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Atlantic Forest: a biome with rich biodiversity
Location, general characteristics and data
Atlantic Forest is an important Brazilian biome. It is a tropical forest, distributed in thousands of fragments from the coastal region of Rio Grande do Norte to Rio Grande do Sul.
The Atlantic Forest is composed of a large group of forests. Unfortunately, its ecosystem has been suffering since the arrival of the Portuguese (1500) with deforestation, burning and environmental degradation.
For these reasons, the current vegetation corresponds to only 7% of the original (native) form. It is also considered the second largest forest in Brazil (only behind the Amazon rainforest). Its extension covers much of the east, southeast and south coast of Brazil.
Originally, the formation of the Atlantic Forest vegetation covered an area of 1.3 million km², in parts of 17 states (PI, CE, RN, PB, PE, AL, SE, BA, ES, RJ, MG, GO, MS, SP, PR, SC, RS).
The ecosystems that exist in the forests of the Atlantic Forest are responsible for the production, regulation and supply of water; climate regulation and balance; slope protection and disaster mitigation; fertility and soil protection.
They are also responsible for the production of food, wood, fibers, oils and medicines; In addition to providing wonderful landscapes and preserving a historical and cultural heritage of great value.
In the Atlantic Forest there are many vegetation species of all kinds. It's about twenty thousand. This number corresponds to approximately 33% of the species that exist in Brazil.
Examples of plant species: bromeliads, begonias, orchids, ipe, palm trees, quaresmeira, redwood, vines, bryophytes, rosewood, peroba, jambo, jequitibá rosa, imbaúba, cedar, andira, pineapple and fig trees.
The forest is home to many species of animals. Around 850 species of birds live in the Atlantic Forest, 370 amphibians, 200 reptiles, 265 mammals and 350 fish.
Many of these animal species are in danger of extinction.
Main animal species of the Atlantic Forest: golden lion tamarin, howler monkey, giant anteater, deer, skunk, agouti, giant armadillo, mono-charcoal, guinea fowl, otter, coati, tapir, jaguar, ocelot and capybara.
Most of the Atlantic Forest is in regions of humid tropical climate, because they are under the action of oceanic air masses. The humidity (with regular rainfall) and the large amount of shade formed by the large trees favor the ecosystem for the development of plant and animal species.
- In 1500, the year of the Portuguese arrival in Brazil, the Atlantic Forest covered about 13% of the Brazilian territory.
- On June 14, 1937, the first Atlantic Forest National Park, the Itatiaia National Park, was created. It currently houses about 360 species of birds (including hawks, quail and toucans) and 67 species of mammals (such as monkeys and sloths).
- The Atlantic Forest is the Brazilian biome, which suffered the most environmental impacts, caused by man, during the economic cycles of Brazilian history.