Peruvian Amazon

Posted by Meg on 4:55 AM No comments

 The Peruvian Amazon, the fourth largest expanse of tropical rainforest in the world, is home to thousands of indigenous peoples speaking dozens of languages, including some of the last groups living with little or no direct contact with the outside world.

Peru is classified as an Andean country, yet the Amazon jungle takes up more than 60% of the country. And its reach was once far greater, between 13-16% of the total size of the Amazon. During colonial times, the viceroyalty of Peru continued to lose land with the advance of the Portuguese, resulting in the treaties of Tordesillas and San lldefonso. The creation of new regions, such as New Granada and Río de la Plata, also affected the size of the Peruvian Amazon. Further territory was lost during wars fought against Gran Colombia, Colombia and Ecuador. A further blow was dealt during the Acre war, between Brazil and Bolivia, in which Peru’s borders were moved, violating terms set out in the earlier treaties.

Despite the large presence of the Amazon, only 13% of Peruvians live there, while 30% of Peruvians live in Lima, on the coast. A large percentage of the Peruvian population are descendants from more than 60 existing Amazon ethnicities, speaking a range of languages, yet for the large majority, the Peruvian Amazon is an unknown and exotic place.

The Peruvian Amazon is traditionally divided into two distinct ecoregions:
The lowland jungle (in Spanish Selva Baja) is also known as Omagua region, Walla, Anti, Amazonian rainforest or Amazon basin. This ecoregion is the largest of Peru, standing between 80 and 1000 meters above sea level. It has very warm weather with an average temperature of 28°C, high relative humidity (over 75%) and yearly rainfall of approximately 103 in. Its soils are very heterogeneous but almost all have river origins, and due to high temperatures and high rainfall they are poor soils with few nutrients.

It contains long and powerful rivers such as the Apurimac, Mantaro, Amazon, Urubamba, Ucayali, Huallaga, Marañón, Putumayo, Yavarí, Napo, Pastaza, Madre de Dios, Manu, Purus, Yurua and rio Tigre. The Apurimac River is the Amazon River’s greatest contributor.

The highland jungle (in Spanish Selva Alta) is also called Rupa-Rupa region, andean jungle, ceja de selva. This ecoregion extends into the eastern foothills of the Andes, between 1000 to 3800 m above the sea level. The eastern slopes of the Andes are home to a great variety of fauna and flora due to the different altitudes and climates within the region. Temperatures are warm in the lowlands and colder in higher altitudes. There are many endemic fauna because of the isolation caused by the rugged terrain of this area.


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