Deforestation in the Amazon rainforest surrounding the Uru-eu-wau-wau Indigenous Land.
Andre Rib / WWF-Brazil


The Amazon is reaching a critical tipping point. 

Will you help end the destruction?

Choose a one-off payment

Your money could go further if you pay by Direct Debit: this supports our long-term planning and helps to keep our administration costs down.

Prefer a monthly amount ?

Will you join the Guardians and protect this vital biome?

WWF Guardians are a group of loyal and generous supporters who each year help fund a specific and vital area of work with a minimum donation of £1,000.

Over the years, WWF Guardians have been instrumental in helping protect disappearing habitats, fragile ecosystems and endangered species.

Join the Guardians today and you’ll play a crucial role in tackling some of the biggest challenges we face. You’ll receive exclusive updates on how the work you support is progressing and invites to special events and talks around the country. 

There’s nowhere quite like the immense and incredible Amazon

A gift from nature, it breathes in harmful carbon and exhales oxygen, while playing a critical role in maintaining the world’s climate and water systems and supporting all kinds of incredible life.

Yet decades of rampant deforestation and river pollution caused by land-use change, agricultural and livestock production, illegal gold mining and land grabbing are pushing the Amazon to an irreversible tipping point.

The pressures are huge, and we’re getting closer to losing one of the most vitally important places on Earth. 

But it’s not too late. Together, we can help change a catastrophic tipping point into a transformational turning point for people, wildlife, and our planet. 

Panoramic view of canopy of Amazon rainforest with lush green leaves
Black and white image of deforestation next to standing forest in the Amazon

Amazing amazon

  • The Amazon plays a critical role in maintaining the Earth’s climate system, by lowering land surface temperatures and generating rainfall. 

  • Although it occupies less than one percent of the Earth’s land surface, the Amazon contains almost 10% of the Earth’s biodiversity. 

  • 200 billion tons of carbon are stored in the Amazon’s soils and vegetation.

  • The Amazon contains 20% of the world’s liquid freshwater.

Jaguar lying down in tree looking at camera, Pantanal, Brazil


Nature has issued a very clear warning. The Amazon’s vital signs are failing. This globally important biome is hurtling towards a critical tipping point, and we need to act now to help protect it. 

Unique, immense, and astonishing, the Amazon is a vast treasure trove of natural environments brimming with all kinds of incredible life. Its verdant river basin contains the largest rainforest on Earth – home to remarkable wildlife such as jaguars, spider monkeys, sloths, bush-tailed opossums, and brightly coloured macaws.  

Spanning eight countries and one overseas territory, this huge region is also home to 47 million people, over two million of whom are Indigenous peoples from more than 500 distinct groups. They are the long-term guardians of the Amazon, who have lived in harmony with the environment for generations. 

Portrait of Txai Surui
© Mboakara Uru-eu-wau-wau / WWF-Brazil

“Maybe when we draw the last river, maybe when we cut the last tree, maybe then we will realise the importance of nature. The importance of the forest.”

Txai Suruí, Indigenous and environmental youth activist, member of WWF-Brazil’s board of trustees 

Rainforests Ransacked

Amazon rainforest being burned

Decades of deforestation and degradation have severely impacted the rainforest, mainly driven by cattle ranching and large-scale agriculture, including soy production for animal feed.   Burning areas to grow crops and create pasture have also piled on the pressure.


rivers polluted

Aerial shot showing dried river in Amazon

Illegal gold mining is an increasing problem in the Amazon, fuelling deforestation, violence, and land grabbing across both protected and Indigenous lands.

climate chaos

Since 2010, the Amazon has experienced its warmest years on record, affecting the biome’s terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems and magnifying the impact of other threats such as forest fires.  Our studies show that a third of Amazon species will be at threat of local extinction if temperatures continue to reach extremes.

Since the late 1990s, the Amazon has experienced at least four major droughts and last year’s was the worst on record.

Latest figures show that at least 330 river dolphins died in 2023 in the state of Amazonas with a loss of 15% of the population in Lake Tefé alone. In some parts of the river, temperatures reached 41°C, and it’s thought that heat stress caused the dolphins to stop eating, preventing them from regulating their body temperatures.  

As degradation continues and the effects of climate change increase, we’re seeing more signs that the Amazon is struggling. The tipping point could be closer than we think.


Decreasing annual rainfall, increasingly long dry seasons, and the percentage of forest loss. These are the three main factors believed to directly contribute to the theoretical tipping point: a threshold beyond which catastrophic and abrupt degradation of the Amazon’s vegetation would become unstoppable. All are linked to both climate change and deforestation and are part of a vicious circle. 

Around 17% of the Amazon’s forest has already been lost and a further 17% is degraded. It’s estimated that destruction of 20-25% could be enough to reach the point of no return, with dramatic local and global consequences. 

Deforestation surrounding the Uru-eu-wau-wau Indigenous lands in the Amazon


The Amazon is facing destruction, disconnection, and degradation on a scale we’ve never seen before, and which could threaten its very survival.  

By supporting crucial work to achieve three big wins, WWF Guardians can help change what could be a potentially catastrophic tipping point into a transformational turning point – protecting the Amazon’s people, wildlife, and our planet. 

There’s a very real risk that if the Amazon loses 20% of its total tree cover, it will stop being able to sustain itself. Instead, it could become a heavily degraded ecosystem that will be unable to recover. 

We’ve already lost around 17% of Amazon tree cover, and we’re seeing other damaging factors pushing the Amazon further towards the point of no return. 

  • Since the early 2000’s, three-quarters of the rainforest has lost its ability to bounce back from disturbance, extreme fires and climate events 

  • In the western part of the Amazon, rainfall has fallen by 20%, deforestation has reached 33% and the dry season is lasting longer. 

  • The growth in mining, including illegal gold mining, is having a devastating impact on the Amazon river basin. Mercury and other pollutants are contaminating its waters and its fish, affecting other species such as river dolphins as well as the health and livelihoods of local communities.  

We’re prioritising three ‘big wins’ that can help secure the Amazon’s future: halting deforestation, ending illegal gold mining, and conserving 80% of the Amazon’s forests, wetlands, and rivers by 2030.  

We know these targets are ambitious, but they are crucial. And with your support, we’re confident we can achieve them.

“If we work together, we can still save the Amazon. If we can maintain a functioning Amazon rainforest, we've got a chance of avoiding dangerous climate change. If we don’t, it's game over. So, the choice is ours.” 

Mike Barrett, Executive Director of Science and Conservation, WWF-UK 


With our partners, including Indigenous peoples and local communities, we’re working to halt deforestation, end illegal gold mining, and conserve 80% of the Amazon’s forests, wetlands, and rivers by 2030.  


The factors driving deforestation in the Amazon are complex, so we’re taking many different approaches – from supporting greener finance schemes to helping ranchers adopt more sustainable practices that leave trees standing.   

Helping businesses go greener 

Over the last decade, many companies have made commitments to take deforestation and land conversion out of their supply chains. We’re giving them the tools to turn commitment into action. 

Raising consumer awareness 

The private sector responds to consumer demand, so we’re also helping to raise public awareness of the links between the products they buy and deforestation. In doing this, we hope to strengthen demand for forest-friendly food.

Improving farming practices 

With our support, ranchers such as Mauro Hilares are embracing regenerative farming techniques that reduce deforestation.

Mauro lives in Madre de Dios, Peru, where cattle ranching is one of the main forms of agriculture. Deforestation here is rife, largely due to intensive grazing practices that strip the soil of nutrients so more areas of forest need to be cleared for pasture. In Madre de Dios alone, over 500 sq km of forest have been converted – destroying and fragmenting wildlife habitats and threatening jaguars and other species. 

Together with our partners, Alliance for Regenerative Livestock in the Peruvian Amazon and UK Partnering for Accelerated Climate Transition, we’re offering training and technical support to help ranchers restore and protect soil health. That way, existing pastureland can continue to be grazed, reducing the need to destroy forested areas. Over 250 ranchers have received training so far, including men, women and children. 

“Regenerative farming has really changed my life. The programme gave me lots of motivation to continue with conservation, because by restoring the environment I think we are going to save our world” 

Mauro Hilares, cattle rancher


The use of mercury in gold mining poses a significant threat to aquatic life and public health. We’re working to keep rivers healthy, protect local communities and key species such as river dolphins, and push for strong legislation to ensure gold is sustainably sourced. 

In Brazil’s Tapajós region, we’re working with our partners and local communities to address the impacts of illegal mining & support local communities

Leila Borari lives in Alter do Chão on the banks of the Tapajós river. Cradling her daughter Rawena, she sadly explains how she suffered a miscarriage after eating fish contaminated with mercury, and how her husband also has mercury poisoning. 

Determined to change things, Leila joined with other Indigenous women to form the Suraras of Tapajós group. Together, they work to oppose violence and racism against Indigenous women, promote acceptance and self-esteem, and contribute to the economic and political empowerment of their communities.  

As well as developing sustainable tourism, the group is mobilising against land grabbing, deforestation and illegal mining along the banks of the Tapajós. Like them, we’ll continue to challenge the issues that threaten the Amazon, including ongoing collaboration with Indigenous leaders on ways to reduce the impacts of mining.  

"My message is not for future generations, but for the current generation: the responsibility to stop the degradation of the Amazon is ours. We are the ones who must fight for the sustainability of the forest. We must commit ourselves and be kind to those who give us everything" 

Leila Borari 


The presence of jaguars and river dolphins reflects the overall health of the ecosystem. We’re working with Indigenous peoples and local communities to help protect vital habitats, support sustainable livelihoods and reduce human-wildlife.

Deep in the forest, Manuel Salvatierra skilfully climbs a towering palm tree, up to heights shared with macaws and monkeys. Sliding back down, he cradles a bunch of deep violet berries: “My little açais,” he breathes. 

Manuel is one of the many producers we’re working with who have a close relationship with the Amazon rainforest. He knows the trees are vital not only for the survival of jaguars and other wildlife, but also for local communities like his, who depend on the forest’s fruits, nuts and other natural resources for their livelihoods. 

Between January and March, communities harvest Brazil nuts. But yields depend on reliable rainfall and can vary dramatically each year. From April, their focus shifts to açai berries – consumed by Indigenous peoples for generations, and now in global demand as a health food. 

The fact that açais have greater climate resistance is crucially important in our warming world. But the berries need to be processed quickly or they will spoil. To speed things up, we’ve helped build an açai processing plant, which not only offers convenience but boosts the value of the berries. 

“The plant is the best thing about our community,” says Manuel. “It benefits us all.”


A haven of incredible and still largely undiscovered biodiversity, a bastion of cultural diversity and ancestral knowledge, and a protector of global climate stability. The Amazon is one of the most remarkable and important places on Earth. We can’t afford to lose it. 

Together, we have the chance to help end deforestation, clean up rivers, protect wildlife and implement sustainable economies that favour nature and people. We hope you’ll stand with us as we strive to keep the Amazon alive.



For more information call our Guardians team on 0800 038 1030, or email

Green-winged macaw perching on a tree branch