South America is one of the most biodiverse continents on earth. It is home to many interesting and unique species of animals including the llama, anaconda, piranha, jaguar, vicuña, and tapir. The Amazon rainforests possess high biodiversity, containing a major proportion of the Earth’s species. Brazil is the largest country in South America, encompassing around half of the continent’s land area and population. The remaining countries and territories are divided among three regions: The Andean States, the Guianas and the Southern Cone.
Important factors in the determination of climates are sea currents, such as the current Humboldt and Falklands. There are several areas of sparse demographics such as tropical forests, the Atacama Desert and the icy portions of Patagonia.
South America relies less on the export of both manufactured goods and natural resources than the world average. Also, their merchandise exports from the continent were 16% of GDP on an exchange rate basis, compared to 25% for the world as a whole. Brazil (the seventh largest economy in the world and the largest in South America) leads in terms of merchandise exports at $251 billion, followed by Venezuela at $93 billion, Chile at $86 billion, and Argentina at $84 billion.