Brasil – UNESCO WHS – Pantanal Conservation area

The Pantanal Conservation Complex consists of a cluster of four protected areas located in western central Brazil on the border with Bolivia and Paraguay. The site is part of the Pantanal region, one of the world’s largest freshwater wetland ecosystems.

The Pantanal is an immense alluvial plain.. Its landscape encompasses a variety of ecological subregions, including river corridors, gallery forests, perennial wetlands and lakes, seasonally inundated grasslands and terrestrial forests.

Surrounded by mountain ridges and plains, the region presents a flat landscape with a small inclination which follows a north-south, east-west direction.

The main source of water for the Pantanal is the Cuiaba River. The water spreads and covers broad expanses, seeking a natural outlet, which will only be found hundreds of kilometres downstream, at the confluence of the river and the Atlantic, beyond the Brazilian territory. Hydrological studies indicate the presence of a network of underground streams and a degree of subsurface water movement.

The vegetation is located in an area of transition between the dry savannah (cerrado) of central Brazil and the semi-deciduous forest of the south and south-east. The diversity of interacting habitat types produces a remarkable plant diversity.

The fauna of the Pantanal is extremely diverse and includes 80 species of mammal, 650 bird, 50 reptile and 400 fish. Dense populations of species of conservation concern such as jaguar, marsh deer, giant anteater and giant otter live in the region.

The Pantanal is a sanctuary for birds with many species occurring in large numbers. It is one of the most important breeding grounds for typical wetland birds such as Jabiru stork, as well as several other species of heron, ibis and duck, which are found in enormous flocks. Parrots are also very diverse, with 26 species recorded in the area including the hyacinth macaw, the world’s largest parrot. A large proportion of the remnant wild population of this species, estimated at about 3,000 birds, inhabit the region. Habitat destruction and capture for the pet trade are two factors that, in combination, have led to the risk of extinction.

(www.whc.unesco.org)

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