Exploring the Biodiversity of the Amazon

Written by Mariana Santos

ArqBahia team of authors.

Hey guys! Today we are going to dive deep into the incredible biodiversity of the Amazon, a true jewel of nature. The Amazon, formed by the union of the Amazon River basin and the Amazon rainforest, is home to the greatest biodiversity on the planet. Let's explore together this natural wealth that makes up a third of all forests in the world and exerts a crucial influence on the global climate.

The Amazon in Numbers

With an extension of 6,900,000 square kilometers, with more than 4 million and 196 thousand km² in Brazilian territory, the Amazon extends across Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, French Guiana, Peru, Suriname and Venezuela. This region is home to between 30 and 40 thousand species of plants, trees and flowers, including the coveted mahogany and rubber tree. The forests are divided into terra firma, floodplain and igapó, each with its unique characteristics.

The Amazon River Basin

The Amazon River basin, with more than 7 million square kilometers, represents 42% in the national territory, totaling more than 4 million km². Main tributaries, such as the Rio Negro, Rio Madeira, Rio Xingu and Rio Tapajós, contribute to forming the largest river basin on the planet. This vast expanse of fertile land in the floodplain allows for abundant agriculture and fishing rich in diversity, essential for riverside communities.

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The Amazon Fauna

When exploring the Amazon, we come across an unimaginable richness of life. With thousands of catalogued species, the region is home to amphibians, birds, insects, mammals, fish and reptiles, forming a complex food chain. Surprisingly, many ornamental fish legally traded in Brazil originate from the Amazon. Our pet friends can have roots in the incredible diversity of this region.

The Exclusive Fruits of the Amazon

Given the variety of soils in the Amazon, the biome is a storehouse of endemic fruits. Brazil, as a whole, leads the production and export of various fruits, some exclusive to the Amazon region. Of these, we can mention:

Açaí: it is a very popular fruit throughout Brazil, which comes from the palm tree, which produces between three and four bunches per year, each with 3 to 6 kg of fruit. The fruits are round and dark purple in color, almost black, when ripe, and have an edible and tasty pulp. Açaí is a food rich in nutrients, such as fiber, anthocyanins (antioxidants), minerals, especially manganese and chromium, and vitamin E.

Cupuaçu: the pulp can be extracted and used to prepare ice creams, juices, jellies, sweets, mousses, chocolates and yogurts. Additionally, the dried seeds are used to make white chocolate.

Guarana: its main nutritional characteristic is the amount of caffeine, which varies between 2 and 5% (dry weight), which may be higher than that of coffee (1 to 2%), mate (1%) and cocoa (0.7%). Guarana powder, extracts and syrups can be obtained from its seed.

Camu-camu: they are spheres the size of cherries, with a more resistant skin than the acerola, and, when the skin is broken, the pulp is found, which is wrapped in a single seed. This fruit, rich in vitamin C, is not widely consumed fresh, however, it can be used to make soft drinks, ice creams, popsicles, jellies and sweets.

Brazil nut or Brazil nut: a very popular oilseed and appreciated by Brazilians, mainly for its nutritional benefits. These nuts contain good fats (poly and monounsaturated) which, in addition to promoting a feeling of satiety, can protect heart health when consumed in adequate amounts. They are also rich in selenium, a mineral with antioxidant properties, which helps prevent cellular aging and strengthen the immune system and body function.

Indigenous Peoples of the Amazon

We cannot talk about the Amazon without mentioning its original inhabitants, the indigenous people. Representing 0.49% of the Brazilian population, around 870 thousand Indians live in various nations, the majority of them in the Amazon. Their sustainable practices, respect for hierarchy, religious precepts and their unique forms of cultural expression make the indigenous peoples of the Amazon a vital and preserving component of this ecosystem.

We concluded our exploratory journey in the Amazon with an invitation to reflect on the importance of preserving this natural wonder and respecting the communities that live there. Stay tuned for more incredible discoveries.

References

todomateria.com.br

todomateria.com.br

scielo.br

bbc.com

brasilescola.uol.com.br

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