The Amazon rainforest is the largest in the world and the Amazon River, the world’s largest river in terms of discharge, drains about 6.9 million square kilometers or about 40% of the entire South American continent. But areas outside the basin are included when people speak about the Amazon, and this Pan-Amazonia region ranges from 7.7 to 8.2 million square kilometres. This area includes portions of eight South American countries: Brazil, Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, Venezuela, Suriname, and French Guiana. Indigenous Peoples who continue to live in the Amazon are poorly quantified but around 20 million people in eight countries are classified as indigenous. (Source: Mongabay)
This vast natural and cultural resource of the Earth is experiencing devastation and threatened by concessions transacted by nation states to transnational corporations. It is in this context that the Latin American Catholic Church has come to support farmers and Indigenous Peoples who deal with abuses by the extractive industries sector in the Amazon, which in turn are damaging the environment.