Biodiversity in the Amazon Rainforest and Basin
Found in South America, the Amazon rainforest is often called the “Lungs of the Earth”. This is because it is believed that the forest provides at least 20% of the oxygen in the earth as its trees synthesize carbon and produce the air we breathe. The forest is found on 1.2 billion acres of land and runs through Brazil, Peru, Colombia, Bolivia, Venezuela and the Guyanas.
There are many aspects of the Amazon rainforest that make it unique. These include:
- Wide range of trees. Scientists state that the Amazon rainforest has more trees than any other forest in the entire world. According to the surveys carried out in this area, there are 400 billion trees in the Amazon rainforest. These belong to 16000 species of trees and no other rainforest in the world has as many species of trees. The different species of trees within this forest include nut trees, rubber trees, chocolate, acai berries, grapefruit and several other different fruit trees. Scientists state that over 200 fruits that are eaten in North America come from the Amazon rainforest. The indigenous people living in the forest eat over 2000 types of fruits from the forest.
- The Amazon rainforest also has a wide range of animals. These thrive both in the forest and in the Amazon River which cuts through across the forest. Amongst the predatory creatures that tread on the lands of this massive forest include the cougar, jaguar, anaconda and the black caiman. There are several other types of mammals and reptiles that live in the forest but these are the most dangerous. In total 427 mammals, 378 reptiles and 428 amphibians live in this forest.
- Birds and insects. Besides, animals, the Amazon rainforest is home to several birds and insects. Scientists estimate that the forest is home to 1,294 species of birds and 2.5 million insects.
- Indigenous people. In the 15th century, the Amazon rainforest was said to have around 2million indigenous people inhabiting it. This figure has greatly reduced due to the occupation of the forest by developers, miners and immigrants. Today, experts state that only 250,000 of these indigenous groups have remained. 50 of these indigenous people live in the deepest part of the forest where the rest of the world has never ventured into.
Dangers of the Amazon rainforest
Despite this biodiversity, the Amazon rainforest is considered one of the most dangerous places in South America. This is because some of the most dangerous animals, birds and insects live in the forest. Some of these inhabit the land while others live in the river. The vampire bat is one of the dangerous animals that inhabit the Amazon rainforest. It sucks blood from its victims and is also known to spread rabies.
The electric eel is yet another animal found in this forest. This mostly lives in the Amazon River and is considered dangerous because it can electrocute its opponents. There are also many species of poisonous frogs which inhabit the forest. These produce toxic alkaloids through their flesh which are harmful. The predatory animals such as jaguar and cougar can kill human beings in an instant. There are also harmful parasites in the forest that can spread yellow fever, dengue fever and malaria.
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