AMAZON – DENSE AND WILD FOREST IN WORLDAugust 17, 2020
The Amazon rainforest, alternatively, the Amazon Jungle, also known as a moist broadleaf tropical rainforest in the biome that covers most of the Amazon basin of South America. This basin encompasses 7,000,000 km2 (2,700,000 sq mi), of which 5,500,000 km square (2,100,000 sq mi) are covered by the rainforest. This region includes territory belonging to nine nations.
- This vast untamed wilderness is under increasing threat from huge-scale farming and ranching, infrastructure and urban development, unsustainable logging, mining and climate change.
- Just two quick facts to give you an idea of what’s at stake here. 1) The forest has more species of primate than anywhere else on Earth. 2) You can find more types of ant on one tree in the Amazon than you can in some whole countries.
Why is Amazon so important?
- South America’s Amazon contains nearly a third of all the tropical rainforests left on Earth. Despite covering only around 1% of the planet’s surface, the forest is home to 10% of all the wildlife species we know about – and probably a lot that we don’t know yet.
- Our research shows that, on average, a new species of animal or plant is being discovered in the forest every 3 days. However, tragically, because huge parts of the forest are being destroyed so fast, we may never know all the riches it holds.
- People around the world, as well as locally, depend on the Amazon. Not just for food, water, wood and medicines, but to help stabilise the climate, playing a critical role in global and regional carbon and water cycles.
Facts about Amazon Forest
- The Amazon is the world’s largest tropical Covering over 5.5 million square kilometres, it’s so big that the UK and Ireland would fit into it 17 times.
- The Amazon is found in South America, spanning across Brazil, Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, Venezuela, Guyana, Suriname and French Guiana.
- Running through the north of the rainforest is the Amazon River — a network of many hundreds of waterways that stretches 6,840km. Although there is some debate, most scientists agree that the forest is the world’s second longest river after the River Nile.
- In 2007, a man named Martin Strel swam the entire length of the Amazon river! To complete his splashing jungle journey, Martin powered through the water for up to ten hours a day for 66 days.
- Around 400-500 indigenous Amerindian tribes call the rainforest home. It’s believed that about fifty of these tribes have never had contact with the outside world.
- The forest has an iredibly rich ecosystem – there are around 40,000 plant species, 1,300 bird species, 3,000 types of fish, 430 mammals and a whopping 2.5 million different insects.
- The forest is home to a whole host of fascinating – and deadly! – creatures, including electric eels, flesh eating piranhas, poison dart frogs, jaguars and some seriously venomous snakes.
- One fascinating fish found in the Amazon is the Pirarucu (also known as the arapaima or paiche). A menacing meat-eater, the pirarucu guzzles up other fish and can grow to nearly 3m long! And what makes it super deadly? It has teeth on the roof of its mouth and on its tongue!
- This area of immense natural beauty plays an important role in limiting climate change. This is because the rich vegetation takes carbon dioxide (a greenhouse gas) out of the air and releases oxygen.
- Due to the thickness of the canopy (the top branches and leaves of the trees), the Amazon floor is in permanent darkness. In fact, it’s so thick that when it rains, it takes around ten minutes for the water to reach the ground!
The forest contains millions of species, most of them still undescribed, and some of the world’s most unusual wildlife. It is one of Earth’s last refuges for jaguars, harpy eagles and pink dolphins, and home to thousands of birds and butterflies. Tree-dwelling species include southern two-toed sloths, pygmy marmosets, saddleback and emperor tamarins, and Goeldi’s monkeys. The diversity of the region is staggering:
- 40,000 plant species
- 3,000 freshwater fish species
- more than 370 types of reptiles