Atlantic Forest

18 May, 2009

Atlantic Forest South-East Reserves: A Natural Wonder Like No Other

Atlantic Forest

Why is it that people are very attracted to natural wonders? Note the importance people place on attractions that are not manmade—destinations like Japan’s Mount Fuji, America’s Grand Canyon, and even lesser known places as such the Philippines (and its rice terraces) are given so much premium and have become very relevant in these times. This isn’t very surprising, to be sure, especially since people are so used to modernity that they want to witness something different, something breathtaking, without reminding them of what they already see everyday in their lives.

This concept makes destinations like the Atlantic Forest Southeast Reserves very popular. Located in Brazil, this reserve is 1,500 km long. It runs parallel to the coast of the Atlantic Ocean, between the states of Parana and Sao Paulo. Known locally as the Serra do Mar, it is said that most of the elevations in this mountain range were formed more than 50 million years ago. This mountain range is discontinuous—meaning many of its individual mountains is not part of the escarpment—so they were given individual names. Some of the more notable mountains in the Serra do Mar include the Serra Negra (a busy tourist spot in its own right) and the Serra dos Orgaos (which is also a national park, located in Rio de Janeiro).

That the Atlantic Forest Southeast Reserves is found in Brazil is actually no surprise. After all, many of the country’s main attractions are also natural wonders just like this mountain range. For instance, Brazil is also home to the Iguacu National Park. The country also boasts of three other reserves (the Atol das Roscas, the Discovery Coast Atlantic Forest, and the Fernando de Noronha Reserves, in particular) and two protected areas (the Emas National Parks and the Chapada dos Veadeiros). All these, like the Atlantic Forest Southeast Reserves, are included in UNESCO’s World Heritage Site list, an indication that Brazil holds many attractions that are significant not just locally but also to the whole world.

But with a country so naturally diverse, what can the Atlantic Forest Southeast Reserves offer that the others cannot? For one, the Atlantic Forest Southeast Reserves house one of the longest mountain ranges in the world. This makes it a home to some of the most unique flora and fauna. The coastal forest of Serra do Mar run for more than 100km. Because of this, it contains endemic species of plants, mammals, and birds (which in turn makes it an ideal place for hiking and biking, among other similar activities).

However, because of various threats, the forests of Serra do Mar have been reduced to around half of its original size. One of these threats, unfortunately, includes tourism. This is why the Atlantic Forest Southeast Reserves is a relevant distinction for this charming natural wonder. There are very few like it that remains in the world. Even in a country so rich with natural treasures, the Atlantic Forest Southeast Reserves remains to be unique and distinct.

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