The Amazon rainforest is a moist broadleaf forest in the Amazon biome that covers most of the Amazon basin of South America. Amazonia (sometimes called Pan-Amazonia) is a huge region covering about 40% of the South American continent. This region includes territory belonging to nine nations. The majority of the forest is contained within Brazil, with 60% of the rainforest, followed by Peru with 13%, Colombia with 10%, and with minor amounts in Venezuela, Ecuador, Bolivia, Guyana, Suriname and French Guiana.
The Amazon represents over half of the planet’s remaining rainforests, and comprises the largest and most biodiverse tract of tropical rainforest in the world, with an estimated 390 billion individual trees divided into 16,000 species.
History of The Amazon rainforest
The rainforest likely formed during the Eocene era. The rainforest has been in existence for at least 55 million years, and most of the region remained free of savanna-type biomes at least until the current ice age when the climate was drier and savanna more widespread.
There is evidence that there have been significant changes in Amazon rainforest vegetation over the last 21,000 years. Fifteen million years ago, the Andes were formed by the collision of the South American plate with the Nazca plate. The rise of the Andes and the linkage of the Brazilian and Guyana bedrock shields blocked the river and caused the Amazon to become a vast inland sea.
About ten million years ago, Waters worked through the sandstone to the west and the Amazon began to flow eastward. At this time the Amazon rainforest was born. During the Ice Age, sea levels dropped and the great Amazon lake rapidly drained and became a river.
Today the Amazon River is the most voluminous river on Earth, eleven times the volume of the Mississippi, and drains an area equivalent in size to the United States.
Interesting Facts About the Amazon River
1. The Amazon is the longest river in the world at 6,992 km and delivers 55 million gallons of water into the Atlantic ocean every second.
2. It represents over half of the planet’s remaining rainforests and comprises the largest and most biodiverse tract of tropical rainforest in the world.
3. The name Amazon is said to arise from a war Francisco de Orellana fought with the Tapuyas and other tribes.
4. More than 20% of the world’s oxygen is produced by the rainforest.
5. More than 80% of the world’s food has its origins in the rainforest.
6. One hectare (2.47 acres) of the rainforest can contain more than 750 types of tree and 1,500 types of plant.
7. The rainforests have begun to be destroyed in the last 100 years to make way for farmland. Today, the rainforests are being destroyed by 1.5 acres every second.
Top Destinations in the Amazon
Jardim Botânico Adolpho Ducke
Estação das Docas
Museu do Seringal Vila Paraíso
Centro Cultural Palácio Rio Negro
Bosque da Ciência (INPA)
Museu da Borracha