What's Up in the Amazon Rainforest

Part of What's Up

Ebook
On sale Sep 22, 2015 | 144 Pages | 9780399541056
Where in the world will you find 427 different types of mammals, 1,294 birds, 2,200 fishes, 378 reptiles, 428 amphibians, and about 1 million insects? The Amazon Rainforest, of course! Get lost in the largest rainforest in the world to climb trees that are 500 years old, swim with a pink dolphin, avoid the deadly poison dart frogs, and sleep with a troop of twenty howler monkeys. In What's Up in the Amazon Rainforest, you'll learn all about the plants and animals, as well as the people that live there and the habitat itself.
Introduction
 
 
One of the noisiest animals in the world lets out its whooping call, waking you up before sunrise. Hundreds of other animals add in their shrieks, squeaks, and squawks throughout the day and night, creating quite a ruckus.
 
All around, you smell sweet flowers, stinky, rotting fruit, decaying leaves, and lots of animal poop. You feel hot, sticky, and very wet. And suddenly, it’s pouring rain! You duck under a giant leaf for cover. Yikes! A huge snake slithers by on the ground. Danger lurks around every corner. Even the trees are dangerous!
 
But here, you also see brilliant flashes of color as rainbow-colored birds and big blue butterflies spiral through the trees. You catch glimpses of thousands of other colorful creatures, too, like deadly tree snakes, tiny poisonous frogs, and mischievous monkeys. Many of the wild fruits that grow in the trees are also brightly colored—and tasty.
 
Where are you? You’re in the Amazon rainforest! This tropical rainforest in South America is one of the most spectacular, surprising places, or habitats, on the planet—and it is in danger.
 
 
Chapter 1: What is the Amazon Rainforest?
 
 
Visiting a rainforest is like walking into a living museum. North American forests are only thirty-three million years old, but rainforests are more than one hundred million years old. The average rainforest tree lives much longer than a human—between one hundred and five hundred years! All rainforests are remarkable, but the Amazon rainforest is the largest and most diverse.
 
The continent of South America looks like a wizard’s hat turned upside down. It is very wide at the top and then narrows to a thin point at the bottom. At the wide part of the hat is the Amazon rainforest, which covers more than two million square miles. That’s almost as big as the United States (not including Alaska and Hawaii).
 
More than half of the Amazon rainforest is located in Brazil. The rainforest also extends west into Peru and Ecuador, north into parts of Colombia, Venezuela, and Guyana, and south into Bolivia.
 
More plants and animals live in the Amazon rainforest than in any other habitat, and many of them don’t exist anywhere else on the planet. So far, scientists have identified more than 425 different species (or related groups) of mammals, 1,300 birds, about 3,000 fish, around 400 reptiles, 400 amphibians, and 2 million insects in the Amazon. There are also more than 50,000 different types of plants. And hundreds more have yet to be discovered!
 
Everything that lives in the rainforest is interconnected. This means that the plants and animals depend on one another for survival. They also compete for resources like water and sunshine. For example, a fig tree needs soil, rain, and sunshine to grow figs. A monkey then eats this sweet fruit from the tree as a main part of its diet. But if the monkey is not careful, a larger animal, such as a snake or an eagle, will eat the monkey. Each animal depends on the other for food. If one link is missing, the whole chain is broken.
 
One of the main reasons there are so many plants and animals in the Amazon rainforest is that it is located at the equator. The equator is the imaginary line that circles the middle of the Earth.
 
The area near the equator gets the most direct sunlight on the planet, so it is hot throughout the entire year. The temperature in the Amazon rainforest stays between 70° and 90° Fahrenheit all the time. The Amazon has high humidity, meaning the air is filled with moisture. Even when it is not raining, the air in the rainforest feels wet and steamy—like a bathroom after someone has taken a long, hot shower.
 
The rainforest gets a lot of rain. During the wet season, from January to June, it rains every day, usually just a quick downpour. Flash! Crash! Thunderstorms in the Amazon can be forty times more powerful than storms in the United States.
 
When rain falls in the Amazon rainforest, the water is used in three ways. First, the tallest trees drink the rain through their leaves and use the water to grow taller. In most forests, a lot of rain falls through the trees to the ground, but the rainforest is so dense that these trees absorb most of the rain. Second, the soil on the rainforest floor takes in the leftover rain, which the lower plants and trees suck up through their roots. That process is called plant uptake. Third, the Amazon River collects rain, too, often flooding its banks into the forest. Many animals come to drink the river water and bathe in it, and lots of other animals live in the river. Because the rainforest is so hot, some of the water escapes out of the leaves through transpiration. It rises back into the air to form clouds as condensation. Rain, or precipitation, falls again, and the cycle repeats almost every day.
 
With lots of available sunshine and rain, the trees grow tall and provide a home and food for many animals. But there is more to the rainforest than just the trees! The Amazon River is another important piece of what makes the Amazon rainforest so vibrant. It is the largest river in the world, and its waters are crucial to everything that lives in this habitat.
 
In order to study the enormous Amazon rainforest, scientists have divided it into five main layers, from the bottom to the top. The Amazon River is home to aquatic animals like dolphins, reptiles, and fearsome fish. It is also where large mammals like the jaguar and capybara hunt and drink water.
 
The forest floor is the very bottom of the rainforest. It is dark, hot, and quiet because it receives only 1 percent of the sunlight from above. Ants, insects, and fungi feed off the layer of dead leaves and mosses. Large mammals like the tapir and anteater forage on the ground.
 
The understory is the part of the rainforest that is below the tall trees but above the ground. It is full of small trees, bushes, and animals like the green iguana and emerald tree boa. The shy ocelot hides and hunts in the shadows.
 
The canopy (say: KAN-uh-pee) is the rainforest’s roof, made of a dense cover of trees all reaching for the sunlight. Monkeys and toucans are among the many noisy creatures that live there.
 
The emergent trees (say: e-MUR-junt) poke through, or emerge from, the canopy and tower up to two hundred feet high. This is where harpy eagles, scarlet macaws, and morpho butterflies soar.
 
Let’s take a trip into the Amazon to see what plants and animals live in each of these layers.
Ginjer L. Clarke (she/her) writes fun, fact-filled nonfiction books about weird, wonderful stuff. Her books have sold a combined total of more than 3 million copies worldwide, have appeared on best-seller lists, and have been featured in book fairs and on reading lists. Ginjer loves to learn new things and is excited to take readers on journeys around the world to explore unique habitats and the animals, plants, and people who live there.

Ginjer is an experienced and entertaining presenter and has appeared at more than 150 elementary schools, regional reading and writing conferences, statewide book festivals, bookstores and libraries, and even a zoo. She is a graduate of James Madison University and lives in Richmond, Virginia, with her husband, young son, and several silly-looking pets. View titles by Ginjer L. Clarke

About

Where in the world will you find 427 different types of mammals, 1,294 birds, 2,200 fishes, 378 reptiles, 428 amphibians, and about 1 million insects? The Amazon Rainforest, of course! Get lost in the largest rainforest in the world to climb trees that are 500 years old, swim with a pink dolphin, avoid the deadly poison dart frogs, and sleep with a troop of twenty howler monkeys. In What's Up in the Amazon Rainforest, you'll learn all about the plants and animals, as well as the people that live there and the habitat itself.

Excerpt

Introduction
 
 
One of the noisiest animals in the world lets out its whooping call, waking you up before sunrise. Hundreds of other animals add in their shrieks, squeaks, and squawks throughout the day and night, creating quite a ruckus.
 
All around, you smell sweet flowers, stinky, rotting fruit, decaying leaves, and lots of animal poop. You feel hot, sticky, and very wet. And suddenly, it’s pouring rain! You duck under a giant leaf for cover. Yikes! A huge snake slithers by on the ground. Danger lurks around every corner. Even the trees are dangerous!
 
But here, you also see brilliant flashes of color as rainbow-colored birds and big blue butterflies spiral through the trees. You catch glimpses of thousands of other colorful creatures, too, like deadly tree snakes, tiny poisonous frogs, and mischievous monkeys. Many of the wild fruits that grow in the trees are also brightly colored—and tasty.
 
Where are you? You’re in the Amazon rainforest! This tropical rainforest in South America is one of the most spectacular, surprising places, or habitats, on the planet—and it is in danger.
 
 
Chapter 1: What is the Amazon Rainforest?
 
 
Visiting a rainforest is like walking into a living museum. North American forests are only thirty-three million years old, but rainforests are more than one hundred million years old. The average rainforest tree lives much longer than a human—between one hundred and five hundred years! All rainforests are remarkable, but the Amazon rainforest is the largest and most diverse.
 
The continent of South America looks like a wizard’s hat turned upside down. It is very wide at the top and then narrows to a thin point at the bottom. At the wide part of the hat is the Amazon rainforest, which covers more than two million square miles. That’s almost as big as the United States (not including Alaska and Hawaii).
 
More than half of the Amazon rainforest is located in Brazil. The rainforest also extends west into Peru and Ecuador, north into parts of Colombia, Venezuela, and Guyana, and south into Bolivia.
 
More plants and animals live in the Amazon rainforest than in any other habitat, and many of them don’t exist anywhere else on the planet. So far, scientists have identified more than 425 different species (or related groups) of mammals, 1,300 birds, about 3,000 fish, around 400 reptiles, 400 amphibians, and 2 million insects in the Amazon. There are also more than 50,000 different types of plants. And hundreds more have yet to be discovered!
 
Everything that lives in the rainforest is interconnected. This means that the plants and animals depend on one another for survival. They also compete for resources like water and sunshine. For example, a fig tree needs soil, rain, and sunshine to grow figs. A monkey then eats this sweet fruit from the tree as a main part of its diet. But if the monkey is not careful, a larger animal, such as a snake or an eagle, will eat the monkey. Each animal depends on the other for food. If one link is missing, the whole chain is broken.
 
One of the main reasons there are so many plants and animals in the Amazon rainforest is that it is located at the equator. The equator is the imaginary line that circles the middle of the Earth.
 
The area near the equator gets the most direct sunlight on the planet, so it is hot throughout the entire year. The temperature in the Amazon rainforest stays between 70° and 90° Fahrenheit all the time. The Amazon has high humidity, meaning the air is filled with moisture. Even when it is not raining, the air in the rainforest feels wet and steamy—like a bathroom after someone has taken a long, hot shower.
 
The rainforest gets a lot of rain. During the wet season, from January to June, it rains every day, usually just a quick downpour. Flash! Crash! Thunderstorms in the Amazon can be forty times more powerful than storms in the United States.
 
When rain falls in the Amazon rainforest, the water is used in three ways. First, the tallest trees drink the rain through their leaves and use the water to grow taller. In most forests, a lot of rain falls through the trees to the ground, but the rainforest is so dense that these trees absorb most of the rain. Second, the soil on the rainforest floor takes in the leftover rain, which the lower plants and trees suck up through their roots. That process is called plant uptake. Third, the Amazon River collects rain, too, often flooding its banks into the forest. Many animals come to drink the river water and bathe in it, and lots of other animals live in the river. Because the rainforest is so hot, some of the water escapes out of the leaves through transpiration. It rises back into the air to form clouds as condensation. Rain, or precipitation, falls again, and the cycle repeats almost every day.
 
With lots of available sunshine and rain, the trees grow tall and provide a home and food for many animals. But there is more to the rainforest than just the trees! The Amazon River is another important piece of what makes the Amazon rainforest so vibrant. It is the largest river in the world, and its waters are crucial to everything that lives in this habitat.
 
In order to study the enormous Amazon rainforest, scientists have divided it into five main layers, from the bottom to the top. The Amazon River is home to aquatic animals like dolphins, reptiles, and fearsome fish. It is also where large mammals like the jaguar and capybara hunt and drink water.
 
The forest floor is the very bottom of the rainforest. It is dark, hot, and quiet because it receives only 1 percent of the sunlight from above. Ants, insects, and fungi feed off the layer of dead leaves and mosses. Large mammals like the tapir and anteater forage on the ground.
 
The understory is the part of the rainforest that is below the tall trees but above the ground. It is full of small trees, bushes, and animals like the green iguana and emerald tree boa. The shy ocelot hides and hunts in the shadows.
 
The canopy (say: KAN-uh-pee) is the rainforest’s roof, made of a dense cover of trees all reaching for the sunlight. Monkeys and toucans are among the many noisy creatures that live there.
 
The emergent trees (say: e-MUR-junt) poke through, or emerge from, the canopy and tower up to two hundred feet high. This is where harpy eagles, scarlet macaws, and morpho butterflies soar.
 
Let’s take a trip into the Amazon to see what plants and animals live in each of these layers.

Author

Ginjer L. Clarke (she/her) writes fun, fact-filled nonfiction books about weird, wonderful stuff. Her books have sold a combined total of more than 3 million copies worldwide, have appeared on best-seller lists, and have been featured in book fairs and on reading lists. Ginjer loves to learn new things and is excited to take readers on journeys around the world to explore unique habitats and the animals, plants, and people who live there.

Ginjer is an experienced and entertaining presenter and has appeared at more than 150 elementary schools, regional reading and writing conferences, statewide book festivals, bookstores and libraries, and even a zoo. She is a graduate of James Madison University and lives in Richmond, Virginia, with her husband, young son, and several silly-looking pets. View titles by Ginjer L. Clarke

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