Serra do Caparaó is a range of mountains located on the border between the states of Minas Gerais and Espírito Santo in southeastern Brazil. Caparaó National Park was created to protect the Caparaó Mountains and the representative Atlantic Forest.
Serra do Caparaó
Serra do Caparaó is a range of mountains located on the border between the states of Minas Gerais and Espírito Santo in southeastern Brazil. It is the northernmost extension of the Serra da Mantiqueira, which is, in turn, part of the Serra do Mar Mountain Range System.
The Serra do Caparaó contains a representative area of the Atlantic Forest along with unique examples of alpine meadows.
Caparaó National Park
Caparaó National Park (Parque Nacional do Caparaó) was created in 1961 to protect the Caparaó Mountains. It is located along the border between the Brazilian states of Minas Gerais and Espírito Santo. It is an important area for the preservation of the Atlantic Forest.
The National Park protects 31,853 ha (78,710 acres) and is administered by the Chico Mendes Institute for Biodiversity Conservation (ICMBio).
Pico da Bandeira, one of the highest mountains in Brazil, is located within the park and, at 2,892 m (9,488 ft), is the third-highest mountain in Brazil. It is one of the park's major attractions and is accessible from the nearby town of Alto Caparaó.
Pico da Bandeira is also remarkable for being the Brazilian mountain with the greatest topographic isolation (distance to the point of equal elevation): 2,393 km (1,487 miles).
The National Park also houses other peaks that are of considerable altitudes, including:
- Morro da Cruz do Negro: 2.658 m (8,720 ft)
- Pedra Roxa: 2,649 m (8,691 ft)
- Pico do Tesouro: 2,630 m (8,629 ft)
- Pico do Tesourinho: 2,584 m (8,478 ft)
The climate in the park is altitude tropical, and the temperature variation averages between 19 - 22 °C (66 - 72 °F). However, the summits inside the park are some of the coldest locations in Brazil, where the temperature can vary between 25 °C (77 °F) to -10 °C (14 °F) in winter and can include frost.
Dense montane and alti-montane rainforest dominate the region, with extensive portions of montane forests and well-preserved highland fields. These high-altitude environments include swamps, bamboo brushes (Chusquea pinnifolia), areas of rocky vegetation on rocky outcrops ("Brazilian páramos") and herbaceous shrub formations.
Caparaó is the northern limit for the distribution of several endemic bird species of the Atlantic Forest and northern mountainous species. At least 49 bird species inhabit the mountain's high-altitude fields. Forest avifauna, however, has not been well sampled and may include more endangered species.