The Amazon Rainforest
The Amazon Rainforest is a vast 5.5 million square mile jewel that is the home to the densest concentration of plant, insect and animal species on Earth. It is the home of 50 to 70 percent of all life forms on our planet. Amazon Rainforest are the most productive and most complex ecosystems on earth.
The most distinctive characteristic of the tropical Amazon rainforest is probably its enormous richness; no other major ecological community has so many kinds of plants and animals. In the Ecolodge, more than 500 species of birds can be found, and in just one hectare over 300 tree species.
Amazon Rainforests are the most species-rich biome, and rainforests in the Americas are consistently more species rich than the rainforests in Africa and Asia. As the largest tract of Amazon rainforest in the Americas, the Amazonian rainforests have unparalleled biodiversity. One in ten known species in the world lives in the Amazon Rainforest. This constitutes the largest collection of living plants and animal species in the world.
The Amazon Rainforest 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, 2,200 fishes, 1,294 birds, 427 mammals, 428 amphibians, and 378 reptiles have been scientifically classified in the region. One in five of all the bird species in the world live in the rainforests of the Amazon, and one in five of the fish species live in Amazonian rivers and streams.
The biodiversity of plant species is the highest on Earth with some experts estimating that one square kilometer (247 acres) may contain more than a thousand types of trees and thousands of species of other higher plants. According to a 2001 study, a quarter square kilometer (62 acres) of Ecuadorian rainforest supports more than 1,100 tree species.
One square kilometer (247 acres) of Amazon rainforest can contain about 90,790 tonnes of living plants. The average plant biomass is estimated at 356 ± 47 tonnes per hectare. 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 catalogued.
The green leaf area of plants and trees in the rainforest varies by about 25% as a result of seasonal changes. Leaves expand during the dry season when sunlight is at a maximum, then undergo abscission in the cloudy wet season. These changes provide a balance of carbon between photosynthesis and respiration.