The Araucaria moist forests ecoregion spans the mountainous areas of southern Atlantic Brazil and extends into northeastern Argentina. It is a coniferous forest ecoregion of the Atlantic Forest biome.
Araucaria Moist Forests
The Araucaria moist forests ecoregion spans the mountainous areas of southern Atlantic Brazil and extends into northeastern Argentina. It is a coniferous forest ecoregion of the Atlantic Forest biome. These mixed forests are convergent with savanna regions to the south, cerrado scrub to the north and moist forests to the east and west.
The Araucaria moist forests cover an area of 216,100 sq km (83,400 sq mi), encompassing a region of mountains and plateaus in the Brazilian states of São Paulo, Paraná, Santa Catarina and Rio Grande do Sul. They extend into the Misiones Province of northeastern Argentina.
The ecoregion is bordered on the north and west by Paraná-Paranaíba forests, on the south by the Pampas and on the east by Serra do Mar coastal forests. The ecoregion lies above 500 m (1,600 ft), rising to 1,600 m (5,200 ft) elevation on the high slopes of the Serra da Mantiqueira.
The Araucaria moist forests have an oceanic temperate climate (Cfb), with frequent frosts during the winter months and considerable snowfall in the highest areas. Annual precipitation is high, ranging from 1,300 to 3,000 mm (51 to 118 in) without a dry season.
The ecoregion mostly consists of evergreen subtropical moist forests, with a canopy made up of Ocotea pretiosa and O. catharinense (Lauraceae), Campomanesia xanthocarpa (Myrtaceae), and Mimosa scabrella and Parapiptadenia rigida (both Leguminosae). Brazilian araucaria (Araucaria angustifolia) forms an emergent layer, growing up to 45 m (148 ft) in height.
The forests are significant from an evolutionary perspective, as a relict of mixed coniferous and broad-leafed forests that were once much more widespread. They are home to many taxa characteristic of the Antarctic flora.
The ecoregion is home to several threatened species endemic to the Atlantic forests, including the brown howler monkey (Alouatta guariba) and the red-spectacled parrot (Amazona pretrei). The Araucaria moist forests is recognized as an important endemic bird area.