window spacer


Here are summary facts and figures on the Amazon rainforest. You can use the material for your homework, but please respect our copyright and "Fair Use" rules! (Ask a grown-up if you're not sure what this means.) Be sure to credit Jungle Photos with any help you get from these pages. When you credit your resources it shows your teacher that you have done lots of research. Please write Jungle Photos Amazon if you'd like to see particular facts and figures.

Click below for the facts and figures:

Amazon Rainforest, River and Drainage Basin Vital Statistics


Location: The Amazon rainforest lies within an area comprising about one-third of the South American continent, defined by the watershed (drainage area) of the Amazon River. It occupies a region in the northern portion of the continent, from central Brazil and Bolivia up to the northern coasts of Venezuela and the Guyanas to Central America.
Size: The Amazon River basin is the world's largest drainage basin (watershed), measuring 2,375,000 square miles (6,151,000 square kilometers), about 40% of the South American continent. Compared with other regions, this is about four-fifths the size of Australia, over three-quarters the size of the continental United States, or 25 times the size of the United Kingdom. From west to east, the river basin measures approximately 3,600 kilometers (2,240 miles, the distance from Los Angeles to Washington DC York is 2,300 miles) west to east and 2,500 kilometers (1,550 miles) north to south.
Area covered by water: 110,000 square kilometers (dry season) to 350,000 square kilometers (flood season)
Elevation: Most of the Amazon River basin upon an extremely flat alluvial plain, less than 100 meters (328 feet) above sea level. the highest point within the biome (tropical rainforest) is Neblina peak (3,040 meters; 9,974 feet) in northern Brazil. (Higher regions transition into different habitat types.)


Location: The Amazon River flows west to east across South America, approximately along the equator
Source: Nevado Mismi in the Andes mountains of Peru, 190 kilometers (120 miles) from the Pacific Ocean (elevation 5,200 meters; 17,000 feet)
Mouth: mid-Atlantic coast of northeast Brazil
Length: 6,437 kilometers (4,000 miles)
Navigable length:
ocean steamers (+ 3000 tons) to Manaus (1,600 km; 1,000 miles)
small ocean vessels (< 3,000 tons) to Iquitos (3,700 km; 2,300 miles)
small riverboats to Achual (4,480 km; 2,786 miles)
small boats to the Pongo de Manseriche, just above Achual Point
during flood season the total length of navigable waterway throughout the river basin can exceed 2 million kilometers.
Max depth: 100 meters (300 feet)
Max width: about 2 to 10 kilometers (1 to 6 miles)
Width at mouth (of the delta): 300 miles
Flow rate: 184,000 cubic meters (6.5 million cubic feet) per second in the rainy season
Flooding: Depth varies plus or minus 40 feet due to annual floods
Tidal bore: Depth varies plus or minus 12 feet (3.7 m high) to about 800 km (500 miles) upstream (locally called pororoca)
Longest tributary: 3,379 km, Rio Purus, Peru to Brazil
Biggest blackwater river: Rio Negro
Proportional areas of rainforest in each country: Brazil = 62.4%, Peru = 16.3%, Bolivia = 12.0%, Colombia = 6.3%, Ecuador = 2.1%
Click for pie-chart of proportional areas of rainforest in each country


Temperature: 70° to 90°F during the day, 60° to 70°F at night (Mountainous areas on the edge of the Amazon Basin can be considerably cooler.)
Rainfall: 70 to 100 inches of rain yearly (e.g., Los Angeles = 7 inches per year. London = 30 inches per year)
Cloud cover: 40% average


Rate of destruction: 18,000 square kilometers per year on average since 1990 in Brazil alone.
Click here for a graph of deforestation in Brazil
Total area now clearcut: 500,000 square kilometers (about a fifth of the total area)
Extinction rate: an average of 137 species per day (50,000 per year)
Threats: slash and burn farming, ranching, logging, mining, urbanization, road-bulding

Economic value of one hectare of rainforest in the Peruvian Amazon* (RAN)
Sustainably managed for fruit, latex, and timber harvest: $6,820 per year
Commercial timber harvest (unsustainable): $1,000
Cattle pasture: $148


Total population: 20 million people
Urban population: 50 to 60%
Employment: farming and ranching (about 20%), gold mining and prospecting, rubber tapping, fishing, hunting/gathering, oil industry, lumber industry, tourism and service industries
Ethnicity today: 400 different ethnic groups; 1.5 million people
Ethnicity before arrival of Europeans: 2,000 groups, 7 million people
Percentage of tribes with less than 1,000 people: 75%
Number of languages and dialects: about 200


Earliest settlements: 15 to 10,000 B.P. (this figure is disputed)
First exploration by Europeans: 1500 Vicente Yáñez Pinzón (Spanish)
First full-length voyage: 1540-41; Francisco de Orellana (Spanish)
First full-length voyage upstream: 1637-38; Pedro Teixeira (Portuguese)

Coming soon! Fast facts on animals, biodiversity, endangered species and plants, medicinal plants, uses of plants and animals, how to help save the Amazon.


Top of page

Back to students resources

© Jungle Photos 2000-2014

window spacer