Environment and Nature in the Amazon

  • Leslie E. Sponsel
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4020-4425-0_8569

The Amazon is bordered by the Andes Mountains, Guyana Highlands, Brazilian Highlands, and the Atlantic Ocean. The Amazon is about the size of the continental United States of America. Portions of the Amazon are included within the territories of nine South American countries: French Guiana, Surinam, Guyana, Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, and Brazil. However, about 80% of the Amazon is in Brazil.

The Amazon remains a mystery to most outsiders, but their impressions are often more fiction than fact. Demystifying the Amazon requires an understanding of its diversity and human residents. Here biological, indigenous, and colonial ecologies are briefly considered.

Biological Ecology

About half of the world's tropical rain forest is in the Amazon region, the largest reservoir of biological diversity in the world. Typically within just a few square miles of forest live more than a thousand species of plants and hundreds of species each of birds, mammals, amphibians, and reptiles....

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