South America's Amazon region is one of the most diverse ecosystems in the world, and Amazon river tours can give travelers a chance to see the natural beauty of the region first-hand. The entire region is considered to be endangered, primarily due to industrial companies clearing the land of forests to use it for profit, but the positive effects of preservation efforts are starting to be seen.

The Amazon plays a major role in global ecology, and its well-being directly correlates to the health of the planet. However, as much as 17 percent of the Amazon, which encompasses about 40 percent of South America, has been cleared for farming and other industrialization in recent decades. World Wildlife Fund (WWF) reports that deforestation can significantly reduce the amount of carbon found there, which helps to regulate the global and local climates.

WWF and many other organizations have been fighting to preserve the rainforests, where one in ten species make their home, for more than 40 years, and their work seems to be paying off. Forest loss in Brazil fell to the lowest levels since the government began tracking it in 1988. reports that only about 2,400 square miles of forests were cleared in 2011, which is down 10.9 percent from last year's losses.

For the latest travel trends and exciting discoveries, visit our Amazon River Travel News section.