What do you think of when you think of the Amazon? What kind of world do you imagine? A vast river system… a lush, tropical forest… thousands of exotic plants and animals… a homeland for diverse native peoples who have lived there for thousands of years?
Beginning with Francisco de Orellana's first exploration down the Amazon River in 1541-42, many people have tried to describe the mysteries and promise of the Amazon. In 1832, Charles Darwin wrote, "Wonder, astonishment and sublime devotion, fill and elevate the mind." [more]
Rainforests are the oldest, richest ecosystems on Earth. Even though they cover
less than 2% of the earth's surface, more species of plants
and animals live in rainforests than in any other area.
There may be as many as 30 million species of plants, animals,
and insects living in the rainforest biome.
The rainforest soils are very poor because they are ancient
sometimes over 100 million years old. Over the years,
rain has washed away minerals from these soils, making them
infertile and acidic. Sunshine has baked some tropical soils
into hard, red clay. [more]
Learn more about Orellana's exploration of Amazonia at: