“It may not be the most enormous or the most populated continent, but South America is the most diverse – it holds 5 of the world’s biodiversity hotspots, as well as the biggest tropical wilderness on Earth. Between them, South America’s diverse regions hold irreplaceable ecosystems teeming with life – which in turn produce countless free services and resources for people across the continent, including the earth’s largest supply of one of our most basic survival needs: fresh water.” Conservation International
QUICK FACTS ABOUT SOUTH AMERICA
- Six of the 17 so-called mega-diverse countries are found in South America: Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia and Venezuela.
- South America has nearly 26% of the world’s renewable sources of freshwater.
- South America contains more than 40% of the world’s plant and animal species, in an area smaller than 15% of the Earth’s land surface.
- Argentina’s Patagonia has one of the highest wind energy potentials on Earth.
- More than 20% of Earth’s oxygen is produced in the Amazon Rainforest, earning it the nickname the “Lungs of the Planet”
In South America you will find the world’s…
- Largest river by volume and the second-longest: Amazon
- Largest rainforest: Amazon (which represents 54% of the total rainforests left on Earth)
- Longest mountain range: Andes
- Largest commercially navigable lake: Lake Titicaca (shared by Bolivia & Peru)
- Largest salt lake: Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia
- Driest place: Atacama Desert, Chile
- Highest capital city: La Paz, Bolivia
- Highest point in the Western Hemisphere: Mount Aconcagua (6,960.8 m or 22,837.3 ft) in Mendoza province, Argentina
- Lowest point in the Western Hemisphere: Laguna del Carbon (105 m or 344 ft below sea level) in Santa Cruz province, Argentina
- Highest waterfall: Angel Falls, Venezuela
- Southernmost inhabited community: Puerto Toro, Chile