Amazon Basin and Rainforest

Amazon Basin and Rainforest

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The Amazon basin is the part of South America drained by the Amazon River and its tributaries. The Amazon drainage basin covers an area of about 7,500,000 km2 (2,900,000 sq mi), or roughly 40 percent of the South American continent. It is located in the countries of Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Peru, Suriname and Venezuela.[1]

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Most of the basin is covered by the Amazon Rainforest, also known as Amazonia. With a 5,500,000 km2 (2,100,000 sq mi) area of dense tropical forest, this is the largest rainforest in the world.

Languages

The most widely spoken language in the Amazon is Portuguese, followed closely by Spanish. On the Brazilian side Portuguese is spoken by at least 98% of the population, whilst in the Spanish-speaking countries a large number of speakers of indigenous languages are present, though Spanish is predominant.

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There are hundreds of native languages still spoken in the Amazon, most of which are spoken by only a handful of people, and thus are critically endangered. One of the more widely spoken indigenous languages in the Amazon is Nheengatu, which descends from the ancient Tupi language, originally spoken in the coastal and central regions of Brazil. It was brought to its present location along the Rio Negro by Brazilian colonizers who, until the mid-17th century, primarily used Tupi rather than the official Portuguese to communicate. Besides modern Nheengatu, other languages of the Tupi family are spoken there, along with other language families like , Arawak, Karib, Arawá, Yanomamo, Matsés and others.

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The Amazon rainforest (Portuguese: Floresta Amazônica or Amazônia; Spanish: Selva Amazónica, Amazonía or usually Amazonia; French: Forêt amazonienne; Dutch: Amazoneregenwoud), also known in English as Amazonia or the Amazon Jungle, is a moist broadleaf forest in the Amazon biome that covers most of the Amazon basin of South America. This basin encompasses 7,000,000 square kilometres (2,700,000 sq mi), of which 5,500,000 square kilometres (2,100,000 sq mi) are covered by the rainforest. This region includes territory belonging to nine nations. The majority of the forest is contained within Brazil, with 60% of the rainforest, followed by Peru with 13%, Colombia with 10%, and with minor amounts in Venezuela, Ecuador, Bolivia, Guyana, Suriname and French Guiana. States or departments in four nations contain “Amazonas” in their names. The Amazon represents over half of the planet’s remaining rainforests,[1] and comprises the largest and most biodiverse tract of tropical rainforest in the world, with an estimated 390 billion individual trees divided into 16,000 species.[2]

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