- Amazon Basin
- /æməzən ˈbeɪsən/ (say amuhzuhn 'baysuhn)
the vast area of land drained by the Amazon River and its tributaries, covering about seven million km2 within nine countries, the major part of which consists of moist broadleaf forest (the Amazon rainforest).
The Amazon Basin contains the largest rainforest area in the world, with almost one sixth of the world's broadleaf forests. Some 60 per cent of the Basin's rainforest is in Brazil, where it makes up almost half of that country. It is an area of remarkable biodiversity with many areas still unexplored. The Amazon contains the world's largest river basin and one-fifth of the world's fresh water. Its rainforest is home to 10 per cent of all known species on earth and claims the highest plant diversity on earth. It is also one of the world's most important carbon sinks. The rainforest remained relatively intact until the 1970s, when construction of roads through it by the Brazilian government made it more accessible to farmers (mainly for cattle-raising and soybean cultivation), leading to intense and ongoing deforestation, usually by burning; it is also logged. Rainforests do not regenerate easily; most of the global rainforest lost annually is in the Amazon Basin.
Australian English dictionary. 2014.