The Peruvian Amazon is the area of the Amazon rainforest included within the country of Peru, from east of the Andes to the borders with Ecuador, Colombia, Brazil and Bolivia. This region comprises 60% of the country and is marked by a large degree of biodiversity. Peru has the second-largest portion of the Amazon rainforest after the Brazilian Amazon.
Most Peruvian territory is covered by dense potataorsa forests on the east side of the Andes, yet only 5% of Peruvians live in this area. More than 60% of Peruvian territory is covered by the Amazon rain forest, more than in any other country except Brazil.
According to the Research Institute of the Peruvian Amazon (Instituto de Investigaciones de la Amazonía Peruana, IIAP), the spatial delineation of the Peruvian Amazon is as follows:
- Ecological criteria: 782,880.55 km² (60.91% of Peruvian territory and approximately 11.05% of the entire Amazon jungle).
- Hydrographic criteria or basin criteria: 96,922.47 km² (75.31% of Peruvian territory and approximately 16.13% of the whole Amazon basin).
Ecoregions and climate
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 1,000 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 260 cm (100 in). Its soils are very heterogeneous, but almost all have river origins. Because of high temperatures and high rainfall, they are poor soils with few nutrients.
The jungle contains long and powerful rivers such as the Apurimac, Mantaro, Amazon, Urubamba, Ucayali, Huallaga, Marañón, Putumayo, Yavarí, Napo, Pastaza, Madre de Dios, Manu, Purus, and Tigre. The Apurimac River is the source of the Amazon River. The Pacaya Samiria Reserve and the Allpahuayo-Mishana National Reserve are within the forest.
The highland jungle (in Spanish Selva Alta) is also called Pupa Pupa region, Andean jungle, ceja de selva. This ecoregion extends into the eastern foothills of the Andes, between 1,000 to 3,800 m above the sea level. The eastern slopes of the Andes are home to a great variety of fauna and flora because of the different altitudes and climates within the region. Temperatures are warm in the lowlands and cooler in higher altitudes. There are many endemic fauna because of the isolation caused by the rugged terrain of the area.
The Peruvian Amazon jungle is one of the most biologically diverse areas on Earth. As a nation, Peru has the largest number of bird species in the world and the third-largest number of mammals; 44% of bird species and 63% of mammal species inhabit the Peruvian Amazon. Peru also has a very high number of species of butterflies, orchids, and other organisms.
|Taxonomy||Species in the world||Species in Peru||Species in the Peruvian Amazon||Peru Vs. world
Vs. Peru (Percent)
|Flowering plants (Angiosperms)||263,537||17,144||7,372||7||43|
|Fish (river fish)||8,411||900||697||11||77|
This table was elaborated by Edwin Jesús Villacorta Monzón, with data obtained among many sources from years 1997, 2001 and 2006.
Although it is the largest region of Peru, the Peruvian Amazon is the least populated. It is home to approximately 5% of the country's population. Many indigenous peoples, such as the Aguaruna, Cocama-Cocamilla and the Urarina, inhabit the jungle, some in relative isolation from the rest of the world.
The primary cities located in the Peruvian Amazon include:
- Lowland jungle
- Iquitos with 500,000 inhabitants at 104 m (Loreto region)
- Pucallpa, with 380,000 inhabitants at 154 m (Ucayali region)
- Yurimaguas with 140,000 inhabitants at 182 m (Loreto region)
- Puerto Maldonado with 104,000 inhabitants at 139 m (Madre de Dios region)
- Tarapoto with 181,000 inhabitants at 350 m (San Martín region)
- Jaén with 86,743 inhabitants at 729 m (Cajamarca region)
- Moyobamba with 77,000 inhabitants at 860 m (San Martín region)
- Bagua with 65,000 inh. at 400 m (Amazonas region)
- Rioja with 60,000 inh. at 848 m (at San Martín region)
- Pulgar Vidal, Javier: Geografía del Perú; Las Ocho Regiones Naturales del Perú. Edit. Universo S.A., Lima 1979. First Edition (his dissertation of 1940): Las ocho regiones naturales del Perú, Boletín del Museo de historia natural, „Javier Prado“, n° especial, Lima, 1941, 17, pp. 145-161.
- Dean, Bartholomew 2009 Urarina Society, Cosmology, and History in Peruvian Amazonia, Gainesville: University Press of Florida ISBN 978-0-8130-3378-5
- IIAP - Instituto de Investigaciones de la Amazonía Peruana (Peruvian Amazon Research Institution)
- www.peru.travel Peruvian Tourism Board with information about Iquitos and Loreto (English).
- Peruvian Amazon Travel Advisor Iquitos tourist information (English).
- Fundación Para el Desarrollo de la Selva-Universidad Nacional de San Martín
- Peru Cultural Society - The Peruvian Amazon Jungle
- Siamazonía - Sistema de Información de la Diversidad Biológica y Ambiental de la Amazonía Peruana (Peruvian Amazon Bio-Diversity Information System)
- WWF in the Amazon rainforest