The Atlantic Forest , one of the richest biomes in biodiversity on the planet, was a tropical forest that extended over 1.3 million km 2 , covering the entire Brazilian coastline, from the Northeast to the South.
With the deforestation process started in the colonial period, this ecosystem currently has just over 1% of the original area. The territory where before there was a dense vegetation cover is now occupied by cities, agricultural areas and pastures.
Found in different latitudes, the vegetation of the Atlantic Forest varies according to the rate of rainfall, presenting a great biological diversity , superior even to that of the Amazon. Due to the felling of trees, urban invasions and the predatory use of the soil, the little that is left of the forest is currently protected by environmental laws, with the multiplication of federal, state, municipal and private conservation units.
According to Nexticle, the conservation effort is of great importance, as the region concentrates a large contingent of population that depends on the survival of the remnants of the Atlantic Forest to guarantee the water supply of the cities in its surroundings. It is precisely human action and the occupation of houses that generate the environmental impacts and destruction of this complex ecosystem, formed by araucaria forest, mangroves, restingas, inland swamps, highland fields and coastal and oceanic islands.
Atlantic Forest Biodiversity: flora and fauna
The Brazilian Atlantic Forest is considered one of the richest ecosystems on the planet, due to its great biodiversity. Such diversity includes not only the variety of species itself, but also the genetic variety within species; and, in an even broader sense, the variety of ecological niches and habitats occupied by organisms in the ecosystem.
Recent expert assessments reveal that the number of known species in Brazil represents around 14% of the world’s biota. It is estimated, however, that there are around 2 million different species of living beings in the country, most of them not yet studied or known to science. In this way, Brazilian biodiversity would actually be around ten times greater than what is currently known.
A large part of this diversity of species of microorganisms, plants and animals lives in the remnants of the Atlantic Forest, mainly in its Northeast (equivalent to the so-called Discovery Coast) and Southeast portions. The latter is considered the third most threatened tropical forest on the planet , after the forests of Melanesia and Madagascar. In certain regions of the Atlantic Forest, more than 450 species of trees can be found per hectare , which results in more types of wood than those found in the Amazon Forest .
The ecosystem known as the Araucaria Forest is part of the Atlantic Forest biome. Originally, the Paraná pines covered 40% of the territory of Paraná, 30% of Santa Catarina and 25% of Rio Grande do Sul. But the occupation of southern lands, intensified in the 19th century with the arrival of European immigrants, and the economic value of wood resulted in accelerated deforestation, and today the ecosystem conserves less than 3% of its primitive area.
As for fauna , the Atlantic Forest contains many species identified as deserving of special conservation care, given the risk of extinction they run due to the degradation of their environment, abusive hunting and other factors that contribute to the decrease in their number. Noteworthy in this case are the various species of mammals, especially primates, many of which are at immediate risk of extinction, such as the black-faced lion tamarin, the mono-charcoal tree, the howler and the marmoset. white face.
Also characteristic of this ecosystem and equally threatened are the maned sloth, the black urchin, the jaguar, the ocelot and the bush dog, in addition to many species of birds, reptiles and amphibians.
Unfortunately, the current remnants of the Atlantic Forest are seriously threatened by urban expansion, illegal hunting and extraction, the advancement of farmland, etc. Certain measures already recommended by specialists should be put into practice, such as the implementation of “ecological corridors” linking the different forest fragments, in order to enable and expand the gene flow between the different populations of the ecosystem, preserving its biodiversity.