The Upper Paraná Atlantic forests, or "Selva Paranaense," is an ecoregion of the tropical moist forests biome and the South American Atlantic Forest biome. The ecoregion stretches across the borders of southern Brazil, eastern Paraguay, and northeastern Argentina.
Upper Paraná Atlantic Forests: Selva Paranaense
The Upper Paraná Atlantic forests, or "Selva Paranaense," (also known as the Alto Paraná Atlantic forests or Paraná-Paraíba interior forests) is an ecoregion of the tropical moist forests biome and the South American Atlantic Forest biome.
The Alto Paraná Atlantic forests are an interior extension of the coastal forests, extending across the southern portion of the Brazilian Highlands. The ecoregion stretches across the borders of southern Brazil, eastern Paraguay, and northeastern Argentina.
The Upper Paraná Atlantic forests cover portions of the Brazilian states of Rio de Janeiro, Minas Gerais, São Paulo, Goiás, Mato Grosso do Sul, Paraná, Santa Catarina, and Rio Grande do Sul.
The ecoregion also stretches into the Argentinian province of Misiones, where it is known as the "Missionary Jungle," and the Paraguayan departments of Alto Paraná, Amambay, Caaguazu, Caazapa, Canindeyú, Concepción, Guairá, and Itapúa.
The ecoregion's climate is subtropical, with 1,200 - 1,600 mm (47 - 63 in) of rainfall per year. The winter dry season extends from April to September.
The primary vegetation type in the ecoregion is semi-deciduous forests, akin to the other interior forest ecoregions of the Atlantic forests. Approximately 40% of the trees lose their leaves during the winter dry season.
The Upper Paraná Atlantic forests house an impressive variety of species. For example, approximately 450 trees can be found in only one hectare (2.5 acres).
The forest is one of the most biologically important ecosystems in the world and one of the most endangered rainforests.
The ecoregion hosts animals and plants found nowhere else. Over 90% of all amphibians and 50% of plants in the forest are endemic.
The forest and its inhabitants face many threats. Trees are being felled to make room for agriculture, livestock and roads.
As a result, forest cover today is a mere fraction of what it used to be. It is also much more fragmented, meaning that wildlife has less space to move around and is in greater danger from hunting and trade.
Relatively vast but generally unprotected forest blocks remain in the southern portion of the ecoregion, particularly in Argentina and Paraguay.
Given the high levels of local richness and endemism and the extensive loss of natural habitat (over 95% in many areas), the probability of species extinctions is high without intensive conservation efforts.
Map depicting the approximate area of the Alto Paraná Atlantic Forest ecoregion (in green)