8% Remaining Habitat
The South American Atlantic Forest is one of the most diverse and biologically rich forests in the world, but also one of the most highly threatened, with approximately 8% of its original ecosystem remaining. Also known as the Atlantic Rainforest or Mata Atlântica, it comprises a unique series of South American forest ecosystems, which have long been isolated from the Atlantic Forest’s larger and more famous neighbor, the Amazon Rainforest. The forest, which covers parts of Uruguay, Brazil, Paraguay and Argentina has been reduced in size by 92% over the last few decades. Sugarcane and coffee plantations, urban sprawl, logging and cattle ranching are all contributing to the fragmentation of forests and the isolation of species. The small pockets of remaining forests make it difficult for animals like jaguars, pumas, ocelots and marmosets to find food and mating partners. Over 100 million people rely on the forest for their fresh water and for agriculture so the continued destruction of the forest ecosystem is creating dire consequences for the greater majority of the human population in the region.