The Amazon Rainforest


Amazon In GREEK MYTHOLOGY a member of a race of women warriors. One of the labors of HERACLES was to obtain the girdle of the Amazon queen Hippolyte. In another tale, THESEUS attacked the Amazons, and they responded by invading Attica, where they were defeated; Theseus married the Amazon Antiope. In ancient Greek art, Amazons resembled ATHENA (with weapons and helmet) and later ARTEMIS (in a thin dress girded high for speed. On a map of South America a thick line cuts across the country of Brazil all the way from the Andes Mountains in Peru to the Atlantic Ocean. That line traces the mighty Amazon River. The other lines that lead into it are major rivers too. Altogether they make up one of the world's greatest river systems, carrying more total water than any other.Why is the river called 'Amazon'? Many years ago, in 1541, a Spanish soldier named Orellana sailed down the river. He had to fight many women soldiers who lived by the river. It made him think of the Amazons, who were the mighty women soldiers of Greek mythology. So he called the river 'Amazon'.

The Amazon is a region of superlatives: it spans the borders of eight countries; it is the world's largest river basin and the source of one-fifth of the Earth's freshwater; it has the world's highest diversity of birds and freshwater fish; it is the planet's largest and most luxuriant rainforest in which, amazingly, live more than one third of all species in the world.It encompasses 1.2 billion acres (7 million kmē), with parts located within nine nations: Brazil (with 60% of the rainforest), Colombia, Peru, Venezuela, Ecuador, Bolivia, Guyana, Suriname and French Guiana. This forest represents over half of the planet's remaining rainforests. States or departments in four nations bear the name Amazonas for the Amazon.

The region is home to 2.5 million insect species, tens of thousands of plants, and some 2000 birds and mammals. The diversity of plant species is the highest on earth with some experts estimating that one square kilometre may contain over 75,000 types of trees and 150,000 species of higher plants. One square kilometre of Amazon rainforest can contain about 90,000 tons of living plants. This constitutes the largest collection of living plants and animal species in the world. One in five of all the birds in the world live in the rainforests of the Amazon. To date, an estimated 438,000 species of plants of economic and social interest have been registered in the region with many more remaining to be discovered or cataloged.

Today, despite the population decimation, natives peoples still live in American rainforests, although virtually all have been impacted by the modern world. Instead of wearing traditional garb, most Amerindians wear western clothes and many use metal pots, pans, and utensils for everyday life. Some groups make handicrafts to sell to tourists, while others make routine trips to cities to bring foods and wares to market. Almost no native group obtains the majority of their food by traditional nomadic hunting and gathering and nearly all cultivate foods with hunting, gathering, and fishing serving as a secondary or supplementary food sources. Generally a family has two gardens: a small house garden with a variety of plants, and a larger plantations which may be one hectare in area planted with bananas, manioc, or rice. These plantations are created through the traditional practice of slash and burn, a method of forest clearing that is not all that damaging to the forest if conducted in the traditional manner.

Today almost no forest Amerindians live in their fully traditional ways. Perhaps only a few small groups in the Amazon basin can still claim to do so. One of these, the Tageri (part of the Waorani group), are threatened by oil development in Ecuador. Their plight has become an international battle between environmentalists, human rights activists, the government, and the oil industry.

The vast river basin of the River Amazon, nearly as big as Europe, contains in its lower reaches a complex of lakes, creeks, flooded forest and marshland with fresh water dolphins and, in the floods, giant otters hunting fish through submerged tree branches whilst in the canopy monkeys and macaws ignore the waters below.
The most popular Amazon national parks are Serra do Divisor National Park,Cabo Orange National Park,Tumucumaque Mountains National Park and Mamiraua. Mamiraua is an astonishing place and provides full services for tourists, including a floating hotel. The area of Mamiraua is probably the most beautiful in the whole Amazon rainforest. The whole region is made of flooded forest and you can enter the forest with a canoe or just do trekking in the marked trails for tourists. To go to Mamiraua you need to go to City of Tefe , in the Amazonas State .

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