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Location: Mato Grosso do Sul

Area: 195,00 km2 (75,000 mi2)

Pantanal Conservation Area

Pantanal Conservation Area





Description of Pantanal Conservation Area

Pantanal Conservation Area is World's largest wetland situated in Mato Grosso do Sul state in Brazil. It covers an area of 195,00 km2 (75,000 mi2). It is located in southern Mato Grosso and northwest of Mato Grosso do Sul, both states of Brazil, as well as parts of northern Paraguay and eastern Bolivia (where it is called the Bolivian chaco). The Pantanal is considered the largest continuous floodplain in the world, with 140,000 km² in Brazilian territory.

The region considered by UNESCO as a World Natural Heritage and Biosphere Reserve, located in the Pantanal National Park region. Despite the name, there are a small number of marshy areas in the marshland. In addition, as it is flat ground, it facilitates flooding.





The origin of the Pantanal is not, as it was thought, a result of the separation of the ocean millions of years ago. All geologists agree that there is no evidence of the presence of the sea there, and one of those who best know the region, Fernando Flavio Marques de Almeida, says that it represents an area that was hit by block failures during the Tertiary period. Animals that are present in the sea also exist in the wetland, forming what may be called the inland sea. The wetland area of ​​the wetland is due to the slow drainage of slowly flowing waters through the region of middle Paraguay, in a place called the Closure of Morros do Sul. Attracted by the existence of precious stones and metals (which were used by indigenous people, who were already populated the region as adornments), among them the gold, the Portuguese Aleixo Garcia, in 1524, ended up being the first to visit the territory, and reached the Paraguay River through the Miranda River, reaching the region where today is the city of Corumbá . In the years 1537 and 1538, the Spanish Juan Ayolas and his companion Domingos Martínez de Irala followed the Paraguay River and named Puerto de los Reyes to the Gayva lagoon. Around 1542-1543, Alvaro Nunes Cabeza de Vaca (Spanish and adventurer) also passed by the place to go to Peru.

Between 1878 and 1930, the city of Corumbá became the main commercial and river axis in Mato Grosso (before the state division, which took place in 1977). Later it lost its importance for the cities of Cuiabá and Campo Grande, thus beginning a period of economic decay.

The incentive given by governments from the 1960s to develop the Midwest region, where Mato Grosso is located, through the implementation of agricultural projects, brought many changes in the cerrado environments, threatening its biodiversity. Concerned with the conservation of the Pantanal, Embrapa set up a research unit in Corumbá in 1975 to adapt, develop and transfer technologies for the sustainable use of its natural resources.

Since 2000 there have been massive investments in the ecotourism sector, with several Pantanal lodges practicing this sustainable tourism modality. And along with these increased the area of ​​livestock and agriculture.

The Pantanal is one of the largest continuous wetlands on the planet and is located in central South America, in the Upper Paraguay watershed. Its area is 150,000 km², with 65% of its territory in the state of Mato Grosso do Sul and 35% in Mato Grosso. The region is divided into two subdivisions: Upper Pantanal Microregion (in Mato Grosso) and Lower Pantanal Microregion and Aquidauana Microregion (in Mato Grosso do Sul).

From the point of view of physiography and geomorphology, the Pantanal is defined as a "large and relatively complex plain of detrital-alluvial coalescence". Silva & Abdon (1998), using flood and relief criteria, divide the area into eleven subregions (Cáceres, Poconé, Barão de Melgaço, Paraguay, Paiaguás, Nhecolândia, Abobral, Aquidauana, Miranda, Nabileque, Porto Murtinho) .

The Paraguay River passes through the city of Caceres, Mato Grosso, where it is known as the "Little Princess of the Paraguay River" and its tributaries run through the Pantanal, forming extensive flooded areas that shelter many fish, such as the painted, the golden, the pacu. , and also for other animals, such as alligators, capybaras and otters, among other species. Many endangered animals in other parts of Brazil still have vigorous populations in the Pantanal region, such as the marsh deer, the capybara, the tuíiú and the alligator.

Due to the low slope of this plain north-south and east-west, the water that falls in the headwaters of the Paraguay River can spend four months or more to cross the entire Pantanal. Ecosystems are characterized by scrubland and scrubland without periodic flooding, flooded fields and aquatic environments such as freshwater or brackish ponds, rivers, ebb and flow.


The climate in the Pantanal is hot and humid in summer, and although it is relatively colder in winter, it still has high air humidity due to evapotranspiration associated with water accumulated in the soil at the root horizon during the flood period. Most of the Pantanal's soils are sandy and support native pastures used by native herbivores and cattle introduced by the region's settlers. A small portion of the original pasture has been replaced by exotic forages such as Brachiaria (4.5% in 2006).

The surface energy balance (ie, the energy exchange between the surface and the atmosphere) is greatly influenced by the presence of water slides, which partially cover the ground each summer, and the particular characteristics of the water and energy balances end up. influence the development of the regional Atmospheric Limit Layer.

The Pantanal Plain has approximately 230 thousand km², a measure estimated by scholars who explain that it is difficult to establish an exact calculation of its dimensions, since in several points where the Pantanal begins is in Cáceres and Poconé, Mato Grosso and where the Pantanal ends. It is difficult to know why it is very extensive and the surrounding regions, and with each closing cycle of dry and water seasons the Pantanal changes. Its area in Brazil is 124,457.145.22 km² (64.64% in Mato Grosso do Sul and 35.36% in Mato Grosso). Considered one of the largest sedimentation plains on the planet, the Pantanal extends through Bolivia and Paraguay, countries where it receives other names, being Chaco the best known.

The plain is slightly undulating, dotted by rare isolated elevations, often called hills and hills, and rich in shallow depressions. Its boundaries are marked by varied elevation systems such as plateaus, mountains and massifs, and is cut by a large number of rivers of all sizes, all belonging to the Paraguay River Basin - the main ones being the Cuiabá, Piquiri, São Lourenço, Taquari rivers. , Aquidauana, Miranda, Paraguay River and Apa. The Pantanal is surrounded, on the Brazilian side (north, east and southeast) by lands with altitude between 600 and 700 meters; It extends west to the foothills of the Andes and extends south across the central Pampean plains.

The Pantanal lives under the design of the waters: there, rain divides life into two very distinct periods. During the drought months - from May to September - approximately - the landscape undergoes radical changes: as the waters recede, fields, sandbanks, islands are discovered and rivers resume their natural beds, but not always following the course of the period. previous. The waters run down the depressions of the terrain, forming the crows (channels that connect the waters of bays, lagoons, wetlands etc. with the nearby rivers).

In large fields covered predominantly by grass and savannah vegetation, surface water is scarce, restricted to perennial, defined-bed rivers, to large lakes near these rivers, called bays, and to some smaller, wetted lagoons. in lower areas of the plain. In many places, groundwater, groundwater or aquifers need to be used, using hand pumps and / or touched by windmills to ensure the supply to homes and drinking fountains of domestic animals.

The first rains of the season fall on dry, porous soil and are easily absorbed. From October to April rains fall torrentially on the headwaters of the Paraguay Basin rivers to the north. With the constant moistening of the land, the plain quickly turns green due to the sprouting of countless water-resistant species from previous months. This large periodic increase of the Pantanal water network, the low slope of the plain and the difficulty of water flow through the flooding, are responsible for flooding in the lower areas, forming bays of hundreds of square kilometers, which gives the region a aspect of immense inland sea.

The downpour raises the level of permanent bays, creates new ones, overflows the rivers and floods the surrounding fields, and isolated hills stand out as veritable vegetation-clad islands - clusters of these islands are called swamp mountain ranges - in the islands and mountain ranges the animals come together. they seek refuge from rising waters.


At this time it is difficult to travel through the Pantanal because many roads are flooded and impassable. People, animals and goods can only be transported on the back of pack animals and boats - many farms and settlements (also known as guardrails) located in low-lying areas are isolated from supply centers, and access to them, many Sometimes it can only be done by boat or plane.

With rising waters, large amounts of organic matter are carried by the current and transported over considerable distances. Represented mainly by masses of floating and marginal vegetation and animals killed in the flood, these remains, during the ebb, are deposited on the banks and beaches of rivers, lakes and wetlands and, after rapid decomposition, become the fertilizer element of the river. soil, capable of guaranteeing the enormous diversity of plant types there.

Among the varied vegetation are numerous species of animals, adapted to this region of such contradictory aspects. This immense variety of life, translated into constant movement of shapes, colors and sounds is one of the most beautiful spectacles on earth. Because of this alternation between dry and wet periods, the Pantanal landscape is never the same, changing every year: riverbeds change their paths; the large bays alter their designs.




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