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The Amazon Tropical Jungle, The Place With The Highest Variety of Species In the World

By Dr. Vreugdenhil

The 7,000,000 km2 Amazon watershed overlaps with 9 countries, of which 2/3 is in Brazil, 1/8 in Peru, 1/10 in Colombia and the rest is situated in Venezuela, Ecuador, Bolivia, Guyana, Suriname and French Guiana. The majority of the area is still covered with forest.

The Amazon River is the longest river in the world with 6,500 km from the furthest points of the origins in Peru and Bolivia to the mouth in the Atlantic Ocean and it has the largest watershed in the world. The majority of the upper-watershed in the Andes countries is very hilly, reason for which, there aren't many lakes in the Amazon regions of the Andes countries. []

The climate in the Amazon rainforest is hot and humid, with yearly temperatures averaging about 26C. The abundance rainfall is caused by convection: surface water evaporates and as it rises it cools down, after which it condenses and falls down as rain, thus continuously recycling the water basin. Additional water originates from rivers from run off from snow peaked mountains in the Andes.

Having a stunning 40,000 types of plants, the Amazon basin has the greatest the greatest number of species known in the world. For Brazil alone, between 100,000 and 130,000 varieties of invertebrates have already been documented. Bird species are represented with up to 2,000 species and mammals with about 430 species. Reptiles make up 380 varieties, while there are as many as 425 types of amphibians as well as a stunning 2,200 varieties of fishes.

A 2001 study executed within the Ecuadorian Amazon Rainforest, demonstrated that the highest variety of species on the planet can be found in the Cuyabeno Reserve where more than 1,000 species were found on a single ha of forest. Obviously, for visitors and also for visiting scientists such extreme variety of species is not noticeable

To casual visitors The existence of slow flowing streams and lakes is a lot more important than extreme species variety. That is because, it is not easy to see wildlife as it moves about high up in the crowns of the trees. To the observer on the forest floor, wildlife moving about through the tree crowns is tough to see, as the contrast between the light of the sky and the leaves blinds a persons vision, making the leaves look almost black. Observation from narrow rivers, However, is far better, since the light shines onto the lower branches and shrubs where many animals perch. But areas with slow flowing streams and lakes are rare in the Andes countries, and just the Cuyabeno Wildlife Reserve boasts such conditions. []

Logistically, too, Cuyabeno is special. It is accessible from capital Quito by a 30 minutes flight and an additional hour and half bus ride over an asphalt road. Little wonder that Tripadvisor elected Cuyabeno among the 25 greatest destinations within Latin America and the Cuyabeno Lodge as its prime provider of exquisite Amazon tours!

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Ditulis oleh: Faisal Reza Siregar - Monday, February 18, 2013

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