3 Biomes of Brazil's
The importance of biomes cannot be underestimated. They are the major cities of the natural world housing many unique forms of life while protecting our oceans, forests and deserts. Under assault from mankind for decades they are rapidly being destroyed.
Biome 1 -
Status: Both are critically endangered. Uncontrolled tourism and development along the coast continues to deplete a dwindling resource.
Atlantic forest Caatinga forest
Risk: Poor communities are dependent on its wood for fuel and construction material. It's honey, fruits, fibers and medicinal plants for their health.
(Mata Atlântica), not the Amazon, houses the largest biodiversity on the planet. More than 50% of its trees are endemic and
are located nowhere else. It stretches over 5.000km along the Atlantic coast varying in height and species. Due to the strong pressure by an increasing population the forests are now largely destroyed. Of the original 1 Million km of undisturbed forest, only isolated patches remain. The World Wildlife Fund has designated the forests of eastern coastal Brazil, along with Madagascar, as the most endangered habitats on earth.
A Tupi Indian word meaning "white forest”.
The caatinga is located only in Northeast Brazil and is one of the least studied and understood eco regions in the hemisphere.
Caatinga is a hardy drought-resistant thorn scrub whose presence helps stabilize the sand dunes. Increased human activity is jeopardizing its effectiveness increasing the likelihood of erosion. The health of these forest directly effect the local fishing communities who are dependent on its wood for fuel and medicinal plants.
Biome 2 -
Uncontrolled tourism is probably the major threat to the area. Lack of financial resources for enforcement, research and monitoring contributes to their degradation.
Coastal Sand Dunes.
The massive dune fields of this semi-arid region lie wedged between ocean and forest. Reaching height’s well over 150 meters, these majestic sand dunes are over two million years old. Strong winds, abundance of salt, and high surface temperatures, create difficult conditions for vegetation. Those that exist have adapted, and are called pioneer plants. The pioneers facilitate the appearance of other plants such as caatinga.
Risk: Due to high susceptibility to erosion human occupation must be prevented. It can lead to a complete degradation and deterioration of these ancient sand dune systems. This in turn could lead to irreversible atmospheric and biodiversity changes.
The white sands of this region are composed of microscopic reef animals and algae, including wave-worn fragments of brightly colored corals, teeny one-celled organisms and tiny fragments of sea shells and star-shaped sponge and coral.
The dunes also provides habitats for a variety of life which have adapted to this sea of drifting sand. Scientist have recently identified a new genus and species of lizards completely adapted to subterraneous life in the sands and similar to those reported for Australian and South African deserts
*Research contribution: SIGEP / Alcina Barreto, Kenitiro Seguio, Paulo Oliveira, Sonia Tatumi.
Biome 3 -
Coral Reef - Mangrove
Status: Unrestrained urban development poses a serious threat, both in terms of increasing erosion and as a source of pollution and untreated sewage. Destructive fishing practices from both commercial and artisanal fisheries are also contributors.
Risk: Marginal communities that depend on aquatic resources for 80% of there protein intake.
The coastal equivalent of tropical forests on land. Brazil has one of the largest extensions of manguezal in the world.
Year after year, fish by the thousand spawn in these Brazilian sea forests.
Hundreds of migratory birds, marine creatures and reptiles depend on its woody salt resistant vegetation for survival.
Coastal artisan fishers are dependent on its storehouse of materials which provide food, medicines, shelter and tools
Today, these mangroves are competing with agriculture, salt extraction, tourist development and infrastructure. But the biggest threat comes from shrimp farms which constitute the main cause of mangrove destruction loss in northeast Brazil and the world.
The coral reefs of northeast Brazil extends nearly the entire length of its 4000 km coastline.
The only coral reefs in the whole south Atlantic region, they are separated from the reefs of the Caribbean by natural barriers. This isolation has created a unique fauna most of which are found nowhere else in the world.
Local communities depend on the reefs high diversity of fish and other organisms that thrive in coral reefs: crustaceans, mollusks, algae, sponges and sea worms.
Without reefs mangroves would not survive. Coral Reefs stand between the ocean and the sea-forest protecting its fragile plants and fish nurseries from wave damage.
Today, there is no legislation or management plan outside of limited protected areas, to protect these reefs, from current threats, such as over fishing, uncontrolled tourism, sediment runoff, pollution, etc.