What is the Amazon Rainforest

Amazon rainforest
Photo: cifor

The Amazon rainforest is the biggest forest in the world and is also the last big space covered with tropical plants and animals. The Amazon forest territory is a tropical rainforest that is located in the north side of the South American continent and is shared by 9 countries: Brazil, Bolivia, Ecuador, Peru, Colombia, Venezuela, Suriname, French Guiana and Guiana. Travel through the area can be difficult, and a guide or a river tour are the best options to see the natural wonders of the region.

The largest part of is located in Brazil (60%) and covers almost half of that country. The space covered with the forest is 5.5 million square kilometers (3.4 million square miles ). When the Old World explorers reached the Americas they were all looking for gold, silver and gems. The Portuguese explorers that colonized Brazil believed that somewhere in that huge forest they would find the “Eldorado”, an entire city made of gold that has an almost intangible value. This hoax came along with the myth that the Eldorado was guarded by the women warrior race of the Amazons.


Expeditions started to go up the Amazon River trying to find the Eldorado. There was a race to find the gold before the Spanish and French arrived, and found it on their own. They never found the Eldorado or the Amazons, but the name was set.

The “Rain” forest is a nickname that describes the humidity that you find in tropical and equatorial forests, but it doesn’t rain all the time. Tropical rain forests are always located near the equator, and are very hot. All this heat associated with great portions of water make a lot of evaporation into the air. The forest also helps to retain water in their branches, roots and soil. All of this makes these forests very humid and there’s a well defined rainy season that works towards the establishment of this nickname for tropical and equatorial forests.

All this heat, rain and humidity make these forests a very rich ecosystem or habitat for many organisms. A rainforest has trees, like any other forest, but they are very different from the temperate forest you are used to seeing in colder places like in US, Europe and parts of Asia. There are 120 foot trees, thousands of different species of plants, and all sort of rainforest animals including the red eyed tree frog, insects, birds, reptiles, amphibians and mammals. The rainforest canopy is home to thousands of animal species. The bio diversity one can experience here is unparalleled. And the most amazing part is that all this apparent chaos is actually a very balanced system, a product of million of years of evolution and natural selection.

But the forest is not only populated by animals and plants, there are many humans there too. The Indians are part of the equilibrium that existed there for thousands of years. The indigenous tribes of the forest live off the land as their ancestors have for thousands of years. The other humans, not native, have settled there for different reasons, but are always looking for opportunities in this unexplored land. Sometimes (usually) this has a negative impact over the forest. The idea of learn how to live from the forest by the forest is something that is not easy, but not impossible either. There are many examples of sustainable use. This type of information needs to become more popular, as deforestation is becoming a danger to the existence of the forest. While logging and forest clearing may be profitable in the short run, in the long run it is a danger to the amazon. It is also a danger the growing eco tourism that is a major attraction to the Amazon for tourists.

Amazonia is a huge and very complex place where nature created a unique set of biological and geological cycles, hardly seen in other places, and where mankind developed different cultures, languages, and art. The mysteries and awe around the Amazon jungle is something we should know and need to protect. There are several programs where on can buy an acre to save the land from harm.

What can you do to help save the planet? Recycling is extremely important.

Trying to cut down on the amount of paper products you use will conserve one of the natural wonders of the earth.

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