Terrain shapes and bedrock
According to 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, 10–19 °C.
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.