While mainly known for its stunning Andean landscapes and majestic Machu Picchu, Peru is also home to unmatched tropical biodiversity, having as much as 60% of its territory covered by rainforests.
Needless to say, such vast tropical ecosystems provide the Inca nation with an incredibly rich source of natural resources like water, medicinal plants, fauna, among others.
Following are five quick facts to understand the major —and key— role these green spaces play in Peru.
1. Source of economic value. Peru's nearly 20 million hectares of forests and other ecosystems contribute US$1 billion to the national economy in non-timber forest products, scenic beauty, among others, according to the Environment Ministry.
2. The world's pantry. Forests are a great source of fruits and edible plants. However, their most valuable —and much underrated— benefits are their soil-erosion prevention and climate regulation roles.
3. Vastly forested. Peru has the second-largest rainforest cover area in Latin America and is among the world's top ten countries in terms of rainforest extension.
4. Peru's lungs. Such extension makes Peruvian Amazon rainforests a major CO2 reserve: each hectare stores 380 tons of this greenhouse gas.
5. Great variety. Peru is home to 42 types of forests that fall into three major categories: Humid Amazon (53.9%), dry (3.2%) and Andean (0.2%) forests.