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The vast Amazon basin covers more than two and a half million square miles, more than any other rainforest. The Amazon River basin contains one-fifth of the world’s fresh water. Its flow is 12 times that of the Mississippi, with 12 billion liters flowing down the river every minute –enough to supply New York City for 60 years! Daily it pours enough fresh water out into the Atlantic Ocean to supply the entire water needs of the United Kingdom for nearly two years. Its discharge of approximately 210,000 m^3/s exceeds the combined discharge of the world’s nine next largest rivers.
The tropical rain forest that we know as the Amazon covers nearly half of the Brazilian territory and is responsible for supplying over half the planet’s oxygen. The 4,200-mile (6,760 km) river is home to over 2,000 different types of fish, while the surrounding rain forest supports an estimated 1,800 species of birds, 250 different mammals and a similar diversity of animal and insect life. It is responsible for a tenth of the world’s 10 million living species and 30 per cent of all known plant and animal species.  The Amazon River, is the world’s longest, widest, and deepest river. Most of the Basin is covered by tropical rainforest, accounting for more than 56% of all broad leaf forests in the world.

For perspective, the Amazon river basin is two times the size of India.

[Via the Center For Inquiry]