Where is the Amazon Rainforest, ie its country and continent?

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Tom Peach                10D6



1 Where is the Amazon Rainforest, ie its country and continent?

The Amazon is one of the world's great rainforests. The Amazon river runs 3,000 miles from the Andes to the sea, and is longer than any river but the Nile. The vast Amazon basin covers more than two and a half million square miles, more than any other rainforest. The Amazon spreads across much of South America.

Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Brazil and Venezuela all have Amazonian regions.

2 How big an area does it cover?

The amazon rainforest covers approxiamately 1.2 billion acres. This would be able to cover britain many times over.

3 What is the area’s physical geography, eg climate and relief?

The amazon is a wet, green land rich in plant life. The tropical climate is tempered by the heavy rainfall (exceeding 150 in./381 cm annually in parts of the upper and lower regions) and by high relative humidity. The Tropical Rainforest is a forest occurring in tropical areas of heavy rainfall. It is abundant with many species of wildlife and vegetation. Rainforests cover less than two percent of the Earth's surface. They are home to some 50 to 70 percent of all life forms on our planet. Rainforests are the most productive and most complex ecosystems on Earth.

The tallest trees and are usually over 50 metres tall. The Kapok tree is an example of one of these. The sea of leaves blocking out the sun from the lower layers is called the canopy. The canopy contains over 50% of the rainforest wildlife. This includes birds, snakes and monkeys. Lianas (vines) climb to the canopy to reach this sun light.

The under canopy mainly contains bare tree trunks and lianas.

     The shrub layer has the densest plant growth. It contains shrubs and ferns and other plants needing less light. Saplings of emergents and canopy trees can also be found here.

     The forest floor is usually dark and damp. It contains a layer of rotting leaves and dead animals called litter. This decomposes rapidly (within 6 weeks) to form a thin humus, rich in nutrients.

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4 What are the reasons for felling the trees (deforestation)?

Commercial logging, clearance for agriculture, roads and railways, forest fires, mining and drilling, fuelwood collection and clearance for living space are all intimately connected with deforestation, but it is far from obvious as to which is the worst culprit.

People have been living in and around tropical rain forests for tens of thousands of years, taking what they needed from the wealth of natural resources available without compromising their environment. However, in the last two centuries populations have expanded, requiring more and more space for ...

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