Sunday, June 16, 2013

Amazonas - Biodiversity

Over the past millennium  geological and climatic changes undergone by the Amazon were decisive for the evolution of plant and animal species that originally inhabited the region. Due to these transformations the rich biodiversity in the Amazon rainforest, which, next to what remains of the Atlantic Forest, placing Brazil among the countries most well endowed in this regard. Holds the largest tropical vegetation on the planet, the Amazon is exuberant manifestations in life, from microscopic to giant. Bathed in intense light, it practically heats evenly throughout the four seasons, and fed by a complex hydrological system, the Amazon daily promotes its own renewal, an endless cycle that alternates in life and death, day and night, rain and sun, ebb and flooding of rivers, beneficially influencing the climate on a global scale.

This happy conjunction millennial result the flavors, smells and colors of Amazonian fruits, odd, that the waves of globalization, become known worldwide. The traditional wine (juice) of the riparian Amazonian açai is gaining admirers and enthusiasts from all over the world because of its high nutritional properties. The Amazon rainforest, which has its core most representative in the State of Amazonas, has over the years increasingly revealing its potential for generating wealth, we can highlight the cocoa, cinnamon, vanilla (intensively exploited during the colonial period) , rubber tree, balata, guaraná; Mirantã; cassava, camu-camu, cupuaçu, rosewood, cumaru, andiroba; copaíba; sorva, and Brazil-nut, besides valuable woods, such as mahogany, cedar, cherry, itaúba and angelim. Without discrediting the beauty of orchids and Alanas (water lilies), the queen among Amazonian plant is portentous sumaumeira (kapok tree), giant that reaches 60 meters (the equivalent of a 20-story building), with a base circumference of more 20 yards and a umbrella that exceeds 100 meters in diameter.


Mirantã (aphrodisiac - it's said that it's a natural viagra)

Sumaumeira (kapok tree),the queen among Amazonian plants. Photo Clednews

Water Lily (Vitória-Régia) Photo by Marijan Murat/AFP

Contrary to what many people think, this beautiful flower Amazon does not float freely. It is attached to the bottom of rivers by thick roots, buried in the mud, give support to the stem. Leave it long and thorny stems. "The spines serve to ward off predators. Finally, the lilypad is a juicy food for fish and aquatic mammals," says the botanist João Semir, Unicamp. Underwater leaves remain closed. Then open shaped trays, which can reach 2 meters in diameter. Its underside has a network of veins and air-filled compartments that give special plant resistance. And there is strength: there are records of leaves that support up to 45 pounds of weight! The flowers, fragrant with many petals are white to emerge. Once pollinated by insects, are rosy. The water lily is native to the equatorial regions of northern Brazil, Bolivia and Guyana.

In the endless list of plant species adds to the animals, especially the jaguar, puma; 'airuvê' (Manatee), tapir (the largest land animal in South America), capybara (the largest rodent in the world); 'amana (red dolphin); ´'tucuxi' (gray dolphin); 'ariranha'; 'uacari' white and pied-toed, plus a kilometric list of fish, among which stand out for arapaima fish (largest fish freshwater in the world); 'pirarara' (catfish); 'tambaqui'; 'tucunaré', even the humble and tasty 'jaraqui' is responsible for feeding a good portion of the population. There are also giant reptiles (the adjective is recurrent) as the constrictor anaconda, which exceeds 10 meters, black caiman, and the boa constrictor; beyond   very poisonous surucucu-peak-of-jackfruit, alligator-tinga, turtles of -Amazons; 'tracajá'; turtle, and iguana. Wonderful birds populate the largest Brazilian state, as the cock-of-the-hills; 'uirapuru'; macaw; 'cigana' (gypsy); toucan, and the magnificent Uiraçu (eagle hawk), absolute master of the Amazon's skies, whose scale exceeds two meters, which makes it the largest bird of prey in the planet.



blue macaw. Photo by Marília Mag

'Cigana" (gypsy)


Parakeet. Photo Flickr by Dan's World of Pictures

Two beautiful macaws

Uirapuru. Photo Flickr by Coppede
Toucan. Photo Flickr by Dan's World of Pictures

Uiraçu (eagle hawk), absolute master of the Amazon's skies
                              Iguana. Photo Flickr by Rob Dyett


The Amazon contains a surprising cultural diversity even for its own inhabitants, arising mainly from their ethnic background, where the indigenous element was gradually absorbing the African and European influences, particularly Portuguese and Spanish, and other migratory currents that contributed to the crucible Amazon. Hence the  Amazon people reflect in their culture the manifestations as distinct from each other as the ritual of the 'Moça Nova' (New Girl), performed in the upper Solimões River, Amazonas Opera Festival, presented in sumptuous Amazonas Theater in Manaus, and street carnival, which takes place virtually in all municipal seats.
Ritual of the 'Moça Nova', performed by Wotchimaücü indians.
This type of culture is traditional among some indigenous peoples, including Tikuna, and takes up to a year to be prepared. The goal is to celebrate in the best way possible, the first period of a young Indian. Photo by  Isaac Júnior (Divulgação/Seind)
Amazonas Theater in Manaus. Foto Flickr by Barbara Nonato

Photo : governo do amazonas

Photo Flickr by SpecBR

With its symbolic reference rooted in three distinct ethnic matrices together, the Amazonian translates this symbolism exuberantly during Parintins Folklore Festival, with the dueling bumbás at a party of explosion of colors, sounds and rhythms in which the rich mythology Amazon turns into storylines and choreography that attracts and delights people from all parts of the world. This folkloric manifestation is increasingly committed to the ecological aspects involving the conservation of the Amazon as a whole, and particularly the Amazon, a State that has one of the most pristine forests of all who make up the region.

Parintins Folklore FestivalPhoto:  Antônio Salani

The cultural reference Amazon also manifested in crafts, in which raw materials harvested sustainably from the Amazon Rainforest are transformed into decorative and utilitarian objects, such as baskets fiber 'arumã' from the upper Rio Negro, and for personal use such as rings , bracelets and necklaces made ​​from 'jarina' seeds.

Crafts - personal use

Due to increasing contact with elements from other cultures,  Amazon people come realizing their own uniqueness and of the cultural richness that is their mythology, traditions and customs, so that these aspects are being harnessed as tourist attractionsRituals virtually unknown to the local urban population became part of the calendar of events Amazon. The 'Tucandeira', for example, was once only practiced as a rite of passage between childhood and adolescence, now takes on a welcome element that generates income for members of some Amazonian communities from ethnic 'Saterê-Maué'. Thus, as an essential element in the composition of identity, the Amazon culture  has been renovating itself and adapting to the times of globalization, without, however, losing its essence and dynamism.

Among the indigenous rituals, what stands out most is the ritual of the tribe 'sateré-mawé' named 'Tucandeira'. This event is held as a form of male initiation. All the guy wants to be "man" has to go through this stress test that consists of being stung by hundreds of angry big ants! The Indians sateré-mawé to prove their strength, courage and masculinity should be left stung at least 20 times, putting his hands inside the glove Tucandeira (saaripé). Some say it should be with the hands to be stung  for 10 minutes.



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