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Geographic map of French Guiana

Geographic map of French Guiana

French Guiana or French Guiana is an overseas region and department of France in South America, with code INSEE 973, and an outermost region of the European Union.
This territory borders Brazil to the south and east, Suriname to the west and the Atlantic Ocean to the north.
It has a surface area of approximately 85,000 km² and is one of the nine outermost regions of the European Union, of which it is the only territory in South America. The capital of French Guiana is Cayenne, with 57,318 inhabitants (as of 2009) and is the seat of the prefecture as well as the region and the department, within which it represents both the most populous city and the one with the smallest territorial extension.

Geography –
French Guiana is located in the northern part of South America, in the region known as Guyana, bordered by Brazil to the south and east, Suriname to the west, and the Atlantic Ocean to the north.
French Guiana is characterized by a vast Amazon rainforest that covers much of its territory. This forest is part of the Guyana Rainforest ecoregion. The region is crossed by numerous rivers, including the Maroni River, the Kourou River and the Approuague River. These rivers are important transportation routes and provide vital habitat for local wildlife.
The capital of French Guiana is Cayenne, which is located on the north-eastern coast of the country. Cayenne is also the main economic and cultural center of the region.
French Guiana has a relatively small population, with a lower population density than other parts of South America. Most of the population is concentrated along the coast, with a significant presence of indigenous people in inland areas.
The economy of French Guiana is mainly based on agriculture, the extractive industry and the service sector. Agriculture includes the cultivation of products such as banana, sugarcane and rice. The mining industry focuses on the production of gold and wood, while the service sector includes activities such as tourism and government services.
This country is home to a diverse range of natural habitats, including rainforests, savannas, swamps and sandy coasts. These habitats provide refuge for a rich diversity of flora and fauna, including numerous wildlife such as jaguars, pumas, tapirs, caimans and a wide range of birds and insects.
French Guiana is rich in natural resources, including gold, timber, oil and fisheries. However, the exploitation of these resources is subject to strict environmental regulations to preserve the region’s unique ecosystem.

Climate –
French Guiana, located in the northern part of South America, has a tropical climate with distinctive characteristics. Its climatic conditions are mainly influenced by its equatorial position and proximity to the Atlantic Ocean.
Temperatures in French Guiana are generally warm and consistent throughout the year. Daytime highs tend to vary from 28°C to 32°C, while nighttime lows are around 22°C – 24°C. Temperatures do not undergo large seasonal variations.
French Guiana is characterized by high atmospheric humidity throughout the year, with levels that can exceed 80-90%. This high humidity helps create a humid tropical climate.
Precipitation is abundant and evenly distributed throughout the year. The rainy season runs from December to July, with peak rainfall between April and June. The amount of rainfall can vary considerably from one region of the country to another.
French Guiana has two main seasons: the rainy season and the dry season. However, the climate is generally humid throughout the year. The rainy season, which runs from December to July, is characterized by heavy rainfall and high humidity. The dry season, which runs from August to November, generally has less rainfall, but humidity remains high.
This region is subject to the risk of tropical cyclones during the rainy season. These events can bring strong winds and torrential rain, causing flooding and damage to infrastructure.
In summary, the climate of French Guiana is typically tropical, with warm temperatures, high humidity and abundant rainfall throughout the year. The region is characterized by a pronounced rainy season and dry season, with the added risk of tropical cyclones during the rainier months.

Flora –
French Guiana hosts within itself one of the most important and extensive portions of primary Amazon forest, which, especially in the internal areas of the territory, has a very low level of fragmentation and constitutes an important biodiversity hotspot. In addition to the tropical rainforest, numerous other tropical habitats are also represented in the department: coastal mangroves, savannah, wetlands and monadnock.
So far, 5,500 plant species have been counted in the department (including at least a thousand tree forms), 684 species of birds, over 500 species of fish (of which approximately 45% are endemic), 177 species of mammals, 109 species of amphibians : in total, over 98% of the vertebrate species and 96% of the plant species of the whole of France are concentrated in Guyana alone. The beaches of the north-western portion of the department represent one of the most important nesting sites for the leatherback turtle, while the Connétable Islands represent a very important nesting area for numerous species of seabirds.
Environmental protection is entrusted to a national park (the Amazon Park of French Guiana, established in 2007) and six nature reserves: however, the construction of roads and dams, the lack of efficient controls on poaching and the exploitation of mineral resources and trees and population pressure are potential threats to Guyanese ecosystems. In 2009, the creation of a single entity responsible for controlling development policies and environmental conservation was proposed.
Some of the most common and significant species are:
Acai Palm (Euterpe oleracea): This palm produces small, dark purple fruits known as Acai berries, which have become popular around the world for their purported health benefits.
Mahogany (Swietenia macrophylla): This tree produces valuable wood that is widely used in the furniture industry for its beauty and durability.
Cedar (Cedrela odorata): Deciduous tree known for its aromatic wood used in the production of furniture and musical instruments.
West Indian juniper (Juniperus barbadensis): This tree is native to the West Indies and French Guiana, and its berries are used to produce essential oil.
Cinchona (Cinchona officinalis): This tree is known for bark containing quinine, a compound used to treat malaria.
Orchids: French Guiana is home to numerous species of orchids, many of which are endemic to the region and are prized for their beauty and variety.
Bromeliads: This family of tropical plants includes several species found in French Guiana, such as wild pineapple plants.
Lotus leaves (Nelumbo nucifera): This aquatic plant is known for its floating leaves that can reach considerable sizes.
These are just a few of the many plant species found in French Guiana. The region continues to be the subject of scientific research to discover and catalog its rich biological diversity.

Fauna –
French Guiana, located in the northern part of South America, is rich in a wide range of animal species, thanks to its vast Amazon rainforest and unique ecosystems. Some of the most iconic and interesting species found in the fauna of French Guiana are:
Jaguar (Panthera onca): The jaguar is the largest feline in the Americas and can be spotted in the rainforest of French Guiana. It is a solitary and very skilled predator.
Tamandua (Tamandua tetradactyla): This mammal is a relatively small anteater, with a long sticky tongue that it uses to capture its main prey: ants and termites.
Ararauna (Ara ararauna): This colorful parrot is common in the rainforest of French Guiana. Its blue and yellow feathers make it an iconic species of the region.
Green Anaconda (Eunectes murinus): It is one of the largest snake species in the world and can reach impressive sizes. It lives in aquatic areas such as rivers and swamps.
Howler monkey (Alouatta spp.): This great ape is known for its distinctive call that can be heard for miles. It lives in the forests of French Guiana in social groups.
Tapir (Tapirus terrestris): This large mammal is present in the region and inhabits rainforests and aquatic areas. It is known for its distinctive appearance and for being a good swimmer.
Puma (Puma concolor): Also known as the mountain lion, the puma is an agile, solitary feline that can be found in French Guiana. It is an effective predator that hunts a wide range of prey.
Toucan (Ramphastos spp.): These birds with large, colorful beaks are common in the region and play an important role in the forest ecosystem as seed dispersers.
These are just some of the most emblematic species present in the fauna of French Guiana. The region is home to rich biodiversity that includes a wide range of mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians and insects, many of which are unique and adapted to Amazon rainforest ecosystems.

Guido Bissanti

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