April 26, 2012 | By Julia Dimon; photo editing by Connie Ricca, originally published on Bing Travel
Visit before it's too late: 10 disappearing destinations

Amazon Rainforest, South America



Amazon Rainforest, South America (© © Guido Baviera/SIME/4Corners Images)
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With 20 per cent of the Earth's oxygen originating from the Amazon, it's no wonder some call it the lungs of our planet. The Amazon's 1.4 billion acres of dense forest is a buffet of biodiversity and one of the world's greatest natural resources. Despite the critical role it plays in sustaining the planet, the South American rainforest is being destroyed at an alarming rate. Land is being cleared for cattle ranches, logging, soybean farming and mining. According to the World Wildlife Fund, 55 per cent of the Amazon's rainforest could be gone by 2030 if current deforestation rates continue.

* Tips for staying fit at 9,000 metres

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