According to thesciencetutor, the world heritage includes 25 protected areas along the southern Brazilian coast between Paranaguá and São Paulo, which are still covered with the original Atlantic rainforest. Due to the different altitudes and latitudes, the forests have an enormous biodiversity.
Southeast Atlantic Forests: Facts
|Official title:||Southeast Atlantic Forests|
|Natural monument:||Atlantic rainforest areas, etc. with the Carlos Botelho State Park (376.44 km²), the Alto Ribeiro Tourist State Park (358.84 km²), the Superagüi National Park (370 km²), the Mangues wildlife reserve, the nature reserves and state parks Pau Oco and Serra da Graciosa, the Iguape lagoon complex -Canaéira-Paranaguá, core zone with 4681.93 km², in the karst landscape heights of up to 1400 m on the Serra do Mar; 50 archaeological sites|
|Country:||Brazil, Paraná and São Paulo|
|Location:||between Paranaguá and São Paulo|
|Meaning:||biological richness and evolutionary history of the remnants of the Atlantic rainforests of Brazil|
|Flora and fauna:||Remnants of the Atlantic rainforest with more than 450 species per hectare, including up to 900 m, 25-30 m high trees from the Myrtaceae and Fabaceae family, up to 1300 m hardwood species plus bromeliad species such as Alcantarea glaziouana and Canistrum aurantiacum; 120 species of mammals such as tree ocelot, jaguar, mausopossum, muriki, neotropical otter (La Plata otter) and 20 species of bat; 350 well-known bird species such as the harpy eagle, the great spotted falcon, the blue-breasted pipra and the Amazon parrot species Amazona brasiliensis|
An economic locomotive threatens to roll over a paradise
None other than Landsknecht Hans Staden from Homberg near Kassel experienced the region in its original state around 1552, roaming the wilderness filled with unknown noises, enjoying exotic orchids and hunting animals he had never heard of before. But his assignment with hundreds of German mercenaries to cleanse the New World of the Portuguese from indigenous people who did not want to be enslaved, almost became the young man’s undoing. The Tupinambà Indians lived in the Serra do Mar mountain ranges, fished in the Rio Ribeira de Iguape and bathed under the many waterfalls that are still spectacular today. In the middle of the dense forests they overpowered Hans Staden and intended to deal with him as with any other enemy – to prepare and eat him. Through wit, cunning and all sorts of hocus-pocus, who amused the Tupinambà, the German managed to postpone his killing until – what a wonderful coincidence – French pirates discovered and ransomed him. How the Indians lived in harmony with nature without destroying it, but also about their cannibalistic customs in 1557, Staden authentically reported in his “Warhaftig historia and description of the land of the wild, naked, fierce ogre in the New World of America” - to this day A classic among the historical “travel reports” not only for the experts.
The Indian tribes were eventually exterminated, later African slaves escaped the yoke of forced labor in the gold mines, sugar mills and on the plantations and hid in isolated, inaccessible areas such as today’s Parque Estadual Turistico do Alto Ribeiro. This has over 250 deep caves – the most famous of them, Caverna do Diabo, impresses with enormous halls and galleries up to 25 meters high. The escaped slaves founded fortified villages, so-called quilombos – astonishingly more than twenty have survived to this day, some in the Intervales State Park. Some African languages such as Bantu and completely independent dialects are spoken there, and customs and religious rites of the abducted ancestors are maintained up to the present day,
In order to be able to explore the untouched protected areas, which also contain highly poisonous snakes, as safely as possible, state nature guides offer themselves as companions. The Ilha do Cardoso or the touristically developed Ilha do Mel can be reached by small ferries. Here and there locals manage to attract the tiny, nimble gold-headed lion tamarins – unfortunately, they have become quite rare, which also applies to the brown howler monkeys and even the large butterflies, which are massively prepared as souvenirs. But it remains an unforgettable experience for Europeans to see a bright blue morpho butterfly fluttering past with a wingspan of more than ten centimeters, which even perches for minutes on a flower. Little yellow or white “Borboletas” populate sometimes tens of thousands of muddy dirt roads;
Unfortunately, Mata Atlantica is located in the catchment area of the Latin American “economic locomotive” São Paulo, also known as the “largest German industrial city” because of the companies located there such as Daimler or Volkswagen. It is characterized by wealth and extreme poverty. Slums and other settlements eat their way into the remains of the Atlantic rainforests without permission, even in the protected areas there is deforestation and poaching, and parrots and monkeys are caught for illegal animal export to Europe. So far, the authorities have deployed far too few game rangers and national park guards and only insufficiently investigate »environmental criminals«.