Serra Geral is the principal mountain relief of interior southern Brazil. It is located at the southern and eastern reaches of the Paraná Plateau and constitutes the southern portion of the Serra do Mar system. The range is home to several national and state parks.
Serra Geral is an escarpment that is the principal mountain relief of interior southern Brazil. It is located at the southern and eastern reaches of the Paraná Plateau and constitutes the southern portion of the Serra do Mar mountain system. The range is home to several national and state parks.
The Serra Geral range stretches east-west, parallel to the Atlantic coast, across northern Rio Grande do Sul state to the great escarpment in Santa Catarina state, separating a narrow coastal plain from an interior plateau. It then turns and runs north-northwestward through central Paraná state and into São Paulo state, where it is known as Serra de Botucatu.
The coastal plain hosts many short rivers, lagoons and bays and lies within the humid tropical Serra do Mar coastal forests ecoregion.
The plateau to the west of the range is drained by tributaries of the Uruguay River, including the Pelotas and Canoas, as well as the Jacuí River and its tributaries which drain south into the Lagoa dos Patos of Rio Grande do Sul. The plateau is home to the subtropical Araucaria moist forests.
Serra Geral National Park
Serra Geral National Park, created in 1982 to protect the Malacara, Churriado and Fortaleza canyons, covers 17,302 ha (42,750 acres) in the states of Rio Grande do Sul and Santa Catarina. It is made up of two separate sections adjacent to Aparados da Serra National Park.
The park includes a portion of the southeast of the plateau region as well as the escarpment between the plateau and the coastal plain. Altitudes range from 100 to 1,112 m (328 to 3,648 ft) above sea level.
Serra Geral National Park is located entirely in the Atlantic Forest biome, within the Araucaria Moist Forests ecoregion. It shelters three vegetation groups: coastal forests of Atlantic influence (Atlantic Forest), Araucaria forests and Grassland formations.
Vegetation includes dry meadows, peat fields, cloud forest, mixed rain forest, dense submontane and montane rain forest and lowland rain forest. Average annual rainfall is 1,800 mm (71 in). Temperatures range from 0 to 36 °C (32 to 97 °F) with an average of 18 °C (64 °F).
There are a wide variety of endemic species of flora in the park. Endemic fauna includes Elachistocleis erythrogaster, Melanophryniscus cambaraensis, Thoropa saxatilis, black-and-white monjita (Xolmis dominicanus), Xanthopsar flavus, Scytalopus iraiensis, Limnornis rectirostris and Amazona pretrei.
Protected species in the park include cougar (Puma concolor), oncilla (Leopardus tigrinus), margay (Leopardus wiedii), vinaceous-breasted amazon (Amazona vinacea), red-spectacled amazon (Amazona pretrei), Chaco eagle (Buteogallus coronatus), the toad Melanophryniscus macrogranulosus and the fish Mimagoniates rheocharis.
Aparados da Serra National Park
Aparados da Serra National Park was created in 1959 as one of Brazil's first national parks, to protect the Itaimbezinho canyon. It is located in the Serra Geral range in the states of Rio Grande do Sul and Santa Catarina, in the south of Brazil. It extends over an area of 10,250 ha (25,328 acres).
The park contains a rich biodiversity as the result of its diverse relief and of being situated at the intersection between coastal forests, grasslands and araucaria moist forests. There have been at least 143 birds, 48 mammals and 39 amphibian species documented in the park.
Endangered fauna on the plateaus of the park include the red-spectacled amazon parrot, the maned wolf and the cougar. On the slopes, the neotropical otter, ocelot and the brown howling monkey can be found.
São Joaquim National Park
São Joaquim National Park covers an area of 48,300 ha (119,000 acres) in the state of Santa Catarina. It was set aside in 1961 to preserve remnant forests of Paraná pine, Araucaria Angustifolia as well as its alpine meadows and cloud forests. It has become popular for mountain climbing. The park adjoins Serra Furada State Park.
The area of the park is the source for the main rivers of the state, containing the basins of the Canoas, Tubarão and Pelotas rivers.
The terrain is very rugged and includes canyons, large caves and mountain slopes covered in native forest. Altitudes range from 300 to 1,826 m (984 to 5,991 ft). Temperatures range from 0 to 28 °C (32 to 82 °F), with an average of 12 °C (54 °F).
The cold climate does not support a large amount of wildlife however, there are several endangered species living in and around the park.
Serra Furada State Park
Serra Furada State Park is located in the state of Santa Catarina, Brazil. Covering an area of 1,330 ha (3,300 acres), it protects a densely forested mountain region in the Atlantic Forest biome.
The park is situated on the escarpment of the Serra Geral and covers parts of the Serra Geral and Botucatu geological formations. Altitudes vary from 400 to 1,480 m (1,310 to 4,860 ft). There are steep cliffs in the highest areas and deep valleys created by strong fluvial erosion. There are rounded hills in areas where sedimentary rocks predominate.
The park contributes to the sources of important local rivers such as the Minador River (a tributary of the Laranjeiras River which is, in turn, a tributary of the Tubarão River) as well as the Meio and Braço Esquerdo rivers that drain into the sub-basin of the Braço do Norte River.
The western portion of the park is adjacent to the São Joaquim National Park. The two parks together form a continuous forest area.