Chapada Diamantina: Chapada Diamantina National Park (Brazil)

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Chapada Diamantina: Chapada Diamantina National Park (Brazil)

Thu, 12/20/2018 - 20:55
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The Chapada Diamantina is a region on the Atlantic Plateau in the Brazilian Highlands. Bounded by cliffs that form a watershed, it drains on one side into the São Francisco River and on the other into the De Contas and Paraguaçu rivers. Chapada Diamantina National Park protects it.

Chapada Diamantina

The Chapada Diamantina region is located in northeastern Brazil on the Atlantic Plateau, within the Brazilian Highlands. An extension of the Serra do Espinhaço mountain range, it covers approximately 38,000 sq km (15,000 sq mi) and encompasses 58 municipalities.

Situated in central Bahia state, the Chapada Diamantina plateau is bounded by cliffs. The plateau's altitude typically varies from 500 - 1,000 m (1,600 - 3,300 ft). In the more mountainous parts, there are several peaks of 1,600 - 1,800 m (5,200 - 5,900 ft) and a few over 2,000 m (6,600 ft).

The plateau forms a watershed, draining on one side into the São Francisco River and on the other into the De Contas River and Paraguaçu River.

Known for its extraordinary landscapes and rugged mountainous terrain, the region includes several mountain groups, including:

  • Serra do Sincorá: This mountain range is one of the most iconic features of the Chapada Diamantina region. It includes the majestic Morro do Pai Inácio, a popular tourist attraction offering panoramic views of the surrounding landscapes.

  • Serra da Chapadinha: Located to the east of the town of Lençóis, this mountain range is characterized by its rocky cliffs and canyons, including the Fumaça Waterfall (Cachoeira da Fumaça), one of the highest waterfalls in Brazil.

  • Serra do Candombá: Situated south of Lençóis, Serra do Candombá is known for its picturesque valleys, caves, and viewpoints. The Poço Encantado and Poço Azul, natural swimming pools with crystal-clear blue waters, are also located in this mountain range.

  • Serra das Paridas: Located to the west of Lençóis, the Serra das Paridas offers a mix of valleys, waterfalls, and unique rock formations. It is home to attractions such as the Ribeirão do Meio waterfall and the Pai Inácio Cave.

  • Serra do Ramalho: Situated in the southwestern part of the Chapada Diamantina region; this mountain range features rugged landscapes, canyons, and the Rio de Contas.

Chapada Diamantina National Park

Chapada Diamantina National Park is located in the Chapada Diamantina region of Bahia, Brazil. The terrain is rugged and primarily covered by the flora of the Caatinga biome.

The Park covers 152,142 ha (375,950 acres) and is administered by the Chico Mendes Institute for Biodiversity Conservation.

The National Park lies in the rugged Serra do Sincorá on the eastern part of the plateau, an area of folded and heavily eroded structures.

The range is elongated in a north-south direction and has an average width of 25 km (16 mi). The state's highest point is in the Park, the 2,036 m (6,680 ft) Pico do Barbado.

The range forces moist air currents that are moving west from the sea upward, which causes higher levels of rainfall, particularly in the east.

Archaeological Sites

Many systems of caves formed by the region's rivers feature prehistoric archaeological sites from the pre-Columbian period, often represented by rock paintings.

Flora and Fauna

The National Park contains a large mosaic of unique vegetation types in a unique combination of three biomes: Caatinga, Cerrado, and Atlantic Forest.

Vegetation includes typical Caatinga xerophytic formations at altitudes from about 500 to 900 m (1,600 to 3,000 ft), Atlantic Forest vegetation along the watercourses, meadows and rocky fields higher up.

About two-thirds of the National park is covered by rupestrian fields with endemic species such as the lily Hippeastrum solandrifoliu; the bromeliads Alcantarea nahoumii, Cryptanthus diamantinense, Orthophythum amoenum and O. burlemarsii; the eleven-hour Portulaca wendermanii; the orchids Sophronitis bahiensis, S. pfisterii, S. sincorana and Thelychista ghyllanyi; candombá Vellozia sincorana; the cinnamon V. punctulata; the Ilex paraguariensis var. sincorensis, among numerous others.

The hooded visorbearer (Augastes lumachellus) hummingbird is endemic. There are few large mammals, but there are many species of small mammals, reptiles, amphibians, birds, and insects.

Protected birds in the reserve include white-necked hawk (Buteogallus lacernulatus), Chaco eagle (Buteogallus coronatus), Bahia tyrannulet (Phylloscartes beckeri), ochre-marked parakeet (Pyrrhura cruentata), and Bahia spinetail (Synallaxis whitneyi).

Other protected species include Barbara Brown's titi (Callicebus barbarabrownae), cougar (Puma concolor), jaguar (Panthera onca), oncilla (Leopardus tigrinus), giant armadillo (Priodontes Maximus), and giant anteater (Myrmecophaga tridactyla).