The immensity of Brazil and its rainforests, which cover more than half the total area of the country. A vast, complex and varied eco-system with an amazing array of animal and plant biodiversity. The forest owes its name to the Amazons, the legendary female warriors descended from the god of war, Ares, in the Greek mythological tradition. It was here that the Spanish explorer and conquistador Francisco de Orellana (1511-1546) met, or some say merely heard of, a tribe of female warriors. The tale inspired him to name the mighty river he was exploring the Amazon.

Brazil is the guardian of this huge heritage of humanity, which plays such a vital role in the survival of the whole planet. At the heart of the region flows the Amazon river, the longest river in the world. Together with its tributaries, it is also the largest hydro graphic system in the world by size of basin and volume of water.

But this is a threatened area, in constant danger from ruthless deforestation. Here vast swathes of former forest are being transformed into farming land, and mining companies are constantly prospecting for oil and minerals. But at least the mining companies are legally obliged to make good the environmental damage they do.

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