Madeira River Map of the Month

Map boundaries: 0 to 10 degrees South; 56 to 64 degrees West

Country: Brazil (Amazonas, Mato Grosso, Para, Rondonia, Roraima)

Overview

This map area encompasses the drainage area of the largest, fourth largest, and fifth largest river systems in the world. The coverage is of the central Amazon basin (largest), lower Madeira drainage (fourth largest), and the lower Negro drainage (fifth largest). The Amazon River is as much as six miles wide as far as 1,000 miles upriver from its mouth. The Negro and Urubu, both north of the Amazon, are considered blackwater rivers, and the Tapajos (southeast area of the map) and Trombetas (northeast area of the map) are considered clear water rivers. The Madeira and Purus (central and southwest parts of the map) are considered whitewater rivers.

The map area is entirely covered by tropical moist forest, although forest formations vary in the northwest and southeast of the map. The campinarana of the northwest are heath forests believed to be short and shrubby due to low nutrient soils rather than seasonal dryness. The Mato Grosso forests of the southeast are tropical dry forests transitional between the Amazon rainforests and cerrado of central Brazil.

Ecoregions and Provinces/Political Subdivisions

Tropical and Subtropical Moist Broadleaf Forests

NT 132, Japura-Solimoes-Negro moist forests. Found in Brazil—Amazonas. These non-flooded, “terra firme” forests are found on a lowland plateau south of Rio Negro and north of the Amazon. Common plant families are Leguminosae, Sapotaceae, Rubiaceae, Chrysobalanceae, Lauraceae, and Annonaceae.

NT 133, Jurua-Purus moist forests. Found in Brazil—Amazonas. Evergreen moist forests found between the Amazon and Purus rivers contain a high level of tree diversity and a center of diversity for the Sapotaceae plant family. The area is a uniform, flat plain.

NT 135, Madeira-Tapajos moist forests. Found in Brazil—Amazonas, Mato Grosso, Para, and Rondonia. This ecoregion covers a large area extending from the Amazon into southern Brazil (see Chiquitano and Pantanal map), and a range of elevations from near sea level to 4000 feet. Major rivers through the ecoregion include the Aripuana, Marmelos, Maues, and Canuma. Vegetation types include dense lowland rainforest, woodland savanna, grasslands and semi-deciduous forests. Hills along the Marmelos and Tapajos rivers contain rare tree species such as Huberodendron and dwarf rubber trees.

NT 140, Mato Grosso tropical dry forests. Found in Brazil—Amazonas, Mato Grosso, and Para. Savannas, gallery forests,a nd thickets mark the transition between the Amazon rainforests and the cerrado of central Brazil.

NT 141, Monte Alegre varzea. Found in Brazil—Amazonas, Para, Rondonia, and Roraima. Seasonally flooded forests are common along the floodplains of the central Amazon, Madeira, Uatuma, Manirora, Jiparana, Purus, Piorini, and Branco rivers. Virola, Calycophyllum and Euterpe are common genera of trees.

NT 143, Negro-Branco moist forests. Found in Brazil—Amazonas. Forested lowland plains and low sandstone table mountains north of Rio Negro. Notable plants are Virolia, Duckeanthus, Heteropetalum, and Leopoldina. Plant families not found in Amazonian forests are Humiriaceae, Rapateaceae, and Tepuianthaceae.

NT 156, Purus varzea. Found in Brazil—Amazonas. The floodplain forests found in the upper Amazon basin are richer in species diversity than the monte alegre varzea. Common tree genera are Carapa, Iryanthera, and Ceiba.

NT 157, Purus-Madeira moist forests. Found in Brazil—Amazonas and Rondonia. Moist forests between the Purus and Madeira rivers and south of the Amazon spread across a vast, nearly flat plain in the central region of the map. Many of the forests are seasonally inundated. This is an area of high diversity and endemism for the following plant families: Leguminosae, Sapotaceae, Lecythidaceae, Moraceae, Chrysobalanceae, Lauraceae, and Myristicaceae.

NT 158, Rio Negro capinarana. Found in Brazil—Amazonas and Roraima. Heath forests at the transition between the Guyana shield and Amazon basin, found on low nutrient soils. Indicator plants are Gaylussacia, Glycoxylon, and Mauritia. Savanna and thorn forests of cycads, Vochisia, Virola, Compsoneura, and Macrolobium grow on low nutrient soils.

NT 168, Tapajos-Xingu moist forests. Found in Brazil—Para. Evergreen tropical rain forests found on non-flooded land between the Tapajos and Xingu rivers in the eastern Amazon. Southern areas contain liana forests of Bignoniaceae species. Elsewhere, Brazil nut and mahogany trees are common. Zollernia, Theobroma, and Cordia trees reach their western limit at the Tapajos River.

NT 173, Uatuma-Trombetas moist forests. Found in Brazil—Amazonas, Para, and Roraima. A region of blackwater rivers north of the Amazon River in eastern Brazil. Typical plant famililies are Sapotaceae, Lecythidaceae, Bursuraceae, and Fabaceae.

Freshwater Ecoregions of the World

South America Region

Tropical and Subtropical Upland Rivers

315. Amazonas Guiana Shield. Found in Amazonas, Para, and Roraima

320. Tapajos-Juruena. Found in Amazonas, Mato Grosso, and Para

321. Madeira Brazilian Shield. Found in Amazonas, Mato Grosso, and Rondonia.

Tropical and Subtropical Floodplain Rivers and Wetland Complexes

314. Rio Negro. Found in Amazonas and Roraima

316. Amazonas Lowlands. Found in Amazonas and Para.

World Heritage Sites

Central Amazon Conservation Complex. Found in Amazonas, these four preserves, totaling 6 million ha contain samples of varzea, upland forests, lakes and river channels and are home to river dolphins, Amazonian manatee, and the largest array of electric fish in the world. Shown on the map are Jau National Park and Anavilhanas Ecological Station. Not shown on the map are the Mamairaua Sustainable Development Reserve and Amana Sustainable Development Reserve, both located to the west of Jau National Park. Ecoregions 132 and 156.

Other points of interest:

Abufari Biological Reserve. Found in Amazonas. Ecoregion 156.

Alta Floresta. Site for spotting rare birds, located in Mato Grosso, Ecoregion 135.

Amana National Forest. Found in Para. Ecoregion 135.

Amazonia National Park. Found in Para. Ecoregion 135.

Anavilhanas Ecological Station. Largest group of freshwater islands in the world, 60 miles northwest of Manaus. Found in Amazonas. Ecoregion 132.

Balata-Tufari National Forest. Found in Amazonas. Ecoregion 157.

Bom-Futuro National Forest. Found in Rondonia. Ecoregion 135.

Crepori National Forest. Found in Para. Ecoregion 168.

Humaita National Forest. Found in Amazonas. Ecoregion 135.

Itaituba National Forest. Found in Para. Ecoregion 168.

Jacunda National Forest. Found in Rondonia. Ecoregions 135 and 141.

Jamari National Forest. Found in Rondonia. Ecoregion 135.

Jaru Biological Reserve. Found in Mato Grosso and Rondonia. Ecoregion 135.

Jatuarana National Forest. Found in Amazonas. Ecoregion 135.

Jau National Park. Part of Central Amazon Conservation Complex. Found in Amazonas. Ecoregion 132.

Pau-Rosa National Forest. Found in Amazonas. Ecoregion 135.

Mamori. A lake east of Manaus known for pink and gray river dolphins. Found in Amazonas. Ecoregion 141.

Manaquiri. A lake southwest of Manaus, known for great egret and fish eagles. Found in Amazonas. Ecoregion 141.

Meeting of the waters. The light brown water of the Amazon meets the dark, acid water of the Negro near Manaus

Porto Velho. A municipal park preserves rainforest flora. Just upstream of town are the rapids of the Madeira River. Found in Rondonia. Ecoregion 141.

Presidente Figueiredo—More than 100 waterfalls on tributaries to Urubu River; caves west of Lake Balbina. Found in Amazonas. Ecoregion 173.

Rio Trombetas Biological Reserve. Found in Para. Ecoregion 173.

Serra do Cachimbo. In the southeast portion of the map area is a 700-m escarpment with endemic species that grow in droughty white sandy soils. Found in Para. Ecoregions 140 and 168.

Uaimiri Atroari Indigenous Area. Found in Amazonas and Roraima. The Indian reserve straddles the road for 120 km north of Manaus.

Uatuma Biological Reserve. Found in Amazonas. Ecoregion 173.

References

Abell, Robin and 27 others. 2008. Freshwater Ecoregions of the World: A New Map of Biogeographic Units for Freshwater Biodiversity Conservation. Bioscience 58:403-414.

Emma Beare, ed. 2006. 501 Must-Visit Natural Wonders. Bounty Books.

Box, Ben. 2008. Footprint South American Handbook, 84th edition.

Eyewitness Travel Brazil. Dorling Kindersley Ltd., London, 2007.

Kricher, John. A Neotropical Companion, 2nd edition. Princeton University Press, 1997.

Olson, David M., et al., 2001. Terrestrial Ecoregions of the World: A New Map of Life on Earth. BioScience 51:933-938.

Schultz, Patricia. 2003. 1,000 Places to See Before You Die. Workman Publishing.

World Heritage List. Accessed 5/24/09 at whc.unesco.org/en/list

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