Peruvian Jungle – History, location, relief, flora and fauna

We explain what the Peruvian jungle is, its history, location, relief, flora and fauna. Also, some examples from other jungles.

peruvian jungle peru amazon
The Peruvian jungle occupies 782,880 km2.

What is the Peruvian jungle?

It is known as the Peruvian jungle or, more correctly, the Peruvian Amazon to the portion of the territory of Peru that is occupied by long extensions of jungle biome belonging to the Amazon South American. It is a lush, humid and high vegetation extension, in which there is the largest share of biodiversity and endemisms in the continental world.

The Amazon is the largest jungle on the planet, and extends in part of the territories of Peru, Colombia, Ecuador, Brazil and Venezuela. In Peru it occupies 782,880 km2 of territorial surface, corresponding to 62% of the country‘s territory and 13% of the total of the continent, and the second largest after Brazil.

It is the least densely populated region (8%) of this country. However, it enjoys the greatest human diversity, since different aboriginal ethnic groups live in it. The Peruvian jungle is an ecologically very important region, given the gigantic biodiversity it houses, quite safe from the interference of humanity.

Along with the rest of the Amazon, constitutes one of the great plant lungs of the planet, responsible for the generation of oxygen and the fixation of carbon necessary to keep the planetary temperature stable and sustain the margins of animal life.

Location of the Peruvian jungle

peruvian jungle peru amazon location
This jungle stretches from the Andes to the borders with Brazil, Colombia and Ecuador.

The Peruvian jungle begins in the eastern foothills of the Andean Cordillera, and extends to the Peruvian political borders with Brazil, Colombia and Ecuador, in the territory of the Peruvian departments of Loreto, Amazonas, San Martín, Ucayali and Madre de Dios. All this, of course, in the center-west of the South American subcontinent.

It is divided into mountain jungle or high jungle (in the mountain range) and tropical forest or low jungle (in the plains and the foothills)

History of the Peruvian jungle

The origin of the Amazon rainforest started 20 million years ago, when the tectonic movements of the region produced the gradual rise of the Andes Mountains, causing the Amazon basin to become a system of lakes.

Although after this movement the area was covered with water, began to dry out 10 million years ago. Thus, the animal and plant species of the region were able to colonize the new and fertile territory, to then expand and diversify rapidly, laying the foundations of the biological panorama that exists today.

During the period of the Spanish conquest and colonization of America, this territory was associated with the indigenous myths of El Dorado and the Country of Canela. During the early twentieth century it was a region of intense exploitation of the rubber tree.

Relief of the Peruvian jungle

peruvian jungle peru amazon relief machu pichu
It extends to the top of the mountains, as in Machu Picchu.

The Peruvian jungle has the particularity of covering a territory with several altitudinal floors, that is, with a diverse relief, which favors its enormous biodiversity.

Generally, they are divided, as we have already said, into high jungle (the one that approaches and extends over the Andean mountain range) and low jungle (the one that extends in the plains), and thus varying their climatic and rainy conditions.

  • High jungle. The mountain rainforest is found at an average height between 800 and 3000 meters above sea level, exhibiting warm temperatures at the base and increasingly colder as one ascends, as well as the highest levels of rainfall in the entire country. , with up to 5,000 mm per year. Its relief is mountainous and complex, with deep ravines and narrow valleys, all covered with impenetrable jungle.
  • Low jungle. Between 800 and 80 meters above sea level extends the Amazon plain, an extremely warm tropical forest (annual averages of 28 ° C) and a very high relative humidity (above 75%), given its frequent rainfall. It is a region of heterogeneous soils and abundant rivers.

Peruvian jungle fauna

peruvian jungle peru amazon fauna butterflies turtle
The fauna of the Peruvian jungle includes 2,500 species of butterflies and 180 of reptiles.

The fauna of the Peruvian jungle is one of the most biodiverse on the entire planet. In fact, after Colombia, Peru is the second country with the largest number of bird species that exists, and the third in terms of mammals.

In this jungle there are at least 262 species of amphibians, 806 of birds, 293 of mammals, 697 of continental fish, 180 of reptiles and an incredible 2,500 species of diurnal butterflies. Many of these animal species are endemic to this region, that is, they do not exist anywhere else in the world.

Flora of the Peruvian jungle

peruvian jungle peru amazon flora
Not all plant species have yet been discovered in the Peruvian jungle.

Like the fauna, the flora of the Peruvian jungle is abundant, vigorous and extremely diverse, to the point that many of the botanical species that inhabit this region are yet to be discovered and classified.

Only in flowering plants (Phanerogams) there are 7,372 different species in this region known (7% of all species in the world) and about 700 species of ferns (10% of the world’s species).

Other jungles of the world

paranaense jungle iguazu falls
The Paranaense Jungle contains the Iguazu Falls.

Apart from the Peruvian Amazon, the main jungles of the world can be summarized as:

  • The rest of the Amazon, between Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Bolivia and Venezuela.
  • The Jungle of Darien, between Colombia and Panama.
  • Jungle Lacandora, between Mexico and Guatemala.
  • Jungle Paranaense (from the Paraná River) between Argentina, Paraguay and Brazil.
  • The Yungas in northern Argentina, Bolivia and part of Peru.
  • The Jungle of Congo in Central Africa.
  • Jungle Guinean (western and eastern) in Africa.
  • The Jungle of Borneo.
  • The Jungle of Madagascar.