Amazon rainforest, near Manaus, Brazil
|Location||Brazil, Peru, Colombia, Venezuela, Ecuador, Bolivia, Guyana, Suriname, France ( French Guiana )|
|Area||5,500,000 km2 (2,100,000 sq mi)|
The Amazon rainforest (Portuguese: Floresta Amazônica or Amazônia; Spanish : Selva Amazónica, Amazonía or usually Amazonia; French : Forêt amazonienne; Dutch : Amazoneregenwoud), also known in English as Amazonia or the Amazon Jungle, is a moist broadleaf forest in the Amazon 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 km2 (2,100,000 sq mi) are covered by the rainforest. 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 France (French Guiana). States or departments in four nations contain "Amazonas" in their names. 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.
Brazilian Portuguese is a set of dialects of the Portuguese language used mostly in Brazil. It is spoken by virtually all of the 200 million inhabitants of Brazil and spoken widely across the Brazilian diaspora, today consisting of about two million Brazilians who have emigrated to other countries.
Spanish or Castilian is a Romance language that originated in the Castile region of Spain and today has hundreds of millions of native speakers in the Americas and Spain. It is a global language and the world's second-most spoken native language, after Mandarin Chinese.
French is a Romance language of the Indo-European family. It descended from the Vulgar Latin of the Roman Empire, as did all Romance languages. French evolved from Gallo-Romance, the spoken Latin in Gaul, and more specifically in Northern Gaul. Its closest relatives are the other langues d'oïl—languages historically spoken in northern France and in southern Belgium, which French (Francien) has largely supplanted. French was also influenced by native Celtic languages of Northern Roman Gaul like Gallia Belgica and by the (Germanic) Frankish language of the post-Roman Frankish invaders. Today, owing to France's past overseas expansion, there are numerous French-based creole languages, most notably Haitian Creole. A French-speaking person or nation may be referred to as Francophone in both English and French.
The name Amazon is said to arise from a war Francisco de Orellana fought with the Tapuyas and other tribes. The women of the tribe fought alongside the men, as was their custom.Orellana derived the name Amazonas from the Amazons of Greek mythology, described by Herodotus and Diodorus.
Francisco de Orellana was a Spanish explorer and conquistador. He completed the first known navigation of the entire length of the Amazon River, which initially was named "Rio de Orellana." He also founded the city of Guayaquil in what is now Ecuador.
In Greek mythology, the Amazons were a tribe of women warriors related to Scythians and Sarmatians, both of whom are considered Iranic people. Apollonius Rhodius, at Argonautica, mentions that Amazons were the daughters of Ares and Harmonia. They were brutal and aggressive, and their main concern in life was war. Lysias, Isocrates, Philostratus the Elder also say that their father was Ares.
Greek mythology is the body of myths originally told by the ancient Greeks. These stories concern the origin and the nature of the world, the lives and activities of deities, heroes, and mythological creatures, and the origins and significance of the ancient Greeks' own cult and ritual practices. Modern scholars study the myths in an attempt to shed light on the religious and political institutions of ancient Greece and its civilization, and to gain understanding of the nature of myth-making itself.
The rainforest likely formed during the Eocene era. It appeared following a global reduction of tropical temperatures when the Atlantic Ocean had widened sufficiently to provide a warm, moist climate to the Amazon basin. 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.
The Eocene Epoch, lasting from 13C in the atmosphere was exceptionally low in comparison with the more common isotope 12C. The end is set at a major extinction event called the Grande Coupure or the Eocene–Oligocene extinction event, which may be related to the impact of one or more large bolides in Siberia and in what is now Chesapeake Bay. As with other geologic periods, the strata that define the start and end of the epoch are well identified, though their exact dates are slightly uncertain., is a major division of the geologic timescale and the second epoch of the Paleogene Period in the Cenozoic Era. The Eocene spans the time from the end of the Paleocene Epoch to the beginning of the Oligocene Epoch. The start of the Eocene is marked by a brief period in which the concentration of the carbon isotope
The Atlantic Ocean is the second largest of the world's oceans, with an area of about 106,460,000 square kilometers. It covers approximately 20 percent of the Earth's surface and about 29 percent of its water surface area. It separates the "Old World" from the "New World".
A savanna or savannah is a mixed woodland grassland ecosystem characterised by the trees being sufficiently widely spaced so that the canopy does not close. The open canopy allows sufficient light to reach the ground to support an unbroken herbaceous layer consisting primarily of grasses.
Following the Cretaceous–Paleogene extinction event, the extinction of the dinosaurs and the wetter climate may have allowed the tropical rainforest to spread out across the continent. From 66–34 Mya, the rainforest extended as far south as 45°. Climate fluctuations during the last 34 million years have allowed savanna regions to expand into the tropics. During the Oligocene, for example, the rainforest spanned a relatively narrow band. It expanded again during the Middle Miocene, then retracted to a mostly inland formation at the last glacial maximum. However, the rainforest still managed to thrive during these glacial periods, allowing for the survival and evolution of a broad diversity of species.
The Cretaceous–Paleogene (K–Pg) extinction event, also known as the Cretaceous–Tertiary (K–T) extinction, was a sudden mass extinction of some three-quarters of the plant and animal species on Earth, approximately 66 million years ago. With the exception of some ectothermic species such as the leatherback sea turtle and crocodiles, no tetrapods weighing more than 25 kilograms (55 lb) survived. It marked the end of the Cretaceous period and with it, the entire Mesozoic Era, opening the Cenozoic Era that continues today.
Dinosaurs are a diverse group of reptiles of the clade Dinosauria. They first appeared during the Triassic period, between 243 and 233.23 million years ago, although the exact origin and timing of the evolution of dinosaurs is the subject of active research. They became the dominant terrestrial vertebrates after the Triassic–Jurassic extinction event 201 million years ago; their dominance continued through the Jurassic and Cretaceous periods. Reverse genetic engineering and the fossil record both demonstrate that birds are modern feathered dinosaurs, having evolved from earlier theropods during the late Jurassic Period. As such, birds were the only dinosaur lineage to survive the Cretaceous–Paleogene extinction event 66 million years ago. Dinosaurs can therefore be divided into avian dinosaurs, or birds; and non-avian dinosaurs, which are all dinosaurs other than birds. This article deals primarily with non-avian dinosaurs.
The 45th parallel south is a circle of latitude that is 45° south of the Earth's equator.
During the mid-Eocene, it is believed that the drainage basin of the Amazon was split along the middle of the continent by the Purus Arch. Water on the eastern side flowed toward the Atlantic, while to the west water flowed toward the Pacific across the Amazonas Basin. As the Andes Mountains rose, however, a large basin was created that enclosed a lake; now known as the Solimões Basin. Within the last 5–10 million years, this accumulating water broke through the Purus Arch, joining the easterly flow toward the Atlantic.
The Pacific Ocean is the largest and deepest of Earth's oceanic divisions. It extends from the Arctic Ocean in the north to the Southern Ocean in the south and is bounded by Asia and Australia in the west and the Americas in the east.
The Andes or Andean Mountains are the longest continental mountain range in the world, forming a continuous highland along the western edge of South America. This range is about 7,000 km (4,300 mi) long, about 200 to 700 km wide, and of an average height of about 4,000 m (13,000 ft). The Andes extend from north to south through seven South American countries: Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Chile and Argentina.
There is evidence that there have been significant changes in Amazon rainforest vegetation over the last 21,000 years through the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM) and subsequent deglaciation. Analyses of sediment deposits from Amazon basin paleolakes and from the Amazon Fan indicate that rainfall in the basin during the LGM was lower than for the present, and this was almost certainly associated with reduced moist tropical vegetation cover in the basin.There is debate, however, over how extensive this reduction was. Some scientists argue that the rainforest was reduced to small, isolated refugia separated by open forest and grassland; other scientists argue that the rainforest remained largely intact but extended less far to the north, south, and east than is seen today. This debate has proved difficult to resolve because the practical limitations of working in the rainforest mean that data sampling is biased away from the center of the Amazon basin, and both explanations are reasonably well supported by the available data.
Vegetation is an assemblage of plant species and the ground cover they provide. It is a general term, without specific reference to particular taxa, life forms, structure, spatial extent, or any other specific botanical or geographic characteristics. It is broader than the term flora which refers to species composition. Perhaps the closest synonym is plant community, but vegetation can, and often does, refer to a wider range of spatial scales than that term does, including scales as large as the global. Primeval redwood forests, coastal mangrove stands, sphagnum bogs, desert soil crusts, roadside weed patches, wheat fields, cultivated gardens and lawns; all are encompassed by the term vegetation.
The Last Glacial Maximum (LGM) was the most recent time during the Last Glacial Period when ice sheets were at their greatest extent. Vast ice sheets covered much of North America, northern Europe, and Asia. The ice sheets profoundly affected Earth's climate by causing drought, desertification, and a large drop in sea levels. The ice sheets reached their maximum coverage about 26,500 years ago. Deglaciation commenced in the Northern Hemisphere at approximately 20 ka and in Antarctica approximately at 14.5 ka, consistent with evidence for an abrupt rise in the sea level at about 14.5 ka.
In biology, a refugium is a location which supports an isolated or relict population of a once more widespread species. This isolation (allopatry) can be due to climatic changes, geography, or human activities such as deforestation and overhunting.
More than 56% of the dust fertilizing the Amazon rainforest comes from the Bodélé depression in Northern Chad in the Sahara desert. The dust contains phosphorus, important for plant growth. The yearly Sahara dust replaces the equivalent amount of phosphorus washed away yearly in Amazon soil from rains and floods.Up to 50 million tonnes of Sahara dust per year are blown across the Atlantic Ocean. NASA Video .
NASA's CALIPSO satellite has measured the amount of dust transported by wind from the Sahara to the Amazon: an average 182 million tons of dust are windblown out of the Sahara each year, at 15 degrees west longitude, across 1,600 miles (2,600 km) over the Atlantic Ocean (some dust falls into the Atlantic), then at 35 degrees West longitude at the eastern coast of South America, 27.7 million tons (15%) of dust fall over the Amazon basin, 132 million tons of dust remain in the air, 43 million tons of dust are windblown and falls on the Caribbean Sea, past 75 degrees west longitude.
CALIPSO uses a laser range finder to scan the Earth's atmosphere for the vertical distribution of dust and other aerosols. CALIPSO regularly tracks the Sahara-Amazon dust plume. CALIPSO has measured variations in the dust amounts transported – an 86 percent drop between the highest amount of dust transported in 2007 and the lowest in 2011.
A possibility causing the variation is the Sahel, a strip of semi-arid land on the southern border of the Sahara. When rain amounts in the Sahel are higher, the volume of dust is lower. The higher rainfall could make more vegetation grow in the Sahel, leaving less sand exposed to winds to blow away.
Based on archaeological evidence from an excavation at Caverna da Pedra Pintada, human inhabitants first settled in the Amazon region at least 11,200 years ago.Subsequent development led to late-prehistoric settlements along the periphery of the forest by AD 1250, which induced alterations in the forest cover.
For a long time, it was thought that the Amazon rainforest was only ever sparsely populated, as it was impossible to sustain a large population through agriculture given the poor soil. Archeologist Betty Meggers was a prominent proponent of this idea, as described in her book Amazonia: Man and Culture in a Counterfeit Paradise. She claimed that a population density of 0.2 inhabitants per square kilometre (0.52/sq mi) is the maximum that can be sustained in the rainforest through hunting, with agriculture needed to host a larger population. However, recent anthropological findings have suggested that the region was actually densely populated. Some 5 million people may have lived in the Amazon region in AD 1500, divided between dense coastal settlements, such as that at Marajó, and inland dwellers. By 1900, the population had fallen to 1 million and by the early 1980s it was less than 200,000.
The first European to travel the length of the Amazon River was Francisco de Orellana in 1542.The BBC's Unnatural Histories presents evidence that Orellana, rather than exaggerating his claims as previously thought, was correct in his observations that a complex civilization was flourishing along the Amazon in the 1540s. It is believed that the civilization was later devastated by the spread of diseases from Europe, such as smallpox.
Since the 1970s, numerous geoglyphs have been discovered on deforested land dating between AD 1–1250, furthering claims about Pre-Columbian civilizations.Ondemar Dias is accredited with first discovering the geoglyphs in 1977, and Alceu Ranzi is credited with furthering their discovery after flying over Acre. The BBC's Unnatural Histories presented evidence that the Amazon rainforest, rather than being a pristine wilderness, has been shaped by man for at least 11,000 years through practices such as forest gardening and terra preta . Terra preta is found over large areas in the Amazon forest; and is now widely accepted as a product of indigenous soil management. The development of this fertile soil allowed agriculture and silviculture in the previously hostile environment; meaning that large portions of the Amazon rainforest are probably the result of centuries of human management, rather than naturally occurring as has previously been supposed. In the region of the Xingu tribe, remains of some of these large settlements in the middle of the Amazon forest were found in 2003 by Michael Heckenberger and colleagues of the University of Florida. Among those were evidence of roads, bridges and large plazas. On 3 September 1989, Varig Flight 254 crashed into Amazon, killing 13 out of the 54 people on board. On 26 September 2006, Gol Transportes Aéreos Flight 1907, a Boeing 737-800, collided with an embraer Legacy 600 above the amazon. The legacy jet landed safely, but flight 1907 lost control, broke up in mid-air, and crashed into the amazon, killing all 154 people onboard.
Wet tropical forests are the most species-rich biome, and tropical forests in the Americas are consistently more species rich than the wet forests in Africa and Asia.As the largest tract of tropical rainforest in the Americas, the Amazonian rainforests have unparalleled biodiversity. One in ten known species in the world lives in the Amazon rainforest. This constitutes the largest collection of living plants and animal species in the world.
The region is home to about 2.5 million insect species, tens of thousands of plants, and some 2,000 birds and mammals. To date, at least 40,000 plant species, 2,200 fishes, 1,294 birds, 427 mammals, 428 amphibians, and 378 reptiles have been scientifically classified in the region. One in five of all bird species are found in the Amazon rainforest, and one in five of the fish species live in Amazonian rivers and streams. Scientists have described between 96,660 and 128,843 invertebrate species in Brazil alone.
The biodiversity of plant species is the highest on Earth with one 2001 study finding a quarter square kilometer (62 acres) of Ecuadorian rainforest supports more than 1,100 tree species. A study in 1999 found one square kilometer (247 acres) of Amazon rainforest can contain about 90,790 tonnes of living plants. The average plant biomass is estimated at 356 ± 47 tonnes per hectare. To date, an estimated 438,000 species of plants of economic and social interest have been registered in the region with many more remaining to be discovered or catalogued. The total number of tree species in the region is estimated at 16,000.
The green leaf area of plants and trees in the rainforest varies by about 25% as a result of seasonal changes. Leaves expand during the dry season when sunlight is at a maximum, then undergo abscission in the cloudy wet season. These changes provide a balance of carbon between photosynthesis and respiration.
The rainforest contains several species that can pose a hazard. Among the largest predatory creatures are the black caiman, jaguar, cougar, and anaconda. In the river, electric eels can produce an electric shock that can stun or kill, while piranha are known to bite and injure humans.Various species of poison dart frogs secrete lipophilic alkaloid toxins through their flesh. There are also numerous parasites and disease vectors. Vampire bats dwell in the rainforest and can spread the rabies virus. Malaria, yellow fever and Dengue fever can also be contracted in the Amazon region.
Deforestation is the conversion of forested areas to non-forested areas. The main sources of deforestation in the Amazon are human settlement and development of the land.Prior to the early 1960s, access to the forest's interior was highly restricted, and the forest remained basically intact. Farms established during the 1960s were based on crop cultivation and the slash and burn method. However, the colonists were unable to manage their fields and the crops because of the loss of soil fertility and weed invasion. The soils in the Amazon are productive for just a short period of time, so farmers are constantly moving to new areas and clearing more land. These farming practices led to deforestation and caused extensive environmental damage. Deforestation is considerable, and areas cleared of forest are visible to the naked eye from outer space.
In the 1970s, construction began on the Trans-Amazonian highway. This highway represented a major threat to the Amazon rainforest.The highway still has not been completed, limiting the environmental damage.
Between 1991 and 2000, the total area of forest lost in the Amazon rose from 415,000 to 587,000 square kilometres (160,000 to 227,000 sq mi), with most of the lost forest becoming pasture for cattle. Seventy percent of formerly forested land in the Amazon, and 91% of land deforested since 1970, have been used for livestock pasture. Currently, Brazil is the second-largest global producer of soybeans after the United States. New research however, conducted by Leydimere Oliveira et al., has shown that the more rainforest is logged in the Amazon, the less precipitation reaches the area and so the lower the yield per hectare becomes. So despite the popular perception, there has been no economical advantage for Brazil from logging rainforest zones and converting these to pastoral fields.
The needs of soy farmers have been used to justify many of the controversial transportation projects that are currently developing in the Amazon. The first two highways successfully opened up the rainforest and led to increased settlement and deforestation. The mean annual deforestation rate from 2000 to 2005 (22,392 km2 or 8,646 sq mi per year) was 18% higher than in the previous five years (19,018 km2 or 7,343 sq mi per year). Although deforestation has declined significantly in the Brazilian Amazon between 2004 and 2014, there has been an increase to the present day.
Since the discovery of fossil fuel reservoirs in the Amazon rainforest, oil drilling activity has steadily increased, peaking in the Western Amazon in the 1970s and ushering another drilling boom in the 2000s.As oil companies have to set up their operations by opening roads through forests, which often contributes to deforestation in the region.
Environmentalists are concerned about loss of biodiversity that will result from destruction of the forest, and also about the release of the carbon contained within the vegetation, which could accelerate global warming. Amazonian evergreen forests account for about 10% of the world's terrestrial primary productivity and 10% of the carbon stores in ecosystems × 1011 metric tonnes of carbon. Amazonian forests are estimated to have accumulated 0.62 ± 0.37 tons of carbon per hectare per year between 1975 and 1996.– of the order of 1.1
One computer model of future climate change caused by greenhouse gas emissions shows that the Amazon rainforest could become unsustainable under conditions of severely reduced rainfall and increased temperatures, leading to an almost complete loss of rainforest cover in the basin by 2100.However, simulations of Amazon basin climate change across many different models are not consistent in their estimation of any rainfall response, ranging from weak increases to strong decreases. The result indicates that the rainforest could be threatened though the 21st century by climate change in addition to deforestation.
In 1989, environmentalist C.M. Peters and two colleagues stated there is economic as well as biological incentive to protecting the rainforest. One hectare in the Peruvian Amazon has been calculated to have a value of $6820 if intact forest is sustainably harvested for fruits, latex, and timber; $1000 if clear-cut for commercial timber (not sustainably harvested); or $148 if used as cattle pasture.
As indigenous territories continue to be destroyed by deforestation and ecocide, such as in the Peruvian Amazonindigenous peoples' rainforest communities continue to disappear, while others, like the Urarina continue to struggle to fight for their cultural survival and the fate of their forested territories. Meanwhile, the relationship between non-human primates in the subsistence and symbolism of indigenous lowland South American peoples has gained increased attention, as have ethno-biology and community-based conservation efforts.
From 2002 to 2006, the conserved land in the Amazon rainforest has almost tripled and deforestation rates have dropped up to 60%. About 1,000,000 square kilometres (250,000,000 acres) have been put onto some sort of conservation, which adds up to a current amount of 1,730,000 square kilometres (430,000,000 acres).
In April 2019 the court in Ecuador stopped oil exploration activities in 1,800 square kilometers of the Amazon rainforest
A 2009 study found that a 4 °C rise in global temperatures by 2100 would kill 85% of the Amazon rainforest while a temperature rise of 3 °C would kill some 75% of the Amazon.
Deforestation in the Amazon rainforest region have negative impact on local climate.It was one of the main reason that cause the severe Drought of 2014-2015 in BrazilThis is because the moisture from the forests is important to the rainfall in Brazil, Paraguay, Argentina. Half of the rainfall in the Amazon area is produced by the forests.
The use of remotely sensed data is dramatically improving conservationists' knowledge of the Amazon basin. Given the objectivity and lowered costs of satellite-based land cover analysis, it appears likely that remote sensing technology will be an integral part of assessing the extent and damage of deforestation in the basin.Furthermore, remote sensing is the best and perhaps only possible way to study the Amazon on a large scale.
The use of remote sensing for the conservation of the Amazon is also being used by the indigenous tribes of the basin to protect their tribal lands from commercial interests. Using handheld GPS devices and programs like Google Earth, members of the Trio Tribe, who live in the rainforests of southern Suriname, map out their ancestral lands to help strengthen their territorial claims.Currently, most tribes in the Amazon do not have clearly defined boundaries, making it easier for commercial ventures to target their territories.
To accurately map the Amazon's biomass and subsequent carbon related emissions, the classification of tree growth stages within different parts of the forest is crucial. In 2006, Tatiana Kuplich organized the trees of the Amazon into four categories: (1) mature forest, (2) regenerating forest [less than three years], (3) regenerating forest [between three and five years of regrowth], and (4) regenerating forest [eleven to eighteen years of continued development].The researcher used a combination of Synthetic aperture radar (SAR) and Thematic Mapper (TM) to accurately place the different portions of the Amazon into one of the four classifications.
In 2005, parts of the Amazon basin experienced the worst drought in one hundred years,and there were indications that 2006 may have been a second successive year of drought. A July 23, 2006 article in the UK newspaper The Independent reported the Woods Hole Research Center results, showing that the forest in its present form could survive only three years of drought. Scientists at the Brazilian National Institute of Amazonian Research argued in the article that this drought response, coupled with the effects of deforestation on regional climate, are pushing the rainforest towards a "tipping point" where it would irreversibly start to die. It concluded that the forest is on the brink of being turned into savanna or desert, with catastrophic consequences for the world's climate.
According to the World Wide Fund for Nature, the combination of climate change and deforestation increases the drying effect of dead trees that fuels forest fires.
In 2010, the Amazon rainforest experienced another severe drought, in some ways more extreme than the 2005 drought. The affected region was approximate 1,160,000 square miles (3,000,000 km2) of rainforest, compared to 734,000 square miles (1,900,000 km2) in 2005. The 2010 drought had three epicenters where vegetation died off, whereas in 2005, the drought was focused on the southwestern part. The findings were published in the journal Science. In a typical year, the Amazon absorbs 1.5 gigatons of carbon dioxide; during 2005 instead 5 gigatons were released and in 2010 8 gigatons were released. Additional severe droughts occurred in 2010, 2015, and 2016.
Deforestation, clearance, clearcutting or clearing is the removal of a forest or stand of trees from land which is then converted to a non-forest use. Deforestation can involve conversion of forest land to farms, ranches, or urban use. The most concentrated deforestation occurs in tropical rainforests. About 31% of Earth's land surface is covered by forests.
Rainforests are forests characterized by high rainfall, with annual rainfall in the case of tropical rainforests between 250 and 450 centimetres, and definitions varying by region for temperate rainforests. The monsoon trough, alternatively known as the intertropical convergence zone, plays a significant role in creating the climatic conditions necessary for the Earth's tropical rainforests.
The Amazon Basin is the part of South America drained by the Amazon River and its tributaries. The Amazon drainage basin covers an area of about 6,300,000 km2 (2,400,000 sq mi), or about 35.5 percent that of the South American continent. It is located in the countries of Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Peru, Suriname and Venezuela.
Tropical rainforests are rainforests that occur in areas of tropical rainforest climate in which there is no dry season – all months have an average precipitation of at least 60 mm – and may also be referred to as lowland equatorial evergreen rainforest. True rainforests are typically found between 10 degrees north and south of the equator ; they are a sub-set of the tropical forest biome that occurs roughly within the 28 degree latitudes. Within the World Wildlife Fund's biome classification, tropical rainforests are a type of tropical moist broadleaf forest that also includes the more extensive seasonal tropical forests.
The North Region of Brazil is the largest Region of Brazil, corresponding to 45.27% of the national territory. It is the least inhabited of the country, and contributes with a minor percentage in the national GDP and population. It comprises the states of Acre, Amapá, Amazonas, Pará, Rondônia, Roraima and Tocantins.
Environmentally, Colombia is a mega-diverse country from its natural land terrain to its biological wildlife. Its biodiversity is a result of its geographical location and elevation. It is the fourth largest South American country and only country in South America to have coasts on the Pacific and Caribbean Sea. Colombia's terrain can be divided into six main natural zones: The Caribbean, the Pacific, The Orinoco region, The Amazonia region, the Andean region, and the Insular region. 52.2% of the environment is predominately the Andes, Amazon, and Pacific Basins, followed by the Orinoco basin 13.9%, the Andes and the Caribbean. The Tropical Andes, Choco, and the Caribbean are considered biodiversity hotspots which puts these areas at high risk of concentration of colonizing activities. Colombia hosts over 1800 species and at least one new species is detected every year. Decades of civil war and political unrest has impeded biological and environmental research in Colombia. The political unrest in Colombia catalyzes the alteration of land patterns through the cultivation of coca and opium crops, the redirection of extractive activities, and land abandonment in some areas.
Noel Kempff Mercado National Park is a national park in northeast Santa Cruz Department, Province of José Miguel de Velasco, Bolivia, on the border with Brazil.
Brazil once had the highest deforestation rate in the world and in 2005 still had the largest area of forest removed annually. Since 1970, over 700,000 square kilometers (270,000 sq mi) of the Amazon rainforest have been destroyed. In 2012, the Amazon was approximately 5.4 million square kilometres, which is only 87% of the Amazon's original state.
The Amazon rainforest is the largest rainforest in the world, covering an area of 5,500,000 km2 (2,100,000 sq mi). This region includes territory belonging to nine nations. The majority of the forest is contained within Brazil, with 60%, followed by Peru with 13%, Colombia with 10%, and with minor amounts in Venezuela, Ecuador, Bolivia, Guyana, Suriname and France.
Defaunation is the global, local or functional extinction of animal populations or species from ecological communities. The growth of the human population, combined with advances in harvesting technologies, has led to more intense and efficient exploitation of the environment. This has resulted in the depletion of large vertebrates from ecological communities, creating what has been termed "empty forest". Defaunation differs from extinction; it includes both the disappearance of species and declines in abundance. Defaunation effects were first implied at the Symposium of Plant-Animal Interactions at the University of Campinas, Brazil in 1988 in the context of neotropical forests. Since then, the term has gained broader usage in conservation biology as a global phenomenon.
Selective logging or partial forest removal is the practice of cutting down one or two species of trees while leaving the rest intact. Selective logging is often considered a better alternative to clear cutting in which a large area of a forest is cut down, leaving little behind except wood debris and a deforested landscape. Selective logging in the Brazilian Amazon was recently shown in analyses of Landsat Enhanced Thematic Mapper Plus data at high spatial resolution to be occurring at rates of about 12,000–20,000 km2 per year, thus indicating the central role of selective logging in tropical forest disturbance. Although selective logging has a far less impact on forest processes than deforestation, selectively logged sites experience higher rates of forest fires, tree fall, changes in microclimate, soil compaction and erosion, among other ecological impacts on biodiversity and ecosystem functioning.
Igapó is a word used in Brazil for blackwater-flooded forests in the Amazon biome. These forests and similar swamp forests are seasonally inundated with freshwater. They typically occur along the lower reaches of rivers and around freshwater lakes. Freshwater swamp forests are found in a range of climate zones, from boreal through temperate and subtropical to tropical. In the Amazon Basin of Brazil, a seasonally whitewater-flooded forest is known as a várzea, which is similar to igapó in many regards; the key difference between the two habitats is in the type of water that floods the forest.
The Southwest Amazon moist forests (NT0166) is an ecoregion located in the Upper Amazon basin.
A várzea forest is a seasonal floodplain forest inundated by whitewater rivers that occurs in the Amazon biome. Until the late 1970s, the definition was less clear and várzea was often used for all periodically flooded Amazonian forests.
William F. Laurance is Distinguished Research Professor at James Cook University, Australia and has been elected as a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science. He has received an Australian Laureate Fellowship from the Australian Research Council. He held the Prince Bernhard Chair for International Nature Conservation at Utrecht University, Netherlands from 2010-2014.
Deforestation is one of the main contributors to climate change. It comes in many forms: wildfire, agricultural clearcutting, livestock ranching, and logging for timber, among others. Forests cover 31% of the land area on Earth and annually, 18.7 million acres of forest is lost. Mass deforestation continues to threaten tropical forests, their biodiversity and the ecosystem services they provide. The main area of concern of deforestation is in tropical rainforests, since it is home to the majority of the biodiversity. Organizations such as World Wildlife Fund focus on the preservation of nature and the reduction of the most pressing threats to the diversity of life on Earth.
The Amazon biome contains the Amazon rainforest, an area of tropical rainforest, and other ecoregions that cover most of the Amazon basin and some adjacent areas to the north and east. The biome contains blackwater and whitewater flooded forest, lowland and montane terra firme forest, bamboo and palm forest, savanna, sandy heath and alpine tundra. Some areas are threatened by deforestation for timber and to make way for pasture or soybean plantations.
The Tapajós-Xingu moist forests (NT0168) is an ecoregion in the eastern Amazon basin. It is part of the Amazon biome. The ecoregion extends southwest from the Amazon River between its large Tapajós and Xingu tributaries.
The Xingu-Tocantins-Araguaia moist forests (NT0180) is an ecoregion in the eastern Amazon basin. It is part of the Amazon biome. The ecoregion is one of the most severely degraded of the Amazon region, suffering from large-scale deforestation and selective extraction of timber, particularly along the Trans-Amazonian Highway and in the higher and more populated southern portions.
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