Serra Geral: Mountain Range and National Park (Brazil)

Serra Geral: Mountain Range and National Park (Brazil)

Sat, 03/27/2021 - 16:42
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The Serra Geral is the principal mountain relief of interior southern Brazil. It is located at the south and eastern reaches of the Paraná Plateau and constitutes the southern portion of the Serra do Mar system. The range is home to Serra Geral National Park, which hosts the Fortaleza Canyon.

Serra Geral

The Serra Geral is an escarpment that is the principal mountain relief of interior southern Brazil. It is located at both the south 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, known as Serra de Botucatu.

The coastal plain hosts many short rivers, lagoons, and bays and lies within the tropical Serra do Mar coastal forests ecoregion. The plateau itself is home to the subtropical Araucaria moist forests.

Tributaries of the Uruguay River drain the plateau west of the range, including the Pelotas and Canoas rivers, and by the Jacuí River and its tributaries, which drain south into the Lagoa dos Patos of Rio Grande do Sul, the largest coastal lagoon in South America.

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 Rio Grande do Sul and Santa Catarina. It comprises two separate sections adjacent to Aparados da Serra National Park.

The park includes a portion of the southeast of the plateau region and the escarpment between the plateau and the coastal plain. Altitudes range from 100 - 1,112 m (328 - 3,648 ft) above sea level.

One of the attractions is the Fortaleza Canyon, which is approximately 8 km (5 mi) long, 900 m (2,950 ft) deep and 1,500 m (4,900 ft) wide.

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.

The average annual rainfall is 1,800 mm (71 in). Temperatures range from 0 - 36 °C (32 - 97 °F) with an average of 18 °C (64 °F).

Flora and Fauna

Vegetation includes dry meadows, peat fields, cloud forests, mixed rainforests, dense submontane and montane rainforests, and lowland rainforests.

The National Park hosts a wide variety of endemic species of flora. Endemic fauna includes the frog species Elachistocleis erythrogaster and Thoropa saxatilis, the toad (Melanophryniscus cambaraensis), and the bird species black-and-white monjita (Xolmis dominicanus), saffron-cowled blackbird (Xanthopsar flavus), marsh tapaculo (Scytalopus iraiensis), straight-billed reedhaunter (Limnornis rectirostris), and red-spectacled amazon (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.