Let us start by saying that this list of Amazon Rainforest characteristics facts will focus primarily on its characteristics. Hence, if you have been eying for just random facts about the forest, you are out of luck. We are focusing on the characteristics of the forest first because it has been requested by one of our users and as a rule, any request that comes in gets priority over our own list of topics. So, let us take a look at the list of Amazon Rainforest characteristics facts and try to understand what really happens in that forest.
Amazon Rainforest Characteristics Facts: 1-5 | Type of Forest and Climate
1. We know that Amazon Rainforest is a rainforest. What we don’t usually say is that it is a Tropical Rainforest. A tropical rainforest is that rainforest which sits within 10 to 12 degrees North or South of Earth’s equator.
2. Because this forest is a tropical rainforest, it is, what is known as the ‘tropical climate’. This type of climate is often called as ‘equatorial climate’. So, if someone says that Amazon Rainforest has an equatorial climate, don’t be surprised. It is the same thing as saying ‘Amazon Rainforest has a tropical climate’.
3. One of the most profound implications of being a tropical rainforest is that Amazon Rainforest doesn’t have well-defined Winter or Summer. The average temperature difference between the two is around 2°C.
4. While the average temperature difference between Winter and Summer in Amazon Rainforest is merely 2°C, the average temperature difference between Day and Night is more and usually ranges between 2°C and 5°C.
5. People have a notion that it is very hot inside the Amazon Rainforest. This is not true. The average temperature of the forest barely crosses 33°C.
Amazon Rainforest Characteristic Facts: 6-10 | Climate
6. What really causes trouble inside the forest is the humidity. The humidity is extremely high and those who are not accustomed to that kind of humidity will feel suffocated and will think that there isn’t enough air. The average humidity is 85%. During day, the humidity is 80% but at night, it can be as high as 95%.
7. Amazon Rainforest has no such thing called Dry Season. It rains throughout the year. What is more accurate to say is that there is ‘Rainy Season’ and then, there is ‘Not-So-Rainy season’.
8. During the rainy season, the Amazon Rainforest gets an average of 60 inches to 180 inches of rainfall. During the not-so-rainy seasons, the average rainfall is between 30 inches and 100 inches. There can be regions where rainfall can reach as high as 260 inches.
9. During the rainy seasons, the water level increases significantly. The rise in water level is about 23 feet during the rainy season. The rainforest gets flooded and navigation becomes easy as new shortcuts open up.
10. During the not-so-rainy season, the water level recedes, making it difficult to navigate. However, the forest makes it up by giving countless opportunities to enjoy the extremely rich wildlife.
Experts say that the best time for visiting Amazon Rainforest is between the months of March and June because this is the transition period when water levels are reasonably high, making navigation easy and at the same time, water level is low enough to give extraordinary views of the rich wildlife.
Amazon Rainforest Characteristics Facts: 11-15 | Sunrise to Sunset and Wind
11. Sunrise in the Amazon Rainforest sets in at around 6 AM in the morning. This is when the early morning mist shrouding the forest disperses.
12. As the day proceeds and sun rises higher and higher, evaporation sets in. Large amounts of water from forests and river gets evaporated. This results in warm air rising up. Eventually, high up in sky, clouds are formed.
13. During the afternoon, the clouds become too heavy to sustain any longer and a torrential downpour follows. After raining, the clouds break up and by 6 PM, the sun sets. This is when the night sets in.
14. Amazon Rainforest doesn’t experience strong winds. Winds are light and hence, they don’t play a major role in altering the humidity and heat of the forest.
15. Near the Emergent Layer of forest, the wind speed is usually 10 km/hr and wind speed of 5 km/hr is normal near the Canopy. Higher wind speed can be registered at higher elevations above the forest’s Emergent Layer.
Amazon Rainforest Characteristics Facts: 16-20 | Soil – Dispelling the Myth
16. One of the greatest MYTHS associated with Amazon Rainforest is that the soil is extremely nutrient rich. This notion comes from the dense and lush green forest that stands on the Amazon Basin. The truth is that the soil very thin and lacks nutrients. Yes, the nutrient content of the soil is very poor.
17. So, how is it possible to have such dense forests when the soil actually lacks nutrition? There are two things that happen here. The Forest Floor is where dead organic matter (dead animals and plants matter) are found aplenty. They decompose quickly because of the wet and warm conditions.
18. This decomposing organic matter is the source of nutrients for the trees and plants. This explains why the roots of the trees in the forest are close to the ground rather than sinking deep in the soil.
19. The second factor is the Emergent Layer and the Canopy. The largest of the Amazon Rainforest trees can reach well up to 250 feet in length, which belong to the Emergent Layer. Then there is the Canopy, which also comprise of tall trees. These trees (of both the layers included) have extremely high productivity level.
20. The rate of photosynthesis that the Canopy carries out is extremely high and unparalleled in the entire world. This is how these trees get the majority of the life-sustaining energy. Water is never an issue and the presence of enormous amounts of water and ample sunlight gives the necessary conditions for a thriving forest.
Amazon Rainforest Characteristics Facts: 21-25 | Forest Layers
21. We said in point number 19 that the Emergent Layer and the Canopy form the first two layers. This means, there are other layers of the forest too! Actually, there are four layers in total, which are:
- First Layer of Emergent Layer
- Second Layer or Canopy
- Third Layer or Understory
- Fourth Layer or Forest Floor
22. The Emergent Layer reaches up to 250 feet above ground. The Canopy quite shorter but, it is the main layer. The trees of Canopy layer can reach up to 150 feet in length. The Understory or the third layer reaches a maximum of 12 feet in height. The Canopy absorbs most of the sunlight. Only 2 to 5% of the sunlight manages to reach the Understory.
23. This is definitely not enough for sustenance. So, how do they survive when the soil is not very nutrient rich? Well, the Understory has adapted to the shadowy conditions. These trees have broad leaves that are deep green. The broad and big leaves allow them to make the most out of the available sunlight.
24. Again, they also get the nutrients from the Forest Floor where dead organic matter decompose. The Emergent Layer, the Canopy and the Understory – all absorb the nutrients from the ground as soon as they are created through decomposition.
25. The final layer – the Forest Floor is almost devoid of any kind of plants. A few shrubs can be found. This is the layer where maximum of 2% of sunlight penetrates and almost all the nutrient accumulates on this layer. The small shrubs that grow on the floor get most of their nutrients from the surface and whatever little sunlight they get, they make use of it.
Amazon Rainforest Characteristics Facts: 26-30 | Tree Reproduction
26. The topmost layer or the Emergent Layer is known for producing winged seeds. Because there is wind flow in this area, the seeds are blown away to parts of the forest. This is how they continue their survival.
27. In second layer – the Canopy, the trees depend on animals for seed dispersal and pollination. Birds, insects, monkeys, sloths etc. together help in pollination and dispersal of seeds of the trees in this layer.
28. The third layer or the Understory gets very little air movement and hence, they too need to rely on others for pollination and seed dispersal. They usually grow large flowers and fruits that hang low on their trunks. Animals that cannot climb also get access to these fruits and flowers and thereby aiding those trees to reproduce. This is the layer where maximum number of insect species inhabit.
29. The final layer of the Forest Floor is where the animals and insects stay. The larger animals usually feed on low hanging fruits and flowers and often forage on tubers and roots. The insects like millipedes, earthworms, scorpions etc. feed on litter.
30. The decomposers (microbes) feed on dead animals and birds and insects and plant parts and create nutrients which are quickly absorbed by plants. 99% of all the nutrients created by the decomposers usually stay within the top 2 inches of the soil. The soil is highly porous and traps the nutrients in so that the nutrients don’t get washed away quickly. However, the trees will quickly use the nutrients created by the microbes.
This concludes our list of Amazon Rainforest Characteristics facts. If we have missed anything, do let us know. We will add the necessary information as soon as possible.