Biological diversity makes the Amazon Forest one of the most important natural reserves on the globe. The huge “sea green” trees make up four forest sets: the igapó forests, the forests of floodplains, the upland forests and rainforest.
The Amazon forest stands out for the extension of its forest areas, rivers and also for the diversity of ecosystems. Due to its geographic position at low latitudes, there is a large influx of solar radiation accompanied by high humidity with intense cloud formation, with rapid and concentrated rains being common at the end of the day. Because of this regularity, the Amazonian climate is considered one of the most constant in the country, with a profound interrelationship with the vegetal landscape.
According to Justinshoes, the Amazon Forest extends over an area of more than 3.5 million km 2 , encompassing lands in the Amazon lowland, but also areas of low plateaus and depressions.
This topographical variation alters the characteristics of the forest, which is subdivided into three levels. The lowest one, called Mata de Igapó, is formed in permanently flooded areas and is characterized by the presence of vegetation of lower height, adapted to wetlands.
In areas that suffer periodic flooding due to river floods, there is a larger stratum vegetation called Mata de Várzea, which for a long time was the preferential target of timber companies. A typical tree in this area is the rubber tree, from which latex is extracted to obtain natural rubber.
Finally, in the areas of the plateaus, with higher altitudes and, therefore, free from flooding, the largest trees in the forest appear, reaching more than sixty meters: it is the so-called Mata de Terra Firme, which has been decimated by loggers. These larger trees make up what is called the forest canopy, a kind of “green roof” that shades other species that live there.
Where does the name Amazon come from?
The name Amazonas was given by a Spanish friar named Gaspar de Carvajal. According to him, when traveling through the region in the first half of the 16th century, a group of women attacked his vessel, which, like the Amazons of Greek mythology, intended to enslave men in order to procreate and then kill them.
The diversity of these plant formations establishes an interdependence between climate, hydrography, soil and relief. All this biomass represents 50% of rainfall in the Amazon region, this high humidity is provided in part by the evapotranspiration of plants, and the other portion of moisture, by evaporation from rivers, lakes and lakes.
Evapotranspiration is a phenomenon that combines the transpiration of plants with the evaporation of water present on the surface.
Another striking and contradictory feature of the Amazon Forest concerns the low fertility of its soils. This situation highlights the fragility of this environment, which has in decomposing organic matter, arising from the remains of plants and animal debris, the only possibility of nutritional supply for the trees in the forest. Therefore, its devastation leads not only to an obvious risk to biodiversity but also to soil degradation.
Especially since the 1970s, the forest has been threatened by constant deforestation. The Ministry of the Environment estimated that, between August 2007 and July 2008, deforestation in the Amazon would reach 12 thousand km 2 per year, more than the 11 224 km 2 registered between August 2006 and July 2007. During this period, Pará and Mato Grosso were the deforestation champions.
It is important to remember that the existing ecosystems in the Amazon Forest are closely related to each other: any modification in one of its elements can alter the natural life in this habitat. For example, when trees are felled for agricultural use or because of mining, the elimination of the humus fertilizing layer at the base of the trees causes the laterization of the soils – that is, their transformation into rocks (laterites) – and siltation of the rivers.
One third of the approximately 30 million species of insects on the planet live in the Amazon. In addition, there are more than three hundred species of reptiles in this domain.