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Mata Atlântica

Submontane Altitudinal Zone

submontane zone rainforest
Brazil / Travel & Tours – The location of the submontane altitudinal zone in the tropical and seasonal rainforest ecosystems depends on latitude. In the Atlantic Rainforest South-East Reserves ( > 24° ) it is located between 30 and 400 meters above sea level. The vegetation of this zone is called submontane rainforest (floresta submontana).

Submontane tropical rainforests thrive on stable unflooded (hydromorph) and relatively deep soils, which is why biodiversity is very expressive in this zone. The trees can reach heights up to 35 m and the lower arboreal stratum contains several smaller palm tree species such as Astrocaryum aculeatissimum (brejaúba) or Euterpe edulis (palmito juçara).

The overlapping pattern brought about by the arrangement of the crowns of the trees making up the canopy at different levels, as a result of the steep topography, enables sunlight to shine through. This factor, together with the humidity brings about the growth and maintenance of very rich and abundant epiphytic communities which distinguishes the submontane and montane rainforests from the lowland ones.

Some popular trees of the submontane zone are the large fig tree figueira-da-folha-miúda (Ficus organensis), the guanandi (Calophyllum brasiliense) which is used for building canoes or the magnificent yellow flowering ipê-amarelo (Tabebuia umbellata). Further typical species of the submontane altitudinal zone divided by layers (stratums) are:

Upper arboreal stratum (canopy):
Ocotea catharinensis (canela-preta), Sloanea guianensis (laranjeira-do-mato), Alchornea triplinervia (tapiá), Schizolobium parahyba (guapuruvu), Nectandra rigida (canelagaruva), Aspidosperma olivaceum (peroba-vermelha) und Virola oleifera (bocuva).

Lower arboreal stratum:
Bathysa meridionalis (macuqueiro), Euterpe edulis (palmito), Mollinedia spp (pimenteira), Psychotria suterella (grandiúva-d’anta, caféd’anta), Geonoma gamiova (palha) und Clusia criuva (mangue-do-mato).

Brushy stratum:
rubiaceae (Psychotria spp., Rudgea spp., Faramea spp.), pipe (Piperaceae) e acanthaceae (Justicia spp., Aphelandra spp.), xaxins-de-espino (Cyathea spp.).

Inferior stratum - herbaceous:
acanthaceae, rubiaceae, araceae, marantaceae e piperaceae.