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Useful Notes / The Amazon Rainforest

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The Amazon rainforest, localized in the north of South America, is the biggest rainforest in the world, with more than 6 million km2 or 3,700 million miles of extension, considered to be the place with more biological diversity of the planet. Its ecosystems revolve around the Amazon River watershed, the biggest river in the world in volume, which is born at the Andes in Peru and flows into the Atlantic Ocean in Brazil. The river is also called Uicaiali, Urubamba and Marañón, and also receives the name of Solimões in Brazil before it meets the Negro River in the state of Amazonas. Aside from the Amazon River, other important waterways are some of its tributarians, like the Negro, Tapajós, Xingu, Pastaza, Huallaga, Javari, Içá and Madeira Rivers. It is surrounded by the Chaco and the Cerrado on its South and meets the Caatinga by its East.

This tropical rainforest covers most of the Amazon basin in South America, mostly composed by plains, plateaus and depressions. About 60% of the rainforest is in Brazil, along with 13% in Peru, 10% in Colombia, and smaller portions in other countries, such as Ecuador, Bolivia, Guyana, Suriname and Venezuela, including the Guiana Amazonian Park in French Guiana. Several species of piranhas, insects, jaguars, macaws, capybaras, manatees, river dolphins, anacondas, primates of several kinds, toucans and electric eels are among the most well known animals that can be found in the region, and the local fauna is much more diverse than that (to the point that a full list of known species would be much longer than the rest of the article's text), with millions of plant species being found there as well. Its climate is predominantly humid equatorial, with high air humidity and lots of rain — between 1500 and 3600 mm per year, or about 60 and 142 inches.

The forest is the subject of several stereotypes across media. Despite what it may seem from some works, the Amazonic region has several modern cities and well-developed economic centers, such as the Manaus free trade zone in the Brazilian state of Amazonas. While the demographic concentration is indeed very low, especially compared to other South American regions, it still has more than 38 million people, a portion of those indigenous populations — both in cities and other communities and in reserves — who have lived in the place for thousands of years.
Another information is how the Amazonian soil is actually acid and poor in nutrients, and thus pretty bad for agriculture; the reason why the forest thrives is because it recycles its own nutrients through the decomposition of organic matter on the surface of the forest floor and rivers, such as fallen leaves, twigs, excrement, dead animals and plants and others. This makes the deforestation a bigger problem, since without the organic matter for the forest to reutilize, it gets harder to reforest the biome once the rain leaches away the plant litter and important nutrients such as nitrogen, sulfur, and phosphorus from the soil, not to mention the exposure to erosion. The exception is the "Terra Preta" (black soil in Portuguese), a type of highly fertile soil found through the Amazon basin which, according to more recent theories, was artificially and intentionally created by Indigenous Pre-Columbian Civilizations using organic matter, ashes, charcoal, pottery etc. in order to improve the fertility and help agriculture.

Another common misconception is the belief that the Amazon is the world's lungs, in reference to how its plants constantly produce oxygen gas through photosynthesis. While it is true that the rainforest produces enormous amounts of oxygen, it is now known that it also consumes all of that very same oxygen when breathing through cellular respiration, since, as a mature forest, the jungle is on the photic compensation point; it is, the amount of oxygen produced and used by the vegetation is almost the same note . The true main producers of oxygen gas in the world are the phytoplankton in the ocean, who are not on the compensation point and liberate more O2 than they use due to many factors.
This doesn't mean in any way, however, that this forest isn't a true blessing for the planet in several other ways: besides the vast economical and medical importance its biodiversity has for us, the Amazon also launches countless liters of water into the atmosphere everyday through the evapotranspiration of the plants, which is fundamental to the equilibrium of global ecosystem, climate and the water cycle. If it weren't for the so called "flying rivers" produced by the Amazon, several climates in South America would be much more arid, if not desertic, and many important rivers would dry up; The Brazilian Southeast, for example, would most likely be irreversibly dry and arid if the Amazon were deforested, akin to other regions from the same latitude, like the Namibian desert. Thus, while the Amazon may not be the world's oxygen producer, it is certainly its climate regulator.

Featured in several media, it is a popular setting for a Green Aesop about preserving the rainforests, influenced by the deforestation that has unfortunately occurred in real life. Another common feature is that it is either depicted as if it were contained entirely within Brazil, or extending to places where it does not actually stretch to; like Lima and the northernmost parts of Colombia (Atlántico), the whole Brazilian territory instead of just its Northern region, and sometimes even into Central America, to the point that it seems writers think the Amazon is just a synonym for "South American rainforest", and not a particular region thereof.

See also the Pacific Northwest for the temperate rainforest in western North America. It isn't related to the Amazon warriors from Classical Mythology and the Amazon Brigade, Amazonian Beauty, No Guy Wants an Amazon, All Amazons Want Hercules and Amazon Chaser tropes, though, curiously, the name of the forest possibly is: reportedly, the name of the Amazon River (and by extension, the region) was chosen when Spanish explorer Francisco de Orellana's expedition was attacked by a native tribe led by women, which reminded him of the legendary Greek warriors.

Works featuring the Amazon:

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    Comic Books 

    Fan Works 

    Films — Animation 
  • Rio 2 has Blu, Jewel, and their kids going to the Amazon after finding out a surviving wild flock of blue macaws might be living there.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Anaconda: Despite its authentic Portuguese cursing ("filho da..."), infamous for its upward waterfall — although it could be an optical illusion. However, the whole waterfall thing is a crock.
  • Loompaland, from the 2005 version of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, is in the Amazon. Because it has cacao beans. (Cacao trees are widely distributed from South America to Mexico — in fact chocolate was invented by the Aztecs)
  • The Dancer Upstairs with John Malkovich extends the Amazon to Lima.
  • In Le Jaguar, Wanu, a shaman from the rainforest (and a No Celebrities Were Harmed version of Raoni Metuktire) visits Paris for a public relations campaign to raise awarereness about the rainforest and the theft of his tribe's lands along with Campana, a French ethnologist. When the shaman's soul is apparently stolen, Campana enlists the help of a good-for-nothing named Perrin, with whom he spontaneously created a spiritual link, and they both go to the forest in Brazil to save Wanu's soul.
  • In Jungle, Yossi is separated from Kevin on their journey down the Tuichi River in Boliva and he spends three weeks lost in the Amazon rainforest. A very accurate portrayal (as might be expected given its source material) and shot with Colombia doubling for Bolivia.
  • Jungle Cruise starts and ends in London, but the majority takes place on the Amazon River.
  • Medicine Man is set in the Amazon basin, and is more accurate than many portrayals.
  • Moonraker: This 007 movie featured a "Brazilian" rainforest with a waterfall — despite the Amazon River, as any other plains river, being unable to have waterfalls — and a pre-Columbian building.
  • Tarzan should live in Darkest Africa, but sometimes appears in The Amazon instead.

  • The Animorphs wind up here in “The Forgotten”. They morph Jaguars and monkeys and get chased by Visser Three. There’s also a native boy with a poison-tipped spear. It ended up getting wiped from the memory of all but Jake, though, as it was a sario rip, a spacetime distortion type of thing.
  • In Discworld book Eric, the title character and Rincewind travel to Discworld's equivalent of the Amazon, and encounter a Mayincatec tribe.
  • The authentic Amazon is used in a couple scenes of Edenborn as the location of the last surviving wild apes.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Kamen Rider Amazon, as the name suggests. The story is much like Tarzan, but with a Japanese baby and a Mayincatec artifact that lets him become an mutant superhero.
  • MacGyver (1985): In "Trumbo's World", Mac and a wildlife photographer friend must uncover the reason for the strange happenings in the Amazon rainforest. Then, in a story based on "Leiningen Versus the Ants", Mac helps a man in the Amazon jungle defend his plantation against billions of ants.

  • Referred to as "the Amazonas full of piranhas" by Yello in their song "Great Mission". It may also be the home of the Father of Excess.


    Theme Parks 

    Video Games 
  • The Amazon Trail
  • Super Mario Fusion Revival: Deep in the Amazon River basin (World 2-S4: Rebel River), Marco Rossi found a contigent of Rebel Army forces. However, the only clear way to it is to first traverse a stretch of the Amazon infested with piranha. There is a giant piranha fish nearby with a taste for flesh; contact with it will prove fatal!

    Western Animation 
  • Captain Planet and the Planeteers, whenever they wanted to do a rainforest episode. Had the benefit of being fairly accurate with respect to native flora and fauna, partly because a show that represents the early 90's environmentalist craze wouldn't make sense without these accuracies, at the drawback of being very condescending towards native peoples.
  • The Squad visits what is reasonably accurate depiction of the Amazon Basin in Exo Squad. Well, unless you count a horde of genetically-engineered green-skinned Half Human Hybrids...
  • Inspector Gadget: In "The Amazon", Gadget has to travel into the Amazon jungle to rescue the scientist who installed his gadgets who has been kidnapped by MAD. Suffers from some seriously Misplaced Wildlife, as Gadget is hassled by an albino gorilla.
  • The pilot episode of A Miss Mallard Myster, "Lost in the Amazon", involves a trek through the Rainforest.
  • The Venture Bros. episode "Dr. Guymn, Medicine Woman", featured an orangutan and circumcision among the native peoples. Both are, of course, characteristic of Australasia.

Alternative Title(s): Amazon Rainforest