Rain forests cover an important part of the Neotropics. The forest complexes covering the Amazon and Orinoco basins can be considered as the central part, surrounded by peripheral rain forests west of the Andes, on the Caribbean Islands, in the Guyanas and in Central America. The Mexican evergreen forests, a small northern part of which still survives in the National Park in Los Tuxtlas (Veracruz State), the southeast Atlantic evergreen forests in Brazil and the Florida mangroves (USA) are not rain forests in the strict sense of this book. They should be mentioned, however, to illustrate the difficulty of defining rain forests. For no South American country do the forest maps made by different authors show the same limits between the rain forest and other vegetation types, or between different types of rain forest. Gradual variations occur not only with an increasing duration of the dry season and with increasing altitude, but also from one soil type to another. The thesis by Kahn (1983), Architecture comparée de forêts tropicales humides et dynamique de la rhizosphère, is a spectacular documentation of the many different forests within ‘the’ Amazonian rain forest (Kahn 1983, p. 255).
KeywordsRain Forest Amazon Basin Indian Civilization Terra Firme Life Zone
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