Economic Importance of the Amazon River
The Amazon River is the second largest in the world. Found in South America, the river is 4,200 km long and holds a fifth of the whole world’s fresh water. Experts state that the Amazon flows at more than ten times the speed of the Mississippi river and every minute 12 billion liters of water flow in this river.
There are many benefits that the Amazon River offers the people who live around it. Amongst the key economic gains from this river include:
- Fishing activities. The Amazon River has over 1,500 species of fish and some of these are harvested for trade purposes. These include the cat fish, turtles and other rare species of fish which are found in this fresh water river. These fish species are usually traded within the Amazon basin or outside to hotels and other traders in search of rare fish species.
- Trade channels. The governments of countries such as Brazil, Colombia, Peru, Ecuador and Bolivia have constructed transport systems especially roads around the Amazon River area to facilitate development projects and trade within these areas.
- The Amazon River has thousands of species of flora and fauna, most of which are exotic and rare. This has attracted several tourists to the area who come in search of adventure as well as research. These tourists come to see fish, animals, plants, flowers, insects and different species of living organisms. This has generated revenue for countries which are visited with Brazil reaping the most benefits.
- Mining and energy. Since the discovery of gold along the Amazon River in the 1980s, there have been several miners migrating into the area surrounding the river. Apart from gold, among the major minerals being mined includes bauxite. Research shows that 15% of bauxite in the world originates from the Amazon River basin. Other minerals include iron, steel, tin, nickel, manganese and copper. Additionally, the Amazon River is also known for hydro energy. Many companies are settling within the area in order to exploit the high potential of hydroelectric power supply.
- The Amazon River is surrounded by tropical rainforests which have a huge variety of trees. Some of the trees that have attracted several developers are the mahoganies which are usually harvested for their popularity in building furniture. The rubber trees in the rain forest are also very popular because of their high quality rubber products. There are also rose woods, Tonka bean woods and other scented trees that are used in making perfumes and other scented products. Lumbering is thus a popular economic activity along the Amazon River.
- A lot of land along the Amazon River has been turned to commercial farming purposes. This is because there are parts of the river basin which are highly fertile. Some of the crops that are grown on large scale are soybeans and corn. These are actually sold locally and exported. Farming of rice, manioc and other crops is also very popular.
Unfortunately, there have also been illegal economic activities within the Amazon River basin. For instance, illegal extraction of cocaine from the coca trees is one of the most lucrative economic activities that go on along the banks of river Amazon.
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