The Amazon Rainforest – General Info, Interesting Facts, Animals and Plants

Suspension bridge in Amazon

The Amazon Rainforest is the largest rainforest in the world. It occupies about 600 million hectares, covering nine countries, more than half of it is in Brazil. In the national territory constitutes the Legal Amazon , which includes the states of Pará, Amazonas, Roraima, Amapá, Rondônia, Acre and part of the states of Maranhão, Mato Grosso and Tocantins.

* It is in the low latitudes, receiving a strong input of solar energy and an almost constant supply of humid air mass. The climate is equatorial , with very high average temperatures and abundant rainfall that falls all year round.

* It is in the Amazon region that is the largest river basin in the world, having as main river the Amazon , the largest river in the world in length and volume of water. Other large, medium and small rivers run through this region. It is estimated that about 20% of the planet’s fresh water circulates in the Amazon basin .

* The soils have low nutrient retention because the large amount of rainfall leaches these soils, removing their nutrients. However, a thin layer of nutrients is formed from the decomposition of dead leaves, branches, fruits and animals, being very important for the plants of the region.

Despite the chemically poor soils, the vegetation of the Amazon rainforest is lush, dense and perennial, as the few soil nutrients are rapidly absorbed by tree roots , which release them back into the soil, performing constant and rapid nutrient cycling.

Basically there are three types of plant formations:

Dryland forest – is located in higher areas, not affected by periodic flooding. The trees are large and determine the physiognomy of the community, represented by chestnut, mahogany, angelim, andiroba, cedar and others. There is also a large amount of vines, herbaceous and epiphyte plants , palm trees, lichens and mosses .

Floodplain forest – is located in lower lands and is subject to periodic flooding. In the higher parts the trees are able to withstand flooding for a few months. They sprout when the water is falling and bloom and bear fruit when the water is rising. The soils are more fertile because in the flood season the waters deposit nutrient rich sediments in these soils. Stand out trees such as cumaru, rubber and jatoba.

Blackwater Forest – is located on low ground near rivers, where soils are almost always flooded. The vegetation is low with distant trees adapted to the flooded environment, such as the Jauari palm tree ( Astrocaryum jauari ). The royal victory is also found in this environment.

The fauna of the Amazon rainforest is very rich. Numerous species of mammals , birds , reptiles , amphibians , fish and invertebrates inhabit this environment. Jaguars, monkeys, giant otters , alligators , toucans and snakes are some of these animals.

The deforestation of the Amazon rainforest reduces its biodiversity , and impoverish the soil and pollute the rivers, among other impacts. Farming, logging and mining, burning and smuggling of animals are the main threats to this forest. It is estimated that the forest has already lost almost 20% of its original size.

Interesting facts

1. It is the gigantic jungle region that surrounds the Amazon River basin , the second longest riverbed in the world. It is only surpassed by the Nile, although this first place is discussed by some specialists. It covers nine countries: Brazil, Peru, Bolivia, Ecuador, Colombia, Venezuela, Suriname, Guyana and French Guiana . However, most of the territory is found in the first two.

2. The name of the river is awarded to Francisco de Orellana, who led the first exploration of the large flow. Some sources say it was in 1541 and others in 1542. The Spanish soldier witnessed clashes between warriors from different tribes. These women reminded the Amazons of Greek mythology.

3. The Amazon faces threats such as climate change, overexploitation of resources and deforestation. For this last reason, it has lost 17% of its territory in the last 50 years.

4. 18 thousand species of plants , 434 mammals and 239 reptiles live in the depths of the Amazon .

5. 20% of the planet’s fresh water is concentrated in the Amazon River basin.

6. Three times Mexico would fit in the Amazon region , whose area is five million 500 thousand square kilometers. The United Kingdom would fit 23 times, and Cuba would fit 50.

7. In the Amazon there are species of animals whose defense mechanism is deadly for humans: the green anaconda, which can reach nine meters in length and weigh 250 kilos; the black alligator, which measures up to six meters and is considered the largest predator in the region; the electric eel, the piranha and the poison dart frog, capable of paralyzing and killing its prey.

8. The largest offer of accommodation is in Brazil, Peru and Ecuador. There are ecological resorts that offer various experiences in the jungle. One of these properties is located in Brazil , the Juma Lodge , with bungalows built on piles 15 meters high. Among its activities it organizes camping in hammocks and kayaking to find pink dolphins and alligators. In Peru , the luxury resort Inkaterra Reserva Amazónica has a suspension bridge system to admire the jungle. Sani Lodge, in Ecuador, brings you closer to a community that lives near the Napo River, tributary of the Amazon.

9. In the Amazon there are 350 ethnic groups, according to the World Wildlife Fund . But not everyone has contact with the outside: between the borders of Brazil, Peru and Bolivi there is a space where more isolated tribes live than anywhere else. They are societies that refuse to contact other peoples and have demonstrated it through their hostile behavior, because in the past they were victims of violence. Very little is known about them, but organizations, such as Survival International, seek to protect them from environmental degradation and disease, since they are highly vulnerable. There is a man, the last of his group, who lives alone; No one knows his name or what language he speaks.

10. In 2010, Ed Stafford became the first man to undertake a walk along the banks of the Amazon. By the way, the length of the river is 6,992 kilometers. It took two years, four months and eight days to complete the trip that earned him a Guinness Record . Another feat to highlight was that of Slovenian Martin Strel , who in 2007 swam five thousand 728 kilometers in the river. His journey lasted 66 days, in which he had to swim more than 10 hours every day.

11. Sail in style : Unlike Brazil, which is the destination of large vessels, in Peru you find more intimate cruise trips. Linblad, which has a collaboration with National Geographic , offers tours guided by naturalists and scientists; Only 28 passengers fit on your ship. Aqua Expeditions is one of the most luxurious specialty shipping companies in the region. Up to 32 guests can travel and each of its suites has floor-to-ceiling windows facing the bed.

Animals Of The Amazon Jungle

With an area of 5.5 million km², the Amazon rainforest is one of the largest on our planet. This majestic forest is home to a rich biodiversity where thousands of species, some endemic, coexist. Birds, mammals, reptiles or even amphibians populate this immense space increasingly threatened by deforestation. Odysway introduces you to a panel of 10 animals from the Amazon jungle.

Blue dendrobate. Also known as the poisoned arrow frog, the blue dendrobate is an endemic species of the Amazon jungle . Its pretty blue skin spotted with black secretes a highly poisonous venom, also used by Indians to coat their arrows.

Tapir of Brazil. The tapir of Brazil is one of five species of tapirs that exist in the world. It is a rather lonely animal that lives near streams. Besides the pleasure of bathing there, they serve him to hide from his predators like the jaguar or the puma.

Red macaw. It is one of the most noisy parrots among all its congeners. The red macaw lives essentially at the top of the trees . Despite a dominant red coat, it also has blue and yellow feathers at the ends. Despite the deforestation that threatens its habitat, it is not (yet) a species at risk.

Spearhead. The spearhead is one of the most venomous snakes in the Amazon jungle . It owes its name to its triangular head. Its dangerousness comes from its ability to camouflage itself and its speed that leaves no chance for its prey. It can reach up to 2 m long.

Dolphin of the Amazon. The Amazon jungle is crossed by one of the longest rivers in the world: the Amazon. In its waters live various animal species including pink dolphin . It is the largest freshwater dolphin and its pointed muzzle is more like a beak.

Tamarind. Tamarind is a monkey recognizable by its small size and bushy mane or large mustaches . With a size of 20 and 30 cm, it is nicknamed the “squirrel monkey”. Unfortunately, deforestation and the craze it engenders as a new pet is leading to its decline.

Goliath spider. Largest spider in the world, the Goliath spider can reach 30 cm in diameter. Especially venomous, she defends herself as well as she attacks. Either sending stinging clouds, or biting with its hooks up to 2 cm long.

Anaconda. Here is a rather imposing animal. The anaconda weighs between 200 and 250 kg and evolves both on land and in water . Contrary to the image that is given to him, he is rather wary of men and attacks them only if he feels in danger.

Black caiman. It is one of the most feared predators of the Amazon rainforest , but also the largest of its kind. The black caiman is 6-7 m long and excels in many areas such as swimming and hunting.

Jaguar, the king of the Amazon jungle. In the savannah, the king is the lion. In the Amazon rainforest, it’s the jaguar . This mammal does not fear anyone, not even humans. It attacks any prey. This one does not resist him for a long time besides, so much its jaw is powerful. It is a dreaded and formidable predator . Hunting at night, he rested during the day, often high in the trees. Find the long-awaited meeting of Odyssey founder Romain with a jaguar during his adventure in South America. Read the article on this meeting, very emotional.

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