Brazil names rainforest lake system for Ramsar List
The government of Brazil has designated Rio Doce State Park (Parque Estadual do Rio Doce) (35,973 hectares, 19º38’S 042º32’W) as its 10th Wetland of International Importance. Ramsar Assistant Advisor Nadia Castro summarizes that the site, located in the southeastern region of Brazil, is the largest vegetation fragment of the endangered Atlantic Rain Forest in Minas Gerais State. In addition to permanent and seasonal rivers, there are 42 natural lakes that represent 6% of the park surface.
The site hosts 10 different vegetation communities, 325 species of birds, and at least 77 of mammals. The endemic and threatened Brazilian rosewood (Dalbergia nigra) can be found here, as well as other threatened species, such as jaguar (Panthera onca), Harpy eagle (Harpia harpyja), Red Billed Currasow (Crax blumenbachii) and North Muriqui, thelargest primate of South America and important seed disperser (Brachyteles hypoxanthus). One of the main threats is the introduction of exotic fish species that have led to changes in the fish community. Nevertheless, the site has a management plan that is being implemented.
The site is a fully protected area (Category II, IUCN) and is one of the core areas of the Atlantic Forest Biosphere Reserve (UNESCO).
Photo: Maria Carolina Hazin