Amazon Rainforest

The Amazon rainforest (in Portuguese, Floresta Amazônica or Amazônia; Spanish: Selva Amazónica or Amazonia), also known as Amazonia or Amazon jungle, is a moist broadleaf forest that covers most of the Amazon Basin of South America. This basin encompasses seven million square kilometers (1.7 billion acres), of which five and a half million square kilometers (1.4 billion acres) 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%, and with minor amounts in Colombia, Venezuela, Ecuador, Bolivia, Guyana, Suriname and French Guiana. States or departments in four nations bear the name Amazonas after it. The Amazon represents over half of the planet's remaining rainforests, and it comprises the largest and most species-rich tract of tropical rainforest in the world. The Amazon rainforest was short-listed in 2008 as a candidate to one of the New7Wonders of Nature by the New Seven Wonders of the World Foundation. As of February 2009 the Amazon was ranking first in Group E, the category for forests, national parks and nature reserves Etymology The name Amazon is said to arise from a war Francisco de Orellana fought with a tribe of Tapuyas and other tribes from South America. The women of the tribe fought alongside the men, as was the custom among the entire tribe.[2] Orellana's descriptions may have been accurate, but a few historians speculate that Orellana could have been mistaking indigenous men wearing "grass skirts" for women. Orellana derived the name Amazonas from the ancient Amazons of Asia and Africa described by Herodotus and Diodorus in Greek legends.[2] Another etymology for the word suggests that it came originally from a native word amazona (Spanish spelling) or amassona (Portuguese spelling), meaning "destroyer (of) boats", in reference to the destructive nature of the root system possessed by some riparian plants.

and this was almost certainly associated with reduced moist tropical vegetation cover in the basin. the rainforest spanned a relatively narrow band that lay mostly above latitude 15°N. It appeared following a global reduction of tropical temperatures when the Atlantic Ocean had widened sufficiently to provide a warm. moist climate to the Amazon basin. the extinction of the dinosaurs and the wetter climate may have allowed the tropical rainforest to spread out across the continent. It expanded again during the Middle Miocene. and most of the region remained free of savanna-type biomes during that time period.[5] However. .[3][4] Following the Cretaceous–Tertiary extinction event. The rain forest has been in existence for at least 55 million years. following the evolutionary appearance of angiosperm plants.History The rainforest likely formed during the Eocene era. for example. There is evidence that there have been significant changes in Amazon rainforest vegetation over the last 21. however. the rainforest still managed to thrive during these glacial periods.[10] other scientists argue that the rainforest remained largely intact but extended less far to the north. south. the rainforest extended as far south as 45°.[11] This debate has proved difficult to resolve because the practical limitations of working in the rainforest mean that data sampling is biased away from the center of the Amazon basin. allowing for the survival and evolution of a broad diversity of species. isolated refugia separated by open forest and grassland. and east than is seen today. Climate fluctuations during the last 34 million years have allowed savanna regions to expand into the tropics. over how extensive this reduction was. During the Oligocene.000 years through the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM) and subsequent deglaciation. and both explanations are reasonably well supported by the available data. then retracted to a mostly inland formation at the last glacial maximum.[9] There is debate. Some scientists argue that the rainforest was reduced to small. From 65–34 Mya. Analyses of sediment deposits from Amazon basin paleolakes and from the Amazon Fan indicate that rainfall in the basin during the LGM was lower than for the present.