In the unique Amazon Rainforest climate, an incredible variety of plants and animals have flourished and evolved.
Its location on the sphere of our Earth keeps the temperature warm all year, with more change between day and night than there is from one season to another.
The length of day and night are almost equal all year round, because of its equatorial position. It receives the same amount of light and heat from the Sun consistently.
You could sum up the Amazon Rainforest climate by saying there is a less-wet season and a more-wet season. This means more humidity year-round than some visitors are accustomed to, but you adapt to it.
The rainforest spans the basin of the Amazon River and reaches into 9 countries. No country is more blessed by the forest and its biodiversity than Brazil though. Thousands of different species of animals and tens of thousands of plant species call Brazil's rainforest their home, many of them are unique to the region.
Life has adapted to thrive and coexist in the delicate balance of this environment. With the beauty of that balance comes great risk in the case of substantial change within the ecosystem.
Nowhere else is it so easy to witness the give-and-take of nature than a rainforest. Species of plants and animals have grown to depend on each other and also benefit from each other, over millions of years.
There are 4 levels in a rainforest environment, which support their own unique systems. The sunlight and rainfall have to get through about 150 feet of leaves and plants in the emergent layer and canopy, before they reach the forest's understory and floor.
Fewer plants grow beneath the canopy, the ones that do must grow large leaves to collect more of the very dim light. In the treetops of the emergent layer, there is so much growth and activity that some creatures don't ever need to leave it.
The rainforest floor is teeming with life that helps organic material decompose and become topsoil fertilizer. The surface itself acts like a sponge, minimizing the runoff of useful nutrients, but also holding all of the minerals in the top few inches of soil.
Everything in the ecosystem of the river basin has developed in competition and coexistence with everything else. The living environment has even adapted to take advantage of the seasonal floods that have been common in the Amazon Rainforest climate for ages.
Some plants with fruits or berries are only eaten by aquatic creatures when the water level is highest, and that is how their seeds are spread. The water level affects reproduction of some frog species as well, since they lay their eggs in places where they expect the usual amount of rainfall.
The people who have lived in the Amazon Rainforest climate for atleast 10,000 years adapted their way of life to the forest, and the forest likewise adapted itself to their civilization.
Even humans are part of the ecosystem, using some of its resources and contributing to its cultivation.
Archaeologists no longer believe the Brazilian rainforest was mostly untouched by the hunters and gatherers who lived there for ages. They've found signs of large populations of people who used more advanced agriculture methods than were previously supposed.
The soil itself, they say, shows signs of centuries of cultivation before westerners arrived.
Indigenous people grew to understand the forest, to use it, and also to protect themselves from it without destroying it. Their lives depended on it. Their knowledge was passed down for generations and expanded upon by their descendants.
Some of their traditions are very much alive today in local cultures, but the indigenous population is decreasing and very few groups retain the full knowledge of their ancestors.
Today, locals prepare for and depend on regular flooding in the Amazon Rainforest climate. Homes in flood regions are often built on stilts just above the normal flood level, 30 or 40 feet high in some cases, to prevent damage.
High water is essential for fishing and easy travel by boat. It also helps to control some bug populations from becoming too much of a menace.
Low water levels, especially in the case of a drought, have an impact on all life in the forest. There are often fish die-offs, which affect the local populations of people and animals as well as plants that depend on fish to disperse their seeds.
Scientists have expressed concern that changes to the Amazon Rainforest climate could have a snowball effect, not only throughout the river basin itself, but around the world as well.
Air is perhaps the greatest natural resource the rainforest has to offer humanity and the planet.
Trees take carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and turn it into oxygen. Without this vital cycling of our air, the average global temperature rises and worldwide ecosystems are negatively affected.
From the Amazon alone, we get about 20% of our oxygen and we literally cannot live without it. That should be enough to inspire humanity to conserve the rainforest, but there is currently more discussion of taxing carbon emissions than conservation.
A tax would create more revenue for governments, but if that money isn't used to protect the rainforest it will not help us diminish our negative impact on Earth's environment.
Rainforest trees are being sacrificed to clear land for cattle ranches that provide leather to shoe manufacturers around the world. Logging, mining, and commercial farming cause a great deal of destruction every year.
It is estimated that the Amazon will not exist for more than 100 years if deforestation continues, but it may not take so long at all.
Some scientists fear that destruction of the river basin and nearby mountains already adversely affects the Amazon Rainforest climate. Severe droughts over the past decade have been linked to deforestation. When there is a drought, forest fires can wreak havoc on large portions of the Amazon.
The resources of the rainforest, conservationists say, are much more valuable to us when we protect and sustain it. There is an abundance of plant life we can study for treatment of diseases for example, much of the canopy is less explored than the depths of the oceans.
It's truly impossible to grasp the beauty of the Amazon without getting close enough to touch it. If you're able to visit and experience the rainforest first-hand, you will be most welcome. A friend of the forest is a friend of Brazil.
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