New 7 Wonders of the World – Amazon

The new 7 wonders of the world were provisionally chosen today 11-11-11. I say provisional because the final winners will be announced in early 2012. Ecuador has a large section of the Amazon, one of the winners. http://www.new7wonders.com/

The Amazon or jungle region, it is an accessible area., the biologically richest area anywhere on earth.  There are innumerable varieties of flora, including many of Ecuador’s 4,500 species of orchids, and many plants with medicinal value.  Wildlife such as butterflies, bats, monkeys, sloths, parrots, macaws, river dolphins and caimans are all relatively easy to view. 

The Ecuadorian Amazon offers a wide range of activities including swimming, canoe journeys, rain forest walks, bird watching, animal spotting and visits to local jungle communities.  The Amazon accounts for little more than 5% of the total population but here there are small communities of Indians such as the Huaorani, Cofan, Shuar, and Siona-Secoya who live in jungle villages and carry on with many of their ancient traditions.  The Amazon also has some of the finest white water rafting routes in the country.

The Amazon rainforest 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, followed by Peru and with smaller amounts in Colombia, Venezuela, Ecuador, Bolivia, Guyana, Suriname and French Guiana. 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 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. 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.

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.
The first European to travel the length of the Amazon River was Francisco de Orellana in 1542.

One in ten known species in the world live in the Amazon Rainforest. This constitutes the largest collection of living plants and animal species in the world.
The region is home to about 2.5 million insect species, tens of thousands of plants, and some 2,000 birds and mammals. To date, at least 40,000 plant species, 3,000 fish, 1,294 birds, 427 mammals, 428 amphibians, and 378 reptiles have been scientifically classified in the region.

One in five of all the birds in the world live in the rainforests of the Amazon. Scientists have described between 96,660 and 128,843 invertebrate species in Brazil alone.
The diversity of plant species is the highest on Earth with some experts estimating that one square kilometer may contain more than a thousand types of trees and thousands of species of other higher plants. A quarter of square kilometer of Ecuadorian rainforest supports more than 1,100 tree species.
One square kilometer of Amazon rainforest can contain about 90,790 tonnes of living plants.

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