Atlantic Forest

Travel Guide South America Atlantic Forest

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Introduction

The Atlantic Forest is a terrestrial biome and region which extends along the Atlantic coast of Brazil from Rio Grande do Norte state in the north to Rio Grande do Sul state in the south, and inland as far as Paraguay and the Misiones Province of Argentina, where the region is known as Selva Misionera.

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Geography

The Atlantic Forest has ecoregions within the following biome categories: Tropical and subtropical moist broadleaf forests, Tropical and subtropical dry broadleaf forests, Tropical and subtropical grasslands, savannas, and shrublands, and Mangrove forests. The Atlantic Forest is characterized by a high species diversity and endemism. Two UNESCO World Heritage sites are part of the Atlantic Forest: Discovery Coast Atlantic Forest Reserves and Atlantic Forest South-East Reserves.

It was the first environment that the Portuguese colonizers encountered over 500 years ago, when it was thought to have had an area of 1,000,000 to 1,500,000 km2, and stretching an unknown distance inland. Over 85% of the original area has been deforested, threatening many plants and animals with extinction. Currently, the Atlantic Forest spans over 4,000 km2 along the coast of Brazil and in a small part of Paraguay and Argentina.

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Sights and Activities

Flora and Fauna

Despite so little forest remaining, the Atlantic Forest remains extraordinarily lush in biodiversity and endemic species, many of which are threatened with extinction. Approximately 40% of its vascular plants and up 60 percent of its vertebrates are endemic species, meaning they are found nowhere else in the world. The official threatened species list of Brazil contains over 140 terrestrial mammal species found in Atlantic Forest. In Paraguay there are 35 species listed as threatened, and 22 species are listed as threatened in the interior portion of the Atlantic Forest of Argentina. Nearly 250 species of amphibians, birds, and mammals have become extinct due to the result of human activity in the past 400 years. Over 11,000 species of plants and animals are considered threatened today in the Atlantic Forest.

Over 52% of the tree species and 92% of the amphibians are endemic to this area. The forest harbors around 20,000 species of plants, with almost 450 tree species being found in just one hectare in some occasions.

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Weather

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Getting There and Around

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Eat/Drink

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Sleep

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This is version 1. Last edited at 10:06 on Jan 29, 16 by Utrecht. 2 articles link to this page.

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