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National Parks

There are seven National Parks in the North Region of Brazil, which includes all Brazilian Amazon rain-forest, making up an area of 7,571,801 hectares. There is a great variety of fauna and flora together with landscapes of stunning beauty.


National Parks in the North Region of Brazil

There are seven National Parks in the North Region of Brazil, which includes all Brazilian Amazon rainforest. Namely Parque Nacional da Amazônia, Parque Nacional do Pico da Neblina, Parque Nacional do Jaú, Parque Nacional do Cabo Orange, Parque Nacional de Pacaás Novos, Parque Nacional da Serra do Divisor and Parque Nacional do Monte Roraima, making up an area of 7,571,801 hectares preserved by the Federal Government. There is a great variety of fauna and flora together with landscapes of stunning beauty.


Parque Nacional da Amazônia

Created in 19th February 1974 by federal decree no. 78,683, Parque Nacional da Amazônia is located on the left bank of Tapajos river in the municipality of Itaituba, Pará State and a smaller part in the municipality of Maués, Amazon State. It occupies an area of 994,000 hectares and it is crossed by Tapajos river into which several small rivers and streams flow into creating river rapids, rock formations and sand banks. The climate is tropical, hot and humid, with a dry season lasting over two and a half months per year between the months of July and October, the best time to visit the region. The average yearly temperature fluctuates between 24o C and 26o C, the maximum reaching between 38o C and 40o C and the minimum between 12o C and 16o C. Annual rainfall in the area is 2,000 to 2,500 mm.

The Parque Nacional da Amazônia is situated in a transition zone of previously consolidated soil and more recent formations. Different kind of forests can be found within its limits such as dense forest in sedimentary areas, submontane rainforest, stem forest, palm forests, varzea forest (flooded by white water) and igapo forest (flooded by black water). The area's physical features present a slight ondulation, covered in its greater part by tropical terra firme rainforest with interesting natural and archaeological aspects and scenic beauty. Despite the poor soil its vegetation is rich and varied due to the humid climate and even rainfall distribuition. The tallest trees reach up to 50 meters high and some species such as brazilnut tree and stone-angelim reach up to 60 meters. Although the vegetation may look homogeneous it has a great diversity allowing up to 40 different species to be found per hectare. Due to the fact that little light reaches the lower strata there is a great number of climbing plants, moss, lichens, orchids and fern trees. Among the most common species found in the park we have rubber tree (Hevea brasiliensis and Hevea benthamiana), brazilnut tree (Bertholletia excelsea), striped angelim (Pithecolobium racemosum), cordia tree (Cordia goeldiana), acapau (Vouacapona americana), macaranduba or sapodilla (Manilkara spp) and jacarandah (Dalbergia spruceana). Alongside the rivers and islands there are the tidal flat forests divided in varzeas and igapos where there is a great number of cabbage palms (Euterpe oleracea) and miriti palms (Mauritia flexuosa).

The park mammals can also be found in great variety including some endangered species in danger such as the giant anteater (Mymercophaga tridactyla), great long nosed armadillo (Priodontes giganteus), bush dog (Speothos venaticus), short-eared dog (Atelocynus microtis), giant otter (Pteronura brasiliensis), Amazon manatee (Trichechus inunguis), otter (Lontra sp) and two species of river dolphins (Inia geoffrensis and Sotalia fluviatilis). Most of the 250 species of birds in the region are also close to extinction. Some of the most important species are the capped heron (Pilherodius pileatus), cocoi heron (Ardea cocoi), roseate spoonbill (Ajaia ajaia), king vulture (Sarcoramphus papa), harpy eagle (Harpia harpya) and many species of parrots and parakeets. There is also agreat variety of reptiles that can be found in the park especially tortoise such as the Amazon tortoise (Podocnemis expansa) as the most common of them. Other species are the cayman alligator (Caiman crocodilus) and Amazon alligator (Melanosuch s niger), snakes as surucucu (Lachesis muta) and green boa (Corallus caninus) and five varieties of toads. The largest fish in the region is the pirarucu (Arapaima gigas) and we can also find species of tucunaré (Cichla ocelaris and Cichla temensis) and tambaquis (Colossoma spp.)

Park facilities are limited to a lodge for 25 people situated 370 km from Santarém in Para State. The best time to visit the park is from July to October when it is the dry and mild season.


Parque Nacional do Pico da Neblina

Founded in 5th June 1979 as per Federal Decree no. 83,5501979 this park covers an area of 2,200,000 hectares of varied landscape and rare beauty situated in the municipality of Sao Gabriel, in the Amazon State near the Brazilian-Venezuelan border. It is the second largest park in Brazil and it makes up with Parque Nacional Serrania la Neblina, in Venezuela, of 1,360,000 hectares one of the largest protected biological habitats in the world.

The park is divided in three geological areas: Roraima sedimentary plateau, Amazano-Orenoco plateau and Rio Branco-Rio Negro lowland. The first area is a rocky tableland and the altitude ranges from 1,200 to 3,014 meters. It is at this plateau we find Brazil's highest peak, Pico da Neblina - 3,014 meters - and also the second highest, Pico 31 de Marco - 2,992 meters. Amazon-Orenoco plateau situated between Orenoco and Amazon river basins is an extensive mountainous area including Padre, Marié Mirim and Imeri mountain ranges. It has two different levels with altitudes ranging from 600 to 2,000 meters. Rio Branco-Rio Negro lowland is an flat extensive area originating from pre-cambrian rocksof Guianan complex. It is situated at the area's lowest level with altitudes ranging from 80 to 160 meters.

The region climate is hot and humid, typically tropical of Brazil central. It is the continuous aerea with the highest rainfall in Brazil with no dry season. The rainfall is higher in August, September, October and November. The average annual temperature is 24o C to 26o C, maximum reaching from 38o C to 40o C and the minimum between 12 and 16o C. It is cloudy all year round even more so in April and May. The Park flora is of great ecological interest with a great variety of types of vegetation which include the campinara ou caatinga of Negro River. Its more representative species are the carana (Mauritia carana), tamaquare (Caraipa grandiflora), pau-amarelo (Lissocarpa benthami) and casca-doce (Pradosia rigidifolia). In the dense montane forest on altitudes above 1000 meters other species can be found such as itauba - stone wood (Mezilaurus itauba), mandioqueira azul (Qualea cyanea), bacabinhas-quina (Ferdinandusa paraensis), quaruba-cedro (Vochysia inundata) and jutai-pororoca (Dialium guianensis). In the dense submontane forests between 600 and 1000 meters frequently found species are iacano (Eperua leucantha), o cacuco-roxo (Licania heteromopha) and japura (Erisma japura). One of the richest fauna in Brazil is located at Parque do Pico da Neblina and many of its species are close to extinction. The primate black uakari monkey (Cacajao melanocephalus) is still found in larget numbers in the region but its native habitat is being reduced in other areas in the country. The same happens with the Guianan cock-of-the-rock (Rupicola rupicola), small orange bird that lives in the forests. Other species in the Park are the bush dog (Speothos venaticus), jaguar (Panthera onca), black hawk-eagle (Spizaetus tyrannys), ornate hawk-eagle (Spizaetus ornatus), Brazilian tapir (Tapirus terrestris), dusky titi monkey (Callicebus spp), toucan (Ramphastos toco), black curassow (Crax alector) and gray-winged trumpeter (Psophia crepitans).

The only possible access to the Park nowadays is by plane or boat and there is no adequate facilities for any visit, although they are planned to be built in the near future.


Parque Nacional do Jaú

The Park is situated in the lowland plateau in the Western Amazon and North of Amazon State and it is the largest National Park in Brazil, in Latin America second only to Parque Nacional Canaima in Venezuela. It is 2,272,000 hectares big and 1,250 km of perimeter. It was created on 24th September 1980. It is of paramount importance in ecological terms for its high endemism and richness of its wild flora and fauna. Part of the Park area constitutes of varzea denominated as Pluvial Lowland .Terra firme is divided in two: (1) large flat tops separated by shallow valleys occupying the largest area, and (2) small hills on a higher level. There are small areas which are flatened by sand sediments in the Park central part. Open Forest is predominant throughout represented by either Tidal Flat Open Palm Forest especially in varzeas alongside Jau and Carabinani rivers, or Tidal Flat Canopy Dense Forests. In the tidal flat areas , frequentely flooded, alongside the Carabinani and Jau rivers t ere are a great number of palm trees such as paxiúbas (Iriarte spp), cabbage palm (Euterpe oleraceae) and Jauaria (Astrocaryon spp). In older tidal areas, rarely flooded, the predominant palms are miriti and carana (Mauritia spp). Many other tree species are found in the Park area, some of them with commercial value such as brazilnut tree (Bertholletia excelsa) and sucupira (Bowdichia virgilioides).

The local fauna include fish as acará, pirarucu, traira, tucunaré, tambaqui, piraiba, pacu, piracatinga, pirarara, piranha among others. The most important reptiles are the land turtle, river alligator, jacaretinga, sucuri and tortoise. The birds that stand out are macaws, herons, jacus, inhambús, parrots, bacuraus and the mammals are tapirs, giant otters, river dolphins, caitetu, capybaras, agoutis, guariba vermelho, several kinds of monkeys, pumas and jaguars, pacas, manatees, sloths, armadillos and deers among others.


Parque Nacional do Cabo Orange

Located in Amapá State it occupies an area of 619,000 hectares with predominant terra firme dense forest, mangrove and a peninsula 150 km long which stretching out 10km into the sea. It was created in 1980 and it encompasses a large part of the Macapá-Oiapoque Fluvial Marine Plain in quaternary soil with sand , silt, and clay sediments. Its area is predominantely marine with an extensive plain formed by fluvial and marine deposits, mangroves covered by savannahs and dense forest in contact with terciary soil and mangroves. It is also constitues restingas being subject to periodic floodings. Cabo Orange Park vegetation is composed of stretches of dense tropical tidal flat forest, stretches of open savannahs and mangroves. In lower and more flooded places the vegetation is of larger size. In higher places of flooded savannahs gramineous plants are predominant. In the flooded western parts the vegetation constitutes of cerrado alongside narrow stretches of gallery forests and lines of miriti palms. The stretches of dense tropical tidal flat forests are rich in palms such as the cabbage palm and trees and full of trees with prop roots. It is an area of difficult access due to the water and entangling of roots. Its fauna is very rich and diverse because of habitat diversification. Standing out are the sea turtle and birds especially guará and flamingo close to extinction. Other bird species found in the park are ducks, herons and psitacideous. Among the important mammals there are the also endengered sea and river manatees . Racoons, otters, jaguars, guaribas, squirrel monkeys, capybaras, tapirs, giant otters, giant anteaters, great long-nosed armadillos, sucuaranas and red-brocket deers among others live in the park.

The average annual temperature is 25o C with the months September to December being the hottest and June to August being the coldest. Annual rainfall is higher than 3250 mm - March to May are the rainiest months. Relative humidity is higher than 80%.

The area is of difficult access being reached from the coast or Cassiporé river.


Parque Nacional de Pacaás Novos

It was created on 21st September 1979 by Federal Decree no. 84,019 and it occupies an area of 7654,801 hectares of mountainous soil with flat top and steep borders. It is the only National Park situated in the Rondonia State and in it one finds varied tropical fauna and plant species of great scientific interest. The climate is tropical, hot and humid. The rainy season lasts from November to March and winter corresponds to the dry season in June, July and August. The annual average temperature ranges from 24o C to 26o C, maximum temperature reaching up to 36o C to 38o C and minimum ranging from 0o C to 4o C. Annual rainfall is between 2,000 and 2,250 mm and relative humidity is about 80%. In winter there is frequent anticyclones of polar origin which can cause cold fronts known as "friagem".

The Park encompasses two different geological formations which include the most important mountain ranges - Serra dos Pacaás Novos and Serra dos Uopianes. It is both a flat region with higher plateau forming tablelands and a drier region which varies from flat to mountainous. In the Park we can find examples of Dense Tropical Forest, Open Tropical Forest, gramineous savannahs found at the top of the range Serra dos Pacaás Novos and different kinds of cerrado. In Dense Tropical Forest - the Amazon Forest - there are a great number of trees per hectare. The most important ones are patauá (Oecarpus batava), rubber tree and the yellow ipê (Tabebuia seratifola). In the open Amazon forest we can find brazilnut tree (Bertholetia excelsea), babacu (Orbygania martiana) and amarelao (Apuleia moralis). In areas where the savannah meets the forest the most representative species are mandioqueira-do-campo (Qualea refusa), bean tree (Voltairea sp) and lixeira (Salvertia sp). In the cerrado we find bushes as quaruba-do-ca mpo (Vochysya spp), periquiteira (Laerthia procera), sucupira-do-campo (Bowdichia sp) and ipê (Tabebuia sp) as well as fern plants (Pteridium sp) found in gramineous savannahs.

The fauna is still made up of beautiful wild bird species such as parrots, toucans, aracaris, and many varieties of macaws including the endangered blue macaw (Anadorhynchus hyacinthinus). Among the mammals we can find jaguar (Pantera onca), night monkey (Aotus trivirgatus), howler monkey (Alouatta sp), great long-nosed armadillo (Pridontes giganteous), giant anteater (Myrmecophaga tridactyla) and short-eared dog (Atelecynus microtis).

Internal navigation has an important role to play in the transport network in the region . The waterways network in the Park belong to Madeira river basin. This river is navigable from the river mouth to Porto Velho capital city of Rondonia State. In the park there are springs of many tributaries of Madeira basin. The region mountainous formations form rapids and waterfalls in many rivers as Ji-Paraná, Guaporé and Mamoré contributing to the region beauty.

Indian tribes as uru-eu-wau-wau and uru-pa-in live in Parque Nacional de Pacaás Novos preserving an important cultural heritage. Although access to the Park is only possible by boat it has lodging and facilities available to researchers.


Parque Nacional da Serra do Divisor

The Park is situated in Acre State and was created in 16th July 1989 by Federal Decree No.97,839. It is 605,000 km large encompassing a slightly hilly area, mountainous in some parts. The climate is tropical, hot and humid, with one to two dry months a year during the winter from June to August. The annual average temperature is 24o C, maximum temperature reaching from 36o to 38o C and minimum as low as 4o to 8o C. Annual rainfall is between 1,750 and 2,000 mm.

Juruá river, an Amazon river afluent, crosses the Park and it is an important waterway for transportation in the region. The Park is divided in four different geological ranges: Serra da Jaquirana, Serra do Moa, Serra do Joá-Mirim and Serra do Rio Branco - which originate from an erosion process resulting in a plateau and an extensive lower area. Bordered by Acre and Javari rivers this lowland in the middle of the Park is no higher than 300 meters. The predominant vegetation in the Park is characteristic of Amazon plateau called transition areas and mostly covered by species found in Amazon open forests - palms, stems and bamboos- being divided in stem open forest and palm open forest. Some of the important palms are paxiúba-lisa (Iriartea exorrhiza), a patauá (Oenocarpus bataua) and cabbage palm (Euterpe precatoria). Some os the stems are cipo-cruz (Chicocca brachiata), timboacu (Derris guyanensis), mucuna (Dioclea sp) and escada -de-jabuti (Bauhinia sp).

The survey of the Park flora and fauna has not been finished yet and the area does not have transport and accommodation facilities for visitors.


Parque Nacional do Monte Roraima

It was created in 28th June 1989 by Federal Decree no. 97,887 and it occupies an area of 116,000 hectares and a perimeter of 400 km in Roraima State. The region climate is tropical, hot and humid, with three dry months a year in the winter (June to August). The annual average temperature ranges from 24o C to 26o C, maximum reaching up to 38o C and minimum fluctuating between 12o and 16o C. Annual rainfall is between 1,500 and 1,750 mm.

Monte Roraima one of the highest peaks in Brazil at 2,875 meters forms a great table bordered by steeps and in some places without vegetation. It belongs to Paracaima massif which extends to Venezuela and Guiana with a small part in the Brazilian territory. In its vicinity there is Serra do Sol range at 2,400 meters.

The Parque is crossed by several rivers and streams such as Cotingo. Its vegetation is of two kinds: (1) dense Amazon montane forest and (2) ecological sanctuaries. The first is found in altitudes higher than 1,000 meters and some of its species are the Pouteria surinamensis, Ocotea roraimae, Didymopanax sp and Jacaratia sp. In altitutes between 600 and 1,500 meters these same species appear smaller and closer to each other as in the case of quaruba (Vochyciaceae). In the highest part, at about 2,500 meters, there are the ecological sanctuaries. In this region the plants are so densely entangled that is difficult to penetrate into the forest. The most common species are plants belonging to the Orquidaceae, Melastomataceae, Compositae and Rubiaceae families.

A survey of the Park fauna has not been finished yet due to its recent creation. For this same reason the area does not have transport or accommodation facilities for its visitors.

01 - Data from the following publications: Instituto Brasileiro do Meio Ambiente (IBAMA), Parques Nacionais do Brasil, 1997 and Instituto Brasileiro de Desenvolvimento Florestal (IBDF, Parques Nacionais e Reservas Biologicas, 1983.