Situated in South America, Amazon Rainforest is the largest in the world. It consists of dense tropical forest and is also known as Amazonia. World’s greatest natural resource, the forest continuously recycles carbon dioxide into oxygen. Since Amazon rainforest produces 20% of world’s oxygen, it is aptly known as the “lungs of our planet”.
The river Amazon flows in this area and hence the name Amazon rainforest is derived. This river sustains this forest and a wide variety of natural vegetation which is unique in itself. The river Amazon starts its course from Peruvian Andes and flows eastwards over the Northern half of South America. Amazon rainforest receives 9 feet rain every year out of which 50% returns to the atmosphere through the thick foliage of trees.
|Countries||Brazil, Peru, Colombia, Venezuela, Ecuador, Bolivia, Guyana, Suriname, French Guiana|
|Part of||South America|
|Area||5,500,000 km² (2,123,562 sq mi)|
The Amazon River flowed westward falling into Pacific Ocean some 15 million years ago. The Andes Mountain slowly rose up thereby blocking the flow of river when the South American plate moved into another tectonic plate. As a result, fresh water lakes were formed changing the environment of Amazon basin due to the river system backing up. Slowly and gradually, the river changed its course eastwards towards Atlantic Ocean some 10 million years ago.
Amazon rainforest covers an area of 2.5 million square miles. It is spread over nine South American countries. These countries are Brazil, Colombia, Peru, Venezuela, Ecuador, Bolivia and the Guiana. It almost covers 2/3rd of the South American continent. The Amazon River flowing in this area is about 4,000 miles long with 1000 tributaries and it drains its waters into Atlantic Ocean, near Brazil. While traversing its course, it touches almost eight countries. If Amazon rainforest would have been a country, it would have been the 9th largest country in the world. A variety of natural vegetation, flora and fauna are found in Amazon rainforest.
Climate of every rainforest is more or less same. In case of Amazon rainforest also, the climate is very humid and hot. For the entire year the temperature stays almost constant and is about 79 degrees Fahrenheit. Seasonal and temperature changes are relatively less and it is significant to note that the temperature difference between day and night is greater than the difference between two seasons.
It constantly rains in this area. The moist year near the ground gets heated up thereby causing it to rise because of the large river basin and the tropical heat. Once it reaches its condensation point, it forms cloud and the process continues. It results into convectional rainfall. The rain starts as suddenly as it stops. Due to increase in indiscriminate deforestation, the rainfall in its area is decreasing day by day. The Amazon rainforest suffered severe draught in over 100 years in the year 2005. It raised lot of environmental concerns and environmentalists are looking for ways to control this deteriorating situation. It is very important to keep Amazon ecosystem thriving as its impacts are visible globally.
Amazon rainforest covers a huge area which is interspersed with a gigantic network of rivers. It has gained the reputation of a very popular tourist attraction as it offers an eco friendly way to explore exuberance of a jungle. Rich cultural life and attractions such as folk festival of the Boi-Bumbas of Parintins and the Amazonas Opera Festival lure tourists to this place. Cheerful people of this area exhibit their musical and artistic expressions with great enthusiasm. Manaus, its modern capital still exhibits images of its golden times. Many buildings and monuments constructed during the great rubber economic boom have been restored and they are a real attraction for the tourists coming to this area.