Panorama of a daisy forest, Galápagos...
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Panoramic photo by Dan Perlman EXPERT Taken 19:22, 09/04/2010 - Views loading...

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Panorama of a daisy forest, Galápagos Islands

The World > Pacific Ocean Islands > South America > Galapagos Islands

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Although the lowlands of the Galapagos Islands are quite arid most years, the highlands of the larger islands get significant amounts of rainfall and mist. Some parts of the highlands on the island of Sta. Cruz are home to remarkable forests that are dominated by Scalesia pedunculata trees, which are members of the daisy family. Frequent and heavy mists help support large numbers of epiphytes (plants that grown on other plants), so these forests look very much like mainland cloud forests. However, compared with mainland cloud forests, they are at lower elevations (only about 550m or 1800ft, which is about a third or less the elevation of cloud forests), much shorter (no more than 15-20m or about 50-70ft tall, less than half as tall as other cloud forests), and much less diverse due to the dominance of Scalesia trees (cloud forests frequently have dozens of tree species). Compare this panorama with the Mangrove and Arid Zone panoramas from the same island, as well as with other tropical rainforests.

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This panorama was taken in Galapagos Islands, South America

This is an overview of South America

South America makes up the southern half of the Americas and a large part of Latin America. It's home to the world's longest mountain range, biggest waterfall and largest river -- even these mammoths pale in comparison to the stunning variety of life forms thriving in the rainforest.

To the northwest, off the coast of Ecuador, lie the Galapagos Islands, which are unique for hosting species not found anywhere else on earth. These were the subject of study for Charles Darwin in his theory of evolution, which he himself said will require proof in every single case.

The main languages in South America are Spanish and Portugese, which basically tells you which European countries colonized the place. The South American wars of independence took place over two decades in the early 19th century, led by Simon Bolivar of Venezuela and Jose san Martin of Argentina.

Following liberation from Portugal and Spain, South America took off into its own development, capitalizing on the rich deposits of oil, gold, copper, silver and tango musicians.

Brazil is the largest country in South America and home to one of the world's best parties, Carnaval. Have you heard of samba music? How about bossa nova? Maybe dancing for three days straight?

I can't say enough good things about South America. All the world's continents have amazing secrets and treasures laying in wait for your discovery, but in South America... just have a look at our pictures while you're waiting for online confirmation of your plane tickets to hit your inbox.

Text by Steve Smith.

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