Orinoco Delta Swamp Forests Ecoregion (South America)

Orinoco Delta Swamp Forests Ecoregion (South America)

Wed, 01/02/2019 - 20:50
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The Orinoco Delta Swamp Forests occur in a diverse and porous matrix of coastal vegetation types along the river delta and surrounding regions of northwestern Venezuela and northeastern Guyana. These inundated forests provide habitat to a number of endangered and endemic species.

The Orinoco Delta Swamp Forests occur in a diverse and porous matrix of coastal vegetation types along the Orinoco river delta and surrounding regions of northwestern Venezuela and northeastern Guyana. These inundated forests are have moderate species richness and provide habitat to a number of endangered and endemic species.

Much of this region is still intact due to its inaccessibility and poor soils, however recently oil exploration and extraction projects have encroached into these once pristine forests.

Climate in this region is tropical, hot and humid. Precipitation varies throughout the region, becoming increasingly wetter and more humid moving south. Rainfall is irregular and the wet season begin in April/May and usually last through December.

Geographically this is a landscape of little relief. The soils in this ecoregion are almost entirely alluvial deposits, originating as far away as the northern Andes of Colombia and Venezuela.

These swamp forests are characteristically impregnated with river systems and hosts a great diversity of riparian features including permanent wetlands and marshes (Orinoco wetlands ecoregion), large rivers, oxbows lakes, small gallery streams, levies, and the typical delta alluvial fan.

The delta itself consists of increasingly partitioned distributions which become more confined and disjunct as they diverge from the main channel, then come together again as they move east towards the Atlantic Ocean. In so doing these numerous rivers form a great number of islands.

The swamp forests of the Orinoco (Amacuro) Delta are important wildlife habitats and are known to support a number of endemic plant species. Swamp forests are the dominant vegetation feature of the Orinoco Delta and the ecoregion is embedded in a complex matrix of wetlands, mangroves, and both inundated and terra firma moist forest. These swamp forests are characterized by permanently inundated forests and abundant waterways and canals.