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Mata Atlântica

High Montane Altitudinal Zone

high montane zone cloud forest
Adventure Tours / Brazil – The location of the high - montane altitudinal zone in the tropical and seasonal rainforest ecosystems depends on latitude. In the Atlantic Rainforest South-East Reserves ( > 24° ) it is located above 1000 height meters. Its vegetation is called high - montane rainforest (floresta pluvial altomontana).

High - montane tropical rainforest usually thrives on litholic, organic soils or rocky outcroppings, in areas almost permanently subject to the condensation of the moist air masses coming from the sea, giving rise to mists or even light rains during most of the time. Therefore, this vegetation type is often called "nebular", "mist" or "cloud" forest.

The most striking differential characteristics of the cloud forest compared to the other formations of the tropical rainforest ecosystem is a reduced size of the arboreal plants, more twisted trunks and branches and abundance of non - vascular epiphytes, notably mosses and hepatics.

Above 2.000 m, the cloud forest migrates into so-called altitude fields (campos de altitude). Typical species of the high - montane altitudinal zone divided by layers (stratums) are:

Dense arboreal stratum: ( < 6m )
cataia (Drimys brasilensis), gramimunhas (Weinmania discolor), caúnas (Ilex theezans, Ilex microdonta, Ilex chamaedryfolia, Ilex taubertiana), santa-rita (Gordonia fruticosa), pinheiro-bravo (Podocarpus sellowii), ipê amarelo (Tabebuia catarinensis), carne de vaca (Clethra scabra, Clethra uleana).

Brushy - herbaceous stratum: ( < 3m )
bromeliaceae (Aechmea ornata), poaceae (Chusquea spp., Olyra spp.), orchideaceae (Sophronites coccinea).