Saturday, February 21, 2009


Brazil occupies an immense area along the eastern coast of South America and includes much of the continent's interior region, sharing land borders with Uruguay to the south; Argentina and Paraguay to the southwest; Bolivia and Peru to the west; Colombia to the northwest; Venezuela, Suriname, Guyana and the overseas department of French Guiana to the north.The factors of size, relief, climate, and natural resources make Brazil geographically diverse. Brazil is the fifth largest country in the world—after Russia, Canada, China and the United States—and third largest in the Americas; with a total area of 8,511,965 kilometers (5,289,090 mi), including 55,455 kilometers (34,458 mi) of water. It spans four time zones; from UTC-5, in the state of Acre and UTC-4, in the central states; to UTC-3, in the eastern states, the official time of Brazil, and UTC-2, in the Atlantic islands.
Brazilian topography is also diverse, including hills, mountains, plains, highlands, and scrublands. Much of Brazil lies between 200 metres (660 ft) and 800 metres (2,600 ft) in elevation. The main upland area occupies most of the southern half of the country.[ The northwestern parts of the plateau consist of broad, rolling terrain broken by low, rounded hills.The southeastern section is more rugged, with a complex mass of ridges and mountain ranges reaching elevations of up to 1,200 metres (3,900 ft). These ranges include the Mantiqueira Mountains, the Espinhaço Mountains, and the Serra do Mar. In north, the Guiana Highlands form a major drainage divide, separating rivers that flow south into the Amazon Basin from rivers that empty into the Orinoco River system, in Venezuela, to the north. The highest point in Brazil is the Pico da Neblina at 3,014 metres (9,890 ft), and the lowest point is the Atlantic Ocean. Brazil has a dense and complex system of rivers, one of the world's most extensive, with eight major drainage basins, all of which drain into the Atlantic Ocean. Major rivers include the Amazon, the largest river in terms of volume of water, and the second-longest in the world; the Paraná and its major tributary, the Iguaçu River, where the Iguaçu Falls are located; the Negro, São Francisco, Xingu, Madeira and the Tapajós rivers.

The wildlife of Brazil is all the natural flora and fauna in the South American country. Home to 60% of the Amazon Rainforest, which contains more than one-third of all species in the world, Brazil is considered to have the greatest biodiversity of any country on the planet. It has most known species of plants (55,000), freshwater fish (3000) and mammals (over 520). It also ranks third on the list of countries with the most number of bird species (1622) and fifth with the most reptile species (468). Approximately two-thirds of all species worldwide are found in tropical areas, often coinciding with developing countries such as Brazil. Brazil is second only to Indonesia as the country with the most endemic species.

There is general consensus, that Brazil has the highest number of both terrestrialrt by the sheer size of Brazil and the great variation in ecosystems such as Amazon Rainforest, Atlantic Forest and Cerrado. The numbers published about Brazil'sed between 96,660 and 128,843 invertebrate species in Brazil. Accor Being a species-rich ecosystem for fauna and flora, Brazil houses many thousands of species, with many (if not most) of them still undiscovered. Due to the relatively explosive economic and demographic rise of the country in the last century, Brazil's ability to protect its environmental habitats has increasingly come under threat. Extensive logging in the nation's forests, particularly the Amazon, both official and unofficial, destroys areas the size of a small country each year, and potentially a diverse variety of plants and animals. However, as various species possess special characteristics, or are built in an interesting way, some of their capabilities are being copied for use in technology (see bionics), and the profit potential may result in a retardation of deforestation.

The climate of Brazil comprises a wide range of weather conditions across a large geographic scale and varied topography, but the largest part of the country is tropical. Analysed according to the Köppen system, Brazil hosts five major climatic subtypes: equatorial, tropical, semiarid, highland tropical, and temperate; ranging from equatorial rainforests in the north and semiarid deserts in the northeast, to temperate coniferous forests in the south and tropical savannas in central Brazil. Many regions have starkly different microclimates.
An equatorial climate characterizes much of northern Brazil. There is no real dry season, but there are some variations in the period of the year when most rain falls. Temperatures average 25 °C (77 °F),[23] with more significant temperature variations between night and day than between seasons. Over central Brazil rainfall is more seasonal, characteristic of a savanna climate. This region is as large and extensive as the Amazon basin but, lying farther south and being at a moderate altitude, it has a very different climate. In the interior northeast, seasonal rainfall is even more extreme. The semiarid climate region generally receives less than 800 millimetres of rain, most of which falls in a period of three to five months and occasionally even more insufficiently, creating long periods of drought. From south of Bahia, near São Paulo, the distribution of rainfall changes, where some appreciable rainfall occurs in all months. The south has temperate conditions, with average temperatures below 18 °C (64 °F) and cool winters; frosts are quite common, with occasional snowfalls in the higher areas.

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