Terrain shapes and bedrock
COUNTRYAAH, Panama is the easternmost part of the Central American
strip of land. Of its three natural regions, the hot lowland
area comprises about 85%. It is lower than 700 m above sea
level. and is mainly built up of sedimentary rocks. Plains
and hill areas spread along the coasts. To the west of the
Panama Gulf, the Azuero Peninsula extends far south. On the
continental shelves off the coast are 1,500 islands.
A temperate land area (10% of Panama's area) spreads
between 700 and 1,500 m above sea level. and a cold highland
area over 1,500 m above sea level. The bedrock here is
mainly of volcanic origin; the highest peak is the
extinguished volcano Chiriquí (Barú, 3,475 m above sea
level), which extends to the west of the Tabasará Mountains.
To the east of the canal zone rises on the northern side of
the San Blas cordillary and the Darién Mountains and
furthest to the southeast of the Sapo Mountains.
Panama has numerous short rivers; the biggest is Tuira.
Various earth moons occur, both of the lateritic and black
muddy type, savannah and fertile volcanic soil.
Most of Panama has a humid tropical climate; only along
the Pacific coast is it drier. January-April is dry season
and May-December rainy season, except in the mountains and
on the Caribbean coast where rain falls at all times of the
year. The Caribbean lowlands receive 1 500–3 500 mm per year
and the Pacific coast 1,100–2 250 mm. The annual average
temperature in the lowlands on the Caribbean is 27 °C and
in the mountains, where the climate is of a temperate type,
The southern parts are more or less forestless fields and
pastures, while the northern ones are dominated by lowland
rainforests, where it grows, for example. mahogany and
cocoa. In the volcanic Talamanca Cordillera, there are
mountain rainforests with epiphyte-covered fog forest at
higher altitudes. Extensive mangrove vegetation including
the genus Aviceʹnnia is found along the coasts.
The flora includes over 7,000 species of veneerogams and
more than 800 species of ferns, but with the exception of
the canal zone is insufficiently explored. In relation to
size, however, Panama is one of the areas of the earth that
has very large biodiversity, and the number of endemic
species has been estimated to be about 20%, in the higher
mountain areas perhaps 50%.
Panama has many mammal species in common with northern
South America. There are a total of about 210 species of
mammals, of which just over half are bats. There are seven
species of monkeys, among others. red spider monkey
(Aʹteles geoffroyi [-rɔ in ʹi]) and
mantle monkey (Alouaʹtta palliaʹta). Predators
include the common noseberry (Naʹsua naʹsua),
the cat animals jaguar, jaguarundi and ozelot, and in the
south-east glasses bear. Antlers, sleepwalkers, Central
American tapir (Tapiʹrus baiʹrdi) and umbilical
swine also occur.
Almost 900 species of birds have been found.
hummingbirds, ant birds, manacins and tangars are richly
represented. The glasses are common, while lace crocodile (Crocodyʹlus
acuʹtus) is rare. Since the Panama Canal was completed,
several species of marine animals have spread between the
Caribbean and the Pacific.
In 2010, Panama had 15 national parks, the largest of
which was Darién (5,970 km2). In addition, there
were a number of larger game reserves. The island of Barro
Colorado (54 km2) in Lake Gatún was deposited in
1977 as a national monument. Overall, just over 20% of the
country enjoyed some form of protection.