facts and history in brief
Amazon River facts and history
Manaus facts and history in brief
Amazon rainforest covering
the Amazon River Basin is of about
6 million square kilometres and
is the world's largest tropical
Although two-thirds of South America's
rainforest lies in Brazil it also
occupies parts of Bolivia, Peru,
Ecuador, Colombia, Venezuela, Guyana,
Suriname, and French Guyana.
The average annual rainfall of 130
to 305 centimetres, with temperatures
around 27 °C.
trees in this rainforest grow in
The trees, called emergents, tower
above the rest of the forest and
may reach heights of 40 metres.
The upper canopy generally grows
25 to 30 metres high.
Plants called epiphytes, or air
plants, thrive in this layer of
the forest, including aroids, bromeliads,
ferns, liverworts, mosses, and orchids.
The lower canopies also consist
of saplings of the trees found in
the upper canopy, in addition to
smaller trees and shrubs.
Lianas wind around tree trunks and
branches, extending from the ground
to the upper canopy.
The canopies prevent much of the
sunlight from reaching the forest
Most of the soil is infertile in
the Amazon rainforest area.
The area contains a wider variety
of plant and animal life than any
other place on earth.
Tens of thousands of different plant
species live there, including some
economically important plants like
Brazil nuts, cocoa, curare, pineapples,
Over 1,500 species of birds, about
3,000 known species of fish and
as many as 30 million different
insect species may live in the forest
The forest is being cut down at
an alarming rate, which the timber
industry uses to make wood products.
Also large areas being burned down
to clear land to used for farming
Rapid population growth and increasing
demands for natural resources have
seriously threatening the Amazon
More than 10 per cent of the Amazon
rainforest has been destroyed.
Some of the cleared areas can regenerate,
but the regenerated areas are much
less diverse than the original forest
The large scale deforestation threatens
the world's climate and the culture
of the native peoples of the Amazon
Manaus on the Rio Negro River,
not far from where it merges with
the great Amazon River was another
place we've arrived in the middle
of the night.
Our negotiations with the tour operators
taken some time and after that it
didn't seem to be much point to
search for a hotel, so we waited
for the tour at the Airport.
Our tour included the sightseeing
of Manaus city, the Rivers Amazon
and Negro, their merging down stream,
exploration of the nearby Amazon
'rainforest' or 'jungle', fishing
and meeting some of the local indigenous
Our guide 'Jumbo" was a jovial 'welllll-built'
fellow, who's agility often surprised
us. We were assured to see lot of
'wildlife', such as crocodiles,
monkeys, iguanas, birds and piranhas.
As you've probably guessed, it wasn't
the day or we weren't the people
to see a lot of 'wildlife', although
it wasn't for a lack of trying.
We did catch some piranhas.
Jumbo and our boatman did spend
three hours after sunset showing
their torches around looking for
the shining eyes of the crocks in
the pitch dark jungle.
Of course no one told the crocks,
that we were looking for them, or
they just didn't want to be seen
We did enjoy our trip in the Amazon
We did see the confluence of the
two great rivers and the remarkable
different colours of the rivers,
which takes ten kilometres to mix
and merge completely.
Jumbo agreed to a very reasonable
price for the tour, but in the end
got even with us.
Coming ashore, he hailed a taxi
to the Airport and made us pay half
A bit disappointing, but it was
a thoroughly enjoyable and memorable
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