The Amazon River Basin: Geography & Climate

An error occurred trying to load this video.

Try refreshing the page, or contact customer support.

Coming up next: US Time Zones: Pacific, Mountain, Central & Eastern

You're on a roll. Keep up the good work!

Take Quiz Watch Next Lesson
Your next lesson will play in 10 seconds
  • 0:03 What Is the Amazon…
  • 1:05 Climate
  • 1:34 Flora & Fauna
  • 3:00 Human Geography
  • 4:11 Lesson Summary
Save Save Save

Want to watch this again later?

Log in or sign up to add this lesson to a Custom Course.

Log in or Sign up

Speed Speed

Recommended Lessons and Courses for You

Lesson Transcript
Instructor: David Wood

David has taught Honors Physics, AP Physics, IB Physics and general science courses. He has a Masters in Education, and a Bachelors in Physics.

What exactly is the Amazon River basin? Learn about the geography, flora and fauna, and climate of one of the most biologically diverse and valuable parts of Earth in this lesson.

What Is the Amazon River Basin?

The Amazon River is widely considered the second-longest river in the world, though some claim that it might actually be the longest. Longest or not, there's no doubt that it has staggering importance to the world's ecosystems. The Amazon runs through South America through some of the densest rainforests in the world, containing more biodiversity than anywhere on Earth. And, it carries the largest volume of water to the sea - the Amazon is responsible for 20% of the sea-bound freshwater of the world. The Amazon River basin is the area that drains water into the Amazon, including all its tributaries.

The Amazon River basin stretches from the Brazilian Highlands in the south, to the Guiana Highlands in the north. Its area is around 2.7 million square miles, and it covers almost half of South America, including a total of eight countries: Colombia, Bolivia, Guiana, Ecuador, Peru, Brazil, Venezuela, and Suriname. It begins in the Andes in the West and eventually flows into the Atlantic Ocean.


With the basin's close proximity to the equator, the climate doesn't vary greatly like it does in other parts of the world. The conditions are almost always hot and humid. It rains virtually every day, and the variations between day and night tend to be greater than the variations between seasons. However there are still two distinct seasons: a wet and a less wet season. The wet season runs from about September to May, and the less wet season is from about June to August.

Flora and Fauna

The plants (or flora) and animals (or fauna) in the Amazon River basin are among the most diverse in the world. The year-round rain, huge amounts of sunlight, and high temperatures have produced a land of tropical evergreen trees that have grown to be incredibly tall. Trees in the rainforest tend to be 130 feet in many places, and the canopy at the top of the trees is so dense that very little sunlight makes it to the floor of the rainforest. This produces huge variations in the life found at different heights: the dark rainforest floor contains very different kinds of plants and animals than you would find at the canopy.

Aside from its trees, the Amazon River basin is home to many types of orchids that climb trees to reach the light, as well as rubber trees and tropical fruit trees, including those that grow Brazil nuts and cocoa. The tallest tree in the Amazon is the kapok tree, which can reach a height of 200 feet.

The Amazon is awash with animals, including at least 1,400 mammal species, 1,500 bird species, 1,000 amphibian species, over 2,000 fish species, and tens of thousands of insect species, as well as hundreds of species of reptiles like snakes and lizards. Some of the most famous animals include bats, jaguars, boa constrictors, anacondas, and piranhas. However, it is worth noting that much of the Amazon River basin remains unexplored, and so there are likely far more species than those we know about.

To unlock this lesson you must be a Member.
Create your account

Register to view this lesson

Are you a student or a teacher?

Unlock Your Education

See for yourself why 30 million people use

Become a member and start learning now.
Become a Member  Back
What teachers are saying about
Try it risk-free for 30 days

Earning College Credit

Did you know… We have over 200 college courses that prepare you to earn credit by exam that is accepted by over 1,500 colleges and universities. You can test out of the first two years of college and save thousands off your degree. Anyone can earn credit-by-exam regardless of age or education level.

To learn more, visit our Earning Credit Page

Transferring credit to the school of your choice

Not sure what college you want to attend yet? has thousands of articles about every imaginable degree, area of study and career path that can help you find the school that's right for you.

Create an account to start this course today
Try it risk-free for 30 days!
Create an account