The Juruá-Purus Moist Forests: A Biodiversity Hotspot in Brazil's Amazonian Heart

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The Juruá-Purus Moist Forests: A Biodiversity Hotspot in Brazil's Amazonian Heart

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The Juruá-Purus Moist Forests are in northwestern Brazil, south of the upper Amazon River. The ecoregion covers the valleys between the upper Amazon to the Purus River. It is part of the Amazon Biome and is mainly covered with evergreen tropical rainforests with a dense high canopy.

Exploring the Verdant Tapestry of the Juruá-Purus Moist Forests Ecoregion

Deep within the Amazonian basin of northwestern Brazil, the Juruá-Purus moist forests ecoregion is a verdant realm of unparalleled biodiversity and ecological significance. This ecoregion, spanning an expansive area of approximately 24,000,000 hectares (60,000,000 acres), encompasses the lush valleys between the upper Amazon River and the Purus River, forming an integral part of the vast Amazon Biome.

A Tapestry of Evergreen Splendor

The Juruá-Purus moist forests are characterized by a stunning tapestry of evergreen tropical rainforests adorned with a dense, towering canopy that stretches as far as the eye can see. These ancient woodlands are woven into the fabric of the region's flat, forested plains, dissected by an intricate network of large rivers and countless small streams. These streams experience annual flooding due to the Amazon Basin's hydrological cycles.

A Climate of Tropical Abundance

Warm and humid conditions prevail throughout the year in the Juruá-Purus moist forests, with average annual precipitation ranging from 2,500 to 3,500 millimeters (98 to 138 inches) and temperatures hovering around a balmy 26 to 27 degrees Celsius (79 to 81 degrees Fahrenheit). This tropical climate fosters an unparalleled abundance, enabling diverse flora and fauna to thrive within the ecoregion's boundaries.

Botanical Diversity: A Treasure Trove of Species

The evergreen tropical rainforests of the Juruá-Purus moist forests ecoregion are a veritable treasure trove of botanical diversity. The most prominent tree families found here include legumes, evergreens, woody fruiting trees, flowering trees, aromatic evergreens, palms, figs, and nutmeg trees, each contributing to the region's rich tapestry of plant life.

A Unique Floristic Composition

One of the ecoregion's most remarkable features is the unparalleled diversity of the Sapotaceae family of flowering trees, with an astounding 60 species present – a concentration unmatched in any other Amazon lowland region. Additionally, the area boasts a high diversity of valuable timber species, further underscoring its ecological and economic importance.

A Refuge for Diverse Fauna

The Juruá-Purus moist forests ecoregion is a botanical wonderland and a haven for a remarkably diverse array of animal life. With 171 recorded mammalian species, including nearly 120 species documented at a single site near the headwaters of the Urucu River, the ecoregion's faunal diversity is truly staggering.

Unique Ecological Dynamics

The intricate interplay between flooded and non-flooded forests shapes the region's ecological dynamics. Certain species, such as squirrel monkeys, brown pale-fronted capuchins, woolly monkeys, and collared peccaries, easily traverse the rivers. However, these waterways act as natural barriers for other species, leading to the evolution of distinct subspecies of primates and insects on either side.

Avian Wonders

The Juruá-Purus moist forests ecoregion is a hotspot for avian diversity, with a remarkable 554 recorded bird species. From seasonal migrant birds like toucans, large Amazon parrots, and macaws to resident species such as tanagers, woodcreepers, pavonine quetzals, curassows, and tinamous, the ecoregion's avifauna is a true spectacle to behold.

Conservation Challenges and Efforts

Despite its ecological significance, the Juruá-Purus moist forests ecoregion faces several conservation challenges. The Trans-Amazon Highway, which runs through the region, has led to extensive land conversion, burning, and water pollution. Additionally, oil and natural gas exploration activities by the Brazilian company Petrobras have resulted in deforestation throughout the area. Urban centers and small farmer settlements have also impacted the forest environment along the rivers.

Several protected areas have been established within the ecoregion to mitigate these threats, including the Jutaí-Solimões Ecological Station, which covers an impressive 289,511 hectares (715,400 acres). These conservation efforts aim to safeguard the region's invaluable natural heritage and ensure the long-term preservation of its unique biodiversity.


The Juruá-Purus moist forests ecoregion stands as a verdant realm of unparalleled ecological significance, a true jewel in the crown of the Amazon Basin. From its lush evergreen rainforests and diverse botanical composition to its remarkable faunal diversity and unique ecological dynamics, this ecoregion is a testament to the incredible richness and complexity of the natural world. As we strive to conserve and protect this precious ecosystem, we must remain vigilant to preserve its wonders for generations.

Juruá-Purus moist forests map

Map depicting the Juruá-Purus moist forests (purple).