Southwestern Amazon Moist Forests

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Manuripi National Wildlife Reserve, Pando, Bolivia.
© WWF-Canon / Eduardo RUIZ

About the Area

This Global ecoregion is made up of 4 terrestrial ecoregions: Juruá-Purus moist forests; Southwest Amazon moist forests; Purus-Madeira moist forests; and Madeira-Tapajós moist forests.

94% of this remarkable region's original forested area is still intact, with lowland tropical moist forests, unique flooded savannas dotted with palm trees, and bamboo-dominated forests blanketing an area the size of England.

High rainfall, relatively complex topography, and varied soils help these forests support the world's highest diversity of freshwater fish, birds, and butterflies, and many other kinds of organisms.

Southwest Amazon moist forests have the highest number of both mammals and birds recorded for the Amazonian biogeographic realm: 257 with 11 endemics for mammals and 782 and 17 endemics for birds.
Size:
1,886,000 sq. km (728,000 sq. miles)

Habitat type:
Tropical and Subtropical Moist Broadleaf Forests

Geographic Location:
South America: Bolivia, Brazil, and Peru

Conservation Status:
Relatively Stable/Intact

Local Species
Selected species include a small mammal called the short-eared dog (Atelocynus microtis), Southern two-toed sloth (Choloepus didactylus), pygmy marmoset (Cebuella pygmaea), saddleback tamarin (Saguinus fuscicollis), and the Goeldi's monkey (Callimico goeldii).

Southern two-toed sloths feed on leaves and fruit high in the canopy and climb down to ground level when they need to defecate.

The forests of Juruá-Purus moist forests have a super-high floristic diversity with tree richness up to 250 species per hectare near Carauari. The diversity of members of the tree family Sapotaceae is unequaled elsewhere in the Amazon lowlands, with 60 species present.
 / ©: WWF-Canon / Gustavo  YBARRA
Wild flower, Cochabamba, Bolivia.
© WWF-Canon / Gustavo YBARRA

Featured Species

 / ©: WWF-Canon / Edward PARKER
Pygmy marmoset (Callithrix pygmaea), Amazonas, Brazil.
© WWF-Canon / Edward PARKER
The world's smallest monkey, the pygmy marmoset (Cebuella pygmaea) is so small it can fit into a human palm. It measures 12-15 cm (4-6 in) (excluding the tail) and weighs less than 125g (4 oz). They have a tawny coat, and ringed tails that are as long as their bodies. Their claws are specially adapted for climbing trees, a trait unique to the species. Up to two-thirds of their time is spent gouging tree bark to reach the gummy sap. It has specialized incisors for gouging holes in bark.

They live in small groups, feeding on tree sap, insects, and small fruits. The ruff of fur around the head has led to their Spanish name, ‘Leoncito’, meaning little lion. Unfortunately, because of its small size, and its swift movements, it is very hard to observe in the wild.

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Threats
Deforestation related to agriculture and ranching, mining, road building, logging, wildlife exploitation, introduction of exotic species, mercury pollution, and hydroelectric projects are the major threats facing this region. A dramatic problem that exists in the Brazilian State of Acre and in the adjacent area of Peru is the spread of the invasive Guadua bamboo forests. This highly competitive bamboo invades and dominates abandoned clearings and threatens to dominate the disturbed areas in this region.
WWF’s work
WWF has played a unique role in the conservation of the Amazon region for over 40 years, developing scientific knowledge, experience, and key partnerships with local, regional, and international players. By delivering tangible, significant results, WWF has laid the groundwork for delivering even greater results in the years ahead.

WWF has expanded from its site-based and focused research projects to include landscape-wide research and scientific analyses, protected areas, capacity-building, policy development and reform, environmental education, and creation of alternative sources of income for local communities.

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