The Annotated Ramsar List: Brazil


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The Annotated Ramsar List of Wetlands of International Importance


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The Convention on Wetlands came into force for Brazil on 24 September 1993. Brazil presently has 12 sites designated as Wetlands of International Importance, with a surface area of 7,225,687 hectares.

About Brazil's Ramsar sites (English, Portuguese)

site; date of designation; region, province, state; surface area; coordinates
site; date de désignation; région, province, état; superficie; coordonnées
sitios; fecha de designación; región, provincia, estado; área; coordenadas

Abrolhos Marine National Park. 02/02/10; Bahía; 91,300 ha; 17º49’S 038º49’W. National Park, UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. The Park is divided into two distinct areas: a) Timbebas reefs and b) Abrolhos Archipelago and Parcel dos Abrolhos. They include a mosaic of marine and coastal environments such as coral reefs, algae bottoms, mangroves, beaches and sandbanks. The site sustains IUCN-Red List critically endangered species such as Leatherback Sea turtle (Dermochelys coriacea) and Hawkbill turtle (Eretmochelys imbricata), as well as other endangered and vulnerable species, including Loggerhead Sea turtle (Caretta caretta), Green turtle (Chelonia Myda), Humpback Whale (Megaptera novaeangliae), and many threatened fish species such as the Groupers and the coral (Millepora nitida). The area is considered an archeological site due to the number of wrecks found on its waters. It provides livelihood for more than 20,000 fishermen and 80,000 tourism-related posts in the Bahia State area. The threats within the park include illegal fishing, the great number of tourists which causes stress on the bird and coral population and increased litter; and pollution from ship ballast cleaning activities. Research and tourist facilities and activities include a visitors’ center inaugurated in 2004, the Research and Monitoring Center of Abrolhos, a voluntary internship program for undergraduate students, and a consultant council composed of different stakeholders in the community. The site is part of the core zone of the Atlantic Forest (Mata Atlântica) Biosphere Reserve. Ramsar site no. 1902. Most recent RIS information: 2010.

Baixada Maranhense Environmental Protection Area. 29/02/00; Maranhão; 1,775,036 ha; 03°00’S 044°57’W. Extensive low, seasonally flooded coastal lands characterized by fields, gallery forests, mangrove swamps, and lacustrine basins along the northeast coast of Brazil. The site qualifies under all of the representative/uniqueness criteria (new Criterion 1) and most of the biodiversity criteria, including those for waterfowl and fish. The Maranhense coast concentrates large fluvial and fluvial-marine plains and flat lowlands, crossed by canals of brackish water, relatively unaffected by human activity due to a population density of only 26 inhabitants per square km. At certain times, seawater is able to reach far up the rivers, and the area is different from other seasonally flooded parts of the Amazon or perennially flooded areas of the Pantanal because of this marine influence and saline intrusion. The four significant rivers rise annually and flood their banks to fill the many lakes with water for gradual release over time. In the estuaries, mangrove swamps occur by penetrating the narrow natural waterways among the fields up to the limit of tidal influence. During Dec.-June rainy seasons the fields are flooded, leaving small islands called "tesos". Human uses include subsistence agriculture (mainly rice, corn, cassava and beans), fisheries, mineral exploitation of clay and sand, exploitation of plants (especially nuts from the Babaçu), and limited ecotourism. Potential threats include mangrove deforestation and growing urban and industrial development. An "ecological economic zoning project" is under study for implementation in 2000. Ramsar site no. 1020. Most recent RIS information: 2000.

Cabo Orange National Park (Parque Nacional do Cabo Orange). 02/02/2013; Amapá; 657,328 ha; 03°38’59"N 051°11’24”W. A extensive site characterized by periodically and permanently flooded grasslands, unique in the Amazon region, as well as by its mangroves, which act as “fish nurseries” and are vital for the maintenance of some of Brazil´s most important fisheries. The site is rich in biodiversity and supports globally threatened species such as the Black Bearded Saki (Chiropotes satanas), the Great Billed Seed Finch (Sporophila maximiliani), the yellow spotted River Turtle (Podocnemis unifilis) and the Black Caiman (Melanosuchus niger) among others. To date, 358 species of birds, 19 species of plants, 54 species of mammals have been identified in the park. Apart from its biodiversity and water resources, the associated marine and estuarine fisheries production is essential for the economy of Brazil, which has made the area one of the most intensively fished areas in the region with overfishing and illegal fishing constituting the main threat to the site. Other threats include the spread of the invasive species of shrimp Macrobrachium rosembergii, overexploitation of two species of turtles (Podocnemis unifilis and Podocnemis expansa), and forest fires. Ramsar Site no. 2190. Most recent RIS information: 2013.

Ilha do Bananal. 04/10/93; Tocantins; 562,312 ha; 10º31’S 050º12’W. National park. Extensive floodplain system of the Araguaia River with navigable medium to high flow rivers, seasonal lagoons, marshes and numerous islands. Ilha do Bananal is the largest fluvial island in the world. A diverse flora and fauna representing the transition zone between humid tropical forest of the Amazon Basin and woody savannas with gallery forest are present. The site is an extremely rich area for waterbirds, with a wide variety of resident breeding species and many Nearctic shorebirds occurring on migration. Human activities include illegal grazing of domestic livestock, poaching, and some illegal settlement. Ramsar site no. 624. Most recent RIS information: 2002.

Lagoa do Peixe.24/05/93; Rio Grande do Sul; 34,400 ha; 31º14’S 050º57’W. Western Hemisphere Shorebird Reserve Network Site; National Park. Extensive lowland area of saltmarshes, coastal sand dunes, lagoons, lakes and associated marshes, providing important staging sites for numerous migrant species. Lagoa do Peixe is a large brackish to saline lagoon, supporting large concentrations of invertebrates. The area is very important for a wide variety of waterfowl, and the lagoon is an important wintering and staging area for migrant species. Human activities include hunting, irrigation of rice fields, and harvesting of shrimp (uncontrolled). Ramsar site no. 603. Most recent RIS information: 1998.

Mamirauá.04/10/93; Amazonas; 1,124,000 ha; 02º18’S 066º02’W. Biological Station. "Varzea" forest with several lakes seasonally connected by natural drainage canals. The area has a high degree of endemism. Human activities include forestry, rotating agriculture, controlled commercial fishing, and collection of aquarium fish. Ramsar site no. 623. Most recent RIS information: 1998.

Pantanal Matogrossense. 24/05/93; Mato Grosso; 135,000 ha; 17º39’S 057º25’W. National Park. Part of the largest, permanent freshwater wetland in the Western Hemisphere. It is situated in a large depression functioning as an inland delta. The area consists of a vast region of seasonally flooded savannas, islands of xerophytic scrub, and humid deciduous forest. The site includes some of the largest and most spectacular concentrations of wildlife in the Neotropics and is probably the most important wetland in South America for waterfowl. There are huge resident breeding populations of a wide variety of species, and Nearctic shorebirds use the area for staging. An ecological station is located on the site. Ramsar site no. 602. Most recent RIS information: 1998.

Parque Estadual Marinho do Parcel Manoel Luís including the Baixios do Mestre Álvaro and Tarol. 29/02/00; Maranhão; 34,556 ha; ca.00°30’S 044°45’W. State Marine Park. Three coral banks off the northern coast of Maranhão, at the northern distribution limit of several fish species endemic to the Brazilian coast. The area is very important for fishery production and of extremely high scientific value. Numerous shipwrecks have been found in the area and await further study. Though the area is attractive to amateur and professional divers, tourism is limited, and because of difficult local currents and distance from the coast, only experienced divers are encouraged. Threats include coral bleaching associated with climate change, the possibility of environmentally harmful shipwrecks where navigation is still hazardous, and pollution from hull washing by ships near São Marcos Bay. Owned by the federal government under the administration of Maranhão. Ramsar site no. 1021. Most recent RIS information: 2000.

Reentrancias Maranhenses.30/11/93; Maranhão; 2,680,911 ha; 01º41’S 045º04’W. Western Hemisphere Shorebird Reserve Network Site; Area of Environmental Protection. A complex estuarine system of extensive islands, bays, coves, and rugged coastline covered mainly by mangrove forest. The site is of great importance for numerous species of fish, shellfish and migratory birds. The manatee (Trichechu manatus) is also present. Local communities practice subsistence fishing. Ramsar site no. 640. Most recent RIS information: 1998.

Reserva Particular del Patrimonio Natural (RPPN) “Fazenda Rio Negro”.22/05/09; Mato Grosso del Sur; 7,000 ha; 19°33'S 056°13'W. Reserva Privada del Patrimonio Natural (RPPN). A well-preserved example of the Pantanal of Nhecolândia, a subregion of the Brazilian Pantanal that is characterized by the abundant presence of freshwater or alkaline lakes (‘baías’ and ‘salinas’, respectively), as well as permanent and intermittent rivers. The site hosts more than 400 species of plants, 350 of birds and 70 of mammals. Among them stand out threatened species, such as the Giant Otter (Pteronura brasiliensis), Marsh deer (Blastocerus dichotomus), and Hyacinth Macaw (Anodorhynchus hyacinthinus). Migratory bird species are also present in the site, e.g. Tringa melanoleuca, Himantopus melanurus, Tachybaptus dominicus, Dendrocygna viduatam andCoscoroba coscoroba. Cattle farming is related to two of the main threats to the site: uncontrolled fires caused by neighboring ranches and the introduction of exotic herbs. In the area hunting and fishing are legally banned. The management plan is currently under revision. Ramsar site no. 1864. Most recent RIS information: 2009.

Reserva Particular do Patrimonio Natural SESC Pantanal.06/12/02; Mato Grosso State; 87,871 ha; 16º39'S 056º15'W. Privately owned nature reserve. A significant and representative sample of the large Pantanal wetlands, known as Poconé's Pantanal, a private estate fully owned by the Serviço Nacional do Comercio (SESC) and established in 1998 as a reserve. The site, a mix of permanent rivers, seasonal streams, permanent and seasonal floodplain fresh water lakes, shrub-dominated wetlands, and seasonally flooded forests, satisfies all eight Ramsar criteria for designation as a Wetland of International Importance and is an excellent ecological complement to the Pantanal Matogrossense, already on the Ramsar List. The site contains several endangered species including hyacinth macaws Anodorhynchus hyacinthinus, giant otters Pteronura brasiliensis, and marsh deer Blastocerus dichotomus, as well as numerous nesting sites for the rare Jabiru Jabiru mycteria. Populations of over 20,000 cormorants Phalacrocorax brasiliensis and some of the Pantanal's healthiest nesting sites for wood stork Mycteria americana are also found within. Many of the 260 fish species in the Pantanal are also believed to be found in the Reserva, a good number having a high commercial value. Since sport and commercial fishing is prohibited inside, the reserve provides essential ecological refuge for fish in the Cuiabá and Sâo Lourenço rivers. The SESC administers this private reserve, under the supervision of the Brazilian Intitute for the Environment and Natural Renewable Resources (IBAMA), and is responsible for implementing its management plan and carrying out environmental education activities and non-intensive ecotourism at the site. Ramsar site no. 1270. Most recent RIS information: 2002.

Rio Doce State Park (Parque Estadual do Rio Doce).15/03/10; Minas Gerais; 35,973 hectares; 19º38’S 042º32’W. State Park. Located in the southeastern region of Brazil, the site is the largest vegetation fragmet 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). Ramsar site no. 1900. Most recent RIS information: 2009.

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