Life involves Earth with its diversity and exuberance. It can be found from the iced poles to the heat of tropical forests, filling out land, water and air with millions species of animals, plants, fungi and microorganisms. However, the global biodiversity is at risk due to the human pressure. In the Anthropocene, we became the most dangerous species on the planet. The Atlantic Forest is an example of this.
The Atlantic Forest is formed by dense forests with rains all year around and seasonal forests with one rainy and one dry season. When they occur in high altitudes with low temperatures they are deciduous seasonal ones, but when they make transition from wet areas to dry areas they are semi-deciduous ones.
The altitude fields of the Atlantic Forest are located on the peaks of the mountains of the Serra do Mar which goes from Rio de Janeiro to the North of Santa Catarina, and Serra da Mantiqueira, also in the State of Rio de Janeiro in addition to São Paulo and Minas Gerais; its vegetation contain gramineous plants and other herbs in addition to shrubs and small trees.
Marshes and swamp areas occur in the coastline soils unstable by the constant deposition of sea and river sands also quite influenced by salinity. Due to its large biological production these ecosystems are economically important to the traditional communities such as the caiçaras (coast areas inhabitants) who fish many species of fishes and crustaceans that reproduce in these sites.
Salt marshes or sandbanks are Atlantic Forest ecosystems occurring in the shore region being one of the most endangered areas; more than 90% of its original vegetation has already been altered by human action, even if there has already been asserted that there is large number of species existing only in this ecosystem. In Rio de Janeiro, for example, up to 204 species of vascular plants are endemic.
The golden-lion tamarin (Leontopithecus rosalia) or golden marmoset is a primate species occurring in the Brazilian Atlantic Forest only in the State of Rio de Janeiro. Deforestation, fragmentation of the habitat and wildlife traffic almost led to their extinction; today the major risks these animals are exposed to are illegal trade, advance of farming and modifications in the environment.
The spotted jaguar (Panthera onca)- onça pintada - is a carnivore mammal of the Felidae family found in the Americas being the third largest feline in the world, after tigers and lions and the largest in the American continent. In Brazil the jaguar lives in the Atlantic Forest, the Amazon, the Pantanal, Cerrado and Caatinga; among the main hazards faced by this animal are illegal trade, expansion of farming and modifications of ecosystems.
The coati (Nasua nasua) is also called band coati or ring-tailed coati. It is a mammal predominantly found in the southern part of the Central America, South America including the Atlantic Forest. Among the major hazards faced by the species are deforestation, fragmentation of the habitat, expansion of farming and use in biological research.
The redwood (Caesalpinia echinata), also known as Arabutã, ibirapiranga, Ibirapita, ibirapitanga and Orabutã, is an endemic tree on the Atlantic Forest. Explored since the 15th century for international trade, the redwood has become a symbol of deforestation in the country and the predatory extraction of the resources of the rainforest.
Most of the Brazilian population lives in the Atlantic Forest although in the deforested territory for construction of cities. But the forests also shelter a large cultural diversity formed during centuries. This is the case of indigenous peoples, caiçaras and quilombolas. Unfortunately, many of these people were expelled from its original territories.
National parks conserve the Atlantic Forest, allowing the preservation of ecosystems and their sustainable use, such as for ecotourism. Altogether, there are 24 national parks in the Atlantic Forest. One of the most famous is the Iguaçu National Park, in the state of Paraná, which has one of the most spectacular sets of Earth falls, the Iguaçu Falls. This park preserves one of the largest stretches of the original vegetation of the Atlantic Forest and saves biodiversity of fauna and flora, and, in addition, water resources. Other famous national parks are in the Chapada Diamantina, Serra do Caparaó, Serra dos Órgãos, and Floresta da Tijuca.
Chairman of IDG's Board of Directors: Fred Arruda
CEO: Ricardo Piquet
Chief Curator: Luiz Alberto Oliveira
Director of Content: Alfredo Tolmasquim
Director of Operations & Finance: Henrique Oliveira
Director of Public Development: Alexandre Fernandes
Director of Planning & Management: Vinicius Capillé
Director of Funding: Renata Salles
Exhibitions & Observatory of Tomorrow Manager: Leonardo Menezes
Research and Writing: Davi Bonela
Editing text: Emanuel Alencar
Photos: Cristian Dimittri e images under creative commons