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Brazil Travel

Mata Atlântica

atlantic forest rainforest
Eco Travel / Mata Atlântica – Travel to the Mata Atlântica (Atlantic Rainforest) when you are interested in the most diverse of the Brazilian biomes, the place where Brazil's history began and a great ecotourism and adventure tour destination.

Area / Location

Brazil's third largest biome has a size of more than 1 million square kilometers, stretching about 4.000 km along the Atlantic coast between Rio Grande do Norte and Rio Grande do Sul. (Northeast, Southeast and South region).

Geology / Geomorphology

The Mata Atlântica occurs on Precambrian rocks of the oriental part of the Atlantic Shield, including the São Francisco Craton and the geotectonic provinces Mantiqueira and Borborema. It is the only Brazilian biome with significant mountains, standing out the the Cenozoic geomorphological features Serra do Mar / Mantiqueira and the Continental Southeast Rift. Peaks close to 3.000 height meters represent the highest elevations in East South America.

Climate / Soils

The climate of the Mata Atlântica is influenced by the solar radiation of the tropical and subtropical climate zone and by the humid air masses coming from the Atlantic Ocean. It is characterized by two seasons; one warm and humid from November to March (summer) and the other one cool and dry from May to August (winter). Its soils eihter derive from terrestrial sedimentation on the top of mountains and hills, mountain escarpments or feet of the mountains or from marine / fluvial - marine sedimentation at the coastal plains.

Ecosystems / Vegetation / Altitudinal Zones

The biome Mata Atlântica is composed of 9 ecosystems with up to 5 altitudinal zones: Pioneer Formations (mangrove, restinga and caixetal), Tropical Rainforest (dense, open and mixed), Seasonal Rainforest (semidecidual and decidual) and Altitude Fields.

Flora / Fauna / Biodiversity

The extraordinary biodiversity of the flora and fauna of this biome is the result of its geological history, its tropical / subtropical position, strong climate changes of the past and significant height differences. Additionally coastal rainforests are richer in terms of biodiversity as inland ones (for instance the Amazon Rainforest).

Speleology

The Speleological Province Upper Ribeira Valley / Paranapiacaba with the PETAR, Intervales and Jacupiranga state parks protect the largest number (about 300) of karstcaves in Brazil.

History / Culture

In addition to its natural beauty, the Mata Atlântica exposes some significant cultural sites, such as historical trails at Serra do Mar and Serra da Bocaina, prehistorical sambaquis in Superagüi or caiçara / quilombo traditions in Juréia-Itatins, Ilhabela or Juatinga.

Protected Areas

According to Conservation International, the Mata Atlântica belongs to the top 5 biodiversity hotspots on Earth. It comprises the second largest Biosphere Reserve in the world and about 600 of Brazil's 900 conservation units. The Atlantic Rainforest South - East and Discovery Coast became part of the UNESCO - World Heritage List in 1992.