon Expert: What It Will Take to Stop Wildlife Trafficking
National Geographic sits down with conservation biologist Juliana Machado Ferreira.
Ask an Amazon Expert: Why We Can't Afford to Lose the Rain Forest
National Geographic catches up with biodiversity expert and explorer Dr. Thomas Lovejoy.
Development is the process of growth, or changing from one condition to another. In economics, development is change from a traditional economy to one based on technology.
Climate change is a long-term shift in global or regional climate patterns. Often climate change refers specifically to the rise in global temperatures from the mid 20th century to present.
An ecosystem is a geographic area where plants, animals, and other organisms, as well as weather and landscapes, work together to form a bubble of life.
Amazonia: Vital and Fragile
This National Geographic Magazine infrographic depicts the three main types of rain forest ecosystems that can be found in Amazonia.
Biodiversity of the Amazon
Use MapMaker Interactive to explore the biodiversity of the Amazon rain forest with your students.
Explore the Amazon
Case Study: The Amazonian Road Decision
(Case Study) Explore the conflict and stakeholders surrounding the proposed Pucallpa-Cruzerio do Sul road, which would connect interior communities of the Brazilian Amazon with export markets in Peru's urban centers, but could lead to further deforestation or displacement of local indigenous peoples.
Creating Social Change in the Peruvian Amazon
(Article) Minga Peru, an NGO and National Geographic Grantee, serves the remote, indigenous populations living in the Loreto region of Peru's Amazon River basin with a radio program Bienvenida Salud and leadership training opportunities.
Amazon Deforestation and Climate Change
(Video) The Amazon rain forest faces destruction as society expands and progresses, Dr. Antonia Nombre and Gisele Bundchen discuss the impacts of deforestation in Brazil.