What is the first thing that comes to mind when you think of the Amazon rainforest? An endless sea of trees? Wild animals such as jaguars, toucans and sloths? The Amazon is a diverse region, inhabited by tribes and small communities. Not only that, but you will also find fast-growing cities such as Manaus and Belem.
Do you feel like venturing inside the forest? Deep inside the never-ending sea of green, you will also find plenty of diversity. Divided into four layers, you could even say that the rainforest is a major ecosystem consisting of smaller ones. The variety of trees and animals you will find there is simply incredible.
But what is life in the Amazon rainforest like? How do the local communities and tribes manage to survive? And what about the big cities in the region? This time, Slothino will take you on a journey to the world’s biggest rainforest. We are an eco-conscious casino brand, bringing important topics to light. When it comes to the best casino promotions while keeping up with the important environmental issues, Slothino is the place!
The Life of People in the Amazon
The deeper parts of the Amazon rainforest are sparsely inhabited. Only a few tribes, the majority still uncontacted, have made their homes there. On the other hand, major cities in and around other parts of the Amazon have developed significantly over the last decade. Manaus, the largest city in the Amazon with over 2.2 million inhabitants, is located in the heart of the forest. Belem, the second-largest city with just under 2.1 million inhabitants, is considered the gateway to the Amazon River.
The Amazon is also home to a number of small communities. Many of them rely on the Amazon River for subsistence, also harvesting fruits and seeds from the forest. Most families keep house gardens, while some communities also cultivate crops. Fishing is another important source of income for these small communities. Some of them, known as Ribeirinhos, live in stilt houses called ‘palafitas’. Ribeirinho communities rely mostly on fishing as their primary source of income, while also cultivating fruits and other edible plants.
Indigenous tribes have obviously changed quite dramatically after coming into contact with Europeans. Some of them, on the other hand, still live the same way as their ancestors did. They are also a living example, showing how to properly coexist with the rainforest. Indigenous tribes hunt, collect fruits, nuts and cultivate their own crops, always allowing the forest to renew its resources before collecting them again. However, these tribes are under constant threat. Heavily armed illegal loggers often find their way into indigenous territory, while land conflicts are also another major problem.
Plants and Animals – the Biodiverse Rich Amazon Rainforest Ecosystem
The Amazon Rainforest spans eight different countries – Brazil, Peru, Colombia, Ecuador, Bolivia, Venezuela, Guyana and Suriname – and French Guiana, an overseas territory. It’s the largest rainforest in the world, covering 2,1 million square miles and over 30% of the South American territory. One of the most biodiverse ecosystems in the world, the Amazon Rainforest has millions of different species – most of which are still undiscovered. It’s also home to over a third of all tropical tree species. Among the known species, the Amazon is home to jaguars, spiders, colorful tropical birds, poison frogs and the Amazon River dolphin, the largest freshwater dolphin in the world.
But how exactly do animal and plant species manage to survive in the Amazon Rainforest? The rainforest soil isn’t particularly fertile, which makes it hard for plants to draw nutrients from since the constant rain washes nutrients away. In order to make up for it, plants have evolved to develop shallow roots. Given that most nutrients come from dead organic matter, the surface is the richest layer. Because of this, their roots can’t reach too deep into the soil.
The forest consists of four layers – floor, understory, canopy and emergent trees. Since light doesn’t make it past the main canopy, you won’t find many plants at the ground level. Animals such as anteaters, jaguars, tapirs and other large mammals are the most common species. At the understory level, you will find shrubs and small trees, as well as plenty of lower plants and fungi. This is also where most insects make their home. Some smaller animals such as lizards and monkeys also live around the understory layer.
The canopy layer is where most animals live. Since it’s full of nuts and fruits while also providing natural camouflage from predators, the canopy is the perfect habitat for monkeys, sloths, lizards and birds. It consists of overlapping tall trees, over 100 feet above the ground level. Standing on top of it all, the emergent layer consists of incredibly tall trees. Conditions are actually very harsh, with direct sunlight, intense rainfall and strong winds. Despite this, emergent trees have survived by developing thin branches capable of spreading over long distances. This way, these trees can make the most of the space available to them, capturing sunlight and water. Some animals, such as birds of prey and a few monkeys, also live around the tall trees. Obtaining food can be quite tricky, as the branches can’t support too much weight. These animals are usually skilled at plucking fruits from the branches, while eagles and other birds have developed sharp eyes to quickly spot their prey.
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