The Upper Amazon River Basin of Central South America covers a vast area, including large areas of Eastern Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru.
Here, we focus in on Peru's rain forest and some of its features.
You may have seen reports in the world news about sightings of a previously uncontacted tribe on the Peru-Brazil border.
Or perhaps you have watched documentaries of alligators, parrots, butterflies, or other aspects of Peru's jungles. Perhaps you are one of the millions of people who have been fascinated by the Amazon rain forest for years. You may have visited it or plan on visiting this verdant jungle in the future.
There certainly is a lot to be seen in Peru's tropical forests; in fact, more than you could see in one lifetime.
Eco-tourism, where tours focus on viewing nature without disturbing the environment, is playing a role in the preservation of the tropical rain forests here in Peru. How?
The tourist dollar provides a living for some who would otherwise be clear-cutting the jungle for farming or illegal lumber and mining activities and is a monetary incentive to keep the jungle the way it is - and attract more tourist dollars.
Two of the focal points for eco-tourism are Puerto Maldonado - near the southeastern border of Peru and Bolivia - and Iquitos, a jumping-off spot for treks and river-boating on the vast waterways of northern Peru.
How big is the Peruvian rain forest? Big. Stretching from Colombia and Ecuador on the north, down the eastern border with Brazil and Bolivia, the "Oriente" (eastern jungle) of Peru's selva region seems unlimited, especially considering most of it is virtually inaccessible.
To get an idea of the size of Peru's jungle, look at just the northern end of the rain forest.
The Departamento (state) of Loreto (the dark green area on the map to the left) is bigger than the entire country of Ecuador.
Then, within Loreto itself, there are several large ecological reserves.
Just one, the Pacaya Samiria National Reserve, lying between the Pacaya and Samiria rivers, is itself larger than the state of New Jersey in the USA.
Zooming in a little closer, the Pacaya-Samiria Reserve has over 80 lakes and is home to 132 species of mammals, 13 of them primates (monkeys).
There are over 449 species of birds, 250 species of fish and 150 reptile species. The Reserve is also home to 22 species of orchids.
The numbers above are just a small segment of Peru's Selva, the Oriente.
All in all, Peru's tropical rain forest, rivers, plants, and animals offer a broad field of research with new plants and animals being discovered regularly.
And for those more inclined just to relax and enjoy, the tropical rainforests of Peru are a real delight.
~ David Schneider and his wife Lin live in Los Organos, Northern Peru, and write regularly about Peru's sights and secrets on their web site, Inside-Peru.com.