[Short Notes E&B] NCERT Class VII – Environment – Human Environment Interactions The Tropical And SubTropical Regions – Chapter 8 – Part 1
Life in the Amazon Basin
(The Amazon Basin is the largest river basin in the world.)
Tropical region lies very close to the Equator; between 10 N & 10 S.
It is referred to as Equatorial Region.
River Amazon flows through equatorial region from the mountains in the west to the Atlantic ocean in the east.
The place where a river flows into another water body is called River’s Mouth.
Numerous tributaries join the amazon river to form the Amazon Basin.
The river basin drains portions of Brazil, parts of Peru, Bolivia, Ecuador, Columbia and a small part of Venezuela.
The main river along with all its tributaries that drain an area form a river basin or the catchment area.
Amazon Basin is characterized by hot and wet climate throughout the year.
Both day and nights are almost equally hot and humid.
The skin feels sticky. It rains almost everyday, that too without much warning.
The day temperatures are high with very high humidity. At night the temperature goes down but the humidity
Thick forests grow as it rains heavily in this region.
The forests are so thick that the dense “roof” created by leaves and branches does not allow the sunlight to reach
The ground remains dark and damp. Only shade tolerant vegetation may grow here. Orchids, bromeliads grow as plant parasites.
Birds such as toucans humming birds, bird of paradise with their brilliantly coloured plumage, oversized bills for eating make them different from birds we commonly see in India.
These birds also make loud sounds in the forests.
Animals like monkeys, sloth and ant-eating tapirs are found here.
Various species of reptiles and snakes also thrive in these jungles. Crocodiles, snakes, pythons abound. Anaconda and boa constrictor are some of the species.
Besides, the basin is home to thousands of species of insects.
Several species of fishes including the flesh-eating Piranha fish is also found in the river. This basin is thus extraordinarily rich in the variety of life found there.
People of the Rain-Forests
Men hunt and fish along the rivers, women take care of the crops.
Mainly grow tapioca, pineapple and sweet potato.
As hunting and fishing are uncertain it is the women who keep their families alive
by feeding them the vegetables they grow.
They practice “slash and burn agriculture”.
The staple food is manioc, also known as cassava that grows under the ground like
They also eat queen ants and egg sacs. Cash crops like coffee, maize and cocoa are also grown.
The rainforests provide a lot of wood for the houses. Some families live in thatched houses shaped like
beehives. There are other large apartment-like houses called “Maloca” with a steeply slanting roof.
Life of the people of the Amazon basin is slowly changing.
In the older days the heart of the forest, could
be reached only by navigating the river.
In 1970 the Trans Amazon highway made all parts of the rainforest accessible.
Aircrafts and helicopters are also used for reaching various places. The indigenous population was
pushed out from the area and forced to settle in new areas where they continued to practice their distinctive
way of farming.
The developmental activities are leading to the gradual destruction of the biologically diverse rainforests.
It is estimated that a large area of the rainforest has been disappearing annually in the Amazon basin.
You can see that this destruction of forests has a much wider implication.
The topsoil is washed away as the rains fall and the lush forest turns into a barren landscape.