Your Destination in Brazil
The Amazon Rainforest
Amazonas, State of Brazil, located in the northwestern corner of the country. It is the largest Brazilian State by area and the 9th largest country subdivision in the world.
Neighboring states are (from the north clockwise) Roraima, Pará, Mato Grosso, Rondônia, and Acre. It borders Peru, Colombia and Venezuela.
Amazonas is named after the Amazon River, and was formerly part of the Spanish Viceroyalty of Peru, a region called Spanish Guyana. It was settled by the Portuguese in the early 18th century and incorporated into the Portuguese empire after the Treaty of Madrid in 1750. It became a state of the Brazilian Republic in 1889.
Most of the state is tropical jungle; cities are clustered along navigable waterways and are accessible only by boat or plane. The capital and largest city is Manaus, a modern city of 1.7 million inhabitants in the middle of the jungle on the Amazon River 1,500 km upstream from the Atlantic Ocean. Nearly half the state's population lives in the city; the other large cities, Parintins, Manacapuru, Itacoatiara, Tefé, and Coari are also along the Amazon River in the eastern half of the state.
The Remote Adventure in
The World's Largest Rainforest
The state is home to the highest mountain in Brazil, Pico da Neblina, a tepui which stands at 2,994 metres (9,823 ft) above sea level.
The average temperature varies very little by season, between 26–28 °C. The rainfall varies from 50 to 250 mm per month, averaging 2100 mm per year. Most of the state is in the tropical rainforest climate zone, a type of tropical climate in which there is no dry season—all months have mean precipitation values of at least 60 mm. Its latitude is within five degrees of the equator—which is dominated by the Intertropical Convergence Zone. The equatorial climate is denoted Af in the Köppen climate classification.
Aerial view of the Amazon Rainforest, near Manaus.
Amazonas is almost entirely covered by the Amazon Rainforest, 98% according to officials, and it is divided into three types of habitat, viz:
igapos – permanently flooded land, roots of vegetation always submerged
varzeas – higher than igapos, land is only submerged when rivers are at their highest during the wet season
low plateau – higher still, never submerged
The Amazon represents over half of the planet's remaining rainforests and comprises the largest and most species-rich tract of tropical rainforest in the world. Wet tropical forests are the most species-rich biome, and tropical forests in the Americas are consistently more species rich than the wet forests in Africa and Asia. As the largest tract of tropical rainforest in the Americas, the Amazonian rainforests have unparalleled biodiversity. More than 1⁄3 of all species in the world live in the Amazon Rainforest, and species are discovered on an almost daily basis. The largest biodiversity of the planet is present across the State of Amazonas, generating great surprise in its visitors.
This population represents 1.8% of the population in Brazil.
The chief commercial cities are: Benjamin Constant, Tefé, Lábrea, Eirunepe, Manicoré, Barcelos, Manacapuru, Itacoatiara and Parintins.
The Manaus city is the capital and largest city in the Amazonas State.
The state achieved a very great population growth in the early 20th century, due to the golden period of rubber, and after installation of the Industrial Pole of Manaus, in the 1960s. The state still maintains population rates above the national average. In the 1950s the state had a population growth of 3.6% per year, while Brazil has maintained a growth of 3.2%. In the period between the years 1991 and 2000, Amazon grew by 2.7% per annum while the national average remained at 1.6%. For 2010, the estimate is 3,473,856 inhabitants .
The composition of Amazonian population by gender shows that for every 100 female residents of the state there are 96 men; this small imbalance between the sexes is because women have a life expectancy of eight years higher than that of men. However, the migration to the state is mostly male.
The capital, Manaus is the largest city in the northern region, with about 1.7 million inhabitants. 45% of the state's population lives in the city. Amazonas is the second largest precinct in northern Brazil, with 2,030,549 voters, according to the Superior Electoral Court.
Urbanization: 77.6% (2006); Population growth: 3.3% (1991–2000); Houses: 819,000 (2006).
The last PNAD (National Research for Sample of Domiciles) census revealed the following numbers: 2,489,000 Brown (Multiracial) people (74.3%), 703,000 White people (21.0%), 144,000 Black people (4.3%), 13,000 Asian or Amerindian people (0.4%).
Interesting Facts About the Amazon
Taking up most of the Amazon Basin, the Amazon rainforest is mostly contained within Brazil, and stretches into Peru, Ecuador, Bolivia, and smaller parts in some other South American countries.
Here are ten interesting facts about the Amazon (and rainforests in general) that you may not have heard before.
1. Around 80% of the food we eat originally came from rainforests. Some of the more popular examples include coffee, chocolate, rice, tomatoes, potatoes, bananas, black pepper, pineapples and corn. At The Inside Track we basically live on coffee. That’s reason enough to save the rainforest!
2. Tropical rainforests only cover about 6% of the Earth’s surface, but they are home to more than half the world’s total plant and animal species.
3. The forest floor is almost completely dark – with less that 1% of the available sunlight making it through the tree canopy above.
4. There are around 3000 fruits found in rainforests, and in the west we make use of around 200 of them. However, indigenous tribes make use of over 2000!
5. The rainforests have begun to be destroyed in the last 100 years to make way for farm land. Today, the rainforests are being destroyed by 1.5 acres every second. That’s not a typo.
6. With deforestation continuing at such a fast rate, we’ve created the most rapid extinction rate in the history of the world. 137 rainforest species are exterminated completely every single day.
Over half the world’s plants and animals can be found in the rainforests.
7. Over a quarter of the medicines we use today have their origins in the rainforests – and that’s after only about 1% of rainforest plants have been examined for their medicinal properties. Imagine what else could be there? It’s not outlandish to think that our best chance of curing the diseases that plague our world could lie within the rainforest. But with so many species exterminated every day, we may never find out.
8. We often think that the soil in the rainforest is really fertile to support such a huge range of plant and animal life. But rainforest land is not really any good for farming. Once cleared, the soil is of such low quality that it can hardly be used to grow anything. After a year or two of farming, the land is totally bereft of nutrients – leaving a useless patch of land.
9. Some people call the rainforests ‘the world’s lungs’, but decomposition of plant matter absorbs as much oxygen as the trees produce. It’s probably more accurate to think of them as having a cooling effect on the global climate, as they absorb a huge amount of heat from the sun. About 30% of our carbon emissions come from one thing – burning the rainforests.
10. If deforestation continues, we’ll completely lose the rainforests within the next 40 years.
Clearly now is the time to visit this amazing region learn more about this natural marvel and to help gain and spread awareness about how urgent the need to save the rainforest is. Stay in jungle lodges or riverboats and take in the beauty of this biologically diverse region.