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Brazilian biomes

Por: Denise Moraes

 Amazon. Photo: Cesar Paes Barreto/Wikipedia

Amazon. Photo: Cesar Paes Barreto/Wikipedia

Let’s start with an exercise. Try to remember of some of the Brazilian regions you’ve probably seen on TV. For instance, try to remember what you know about the Amazon. How do you picture the Amazon? Big trees, lots of rivers and animals you’re not used to seeing. Isn’t that what you’re thinking? Now let’s try it with a different place. What kind of landscape comes through your mind when you think of the Northeast? Dry land, almost treeless, with only cactuses that remind you of desert movies...


Of course the Amazon isn’t just what you imagine it to be, just as the Northeast isn’t a huge desert. However, the images that popped-up in your mind illustrate determining factors of these places such as the plants, animals and temperature. There are lots of plants, animals and types of climate, but they are not in every place. In a certain place, certain animals are more common, certain plants predominate the landscape, it is hotter or colder and it rains more or less.


Ecosystems are sets of living creatures that characterize a place, a region. We may say that animals, plants, bacteria, water, wind, soil, sunlight, etc. are part of the ecosystem or that the way these factors relate to each other - how they are connected - is what determines an ecosystem.


There are terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems. But they can also be classified as “natural” (such as woods, forests, deserts and oceans) or “artificial” (that is, created by man, such as dams, aquariums and plantations.


Brazilian biomes. Image: Ibama

Brazilian biomes. Image: Ibama


Only by considering a few of those elements (such as the diversity of animals you’ve seen, the types of plants you know, the changes in climate you’ve experienced and the size of our planet), you must be wondering how many ecosystems are there on the planet. Well, there are many. And there are ecosystems within ecosystems, such as in the case of a lake in a forest. Put together, all of these ecosystems form the Biosphere, the part of the Earth inhabited by living creatures.


Biomes are clusters of ecosystems, gathered in terms of similarities in their vegetation, terrain and climate. In Brazil, the Ministry of the Environment works with seven biomes: the Amazon, the Cerrado, the Caatinga, the Pantanal, the Atlantic Forest, the Pampa - or Southern Fields - and the Coastal. Let’s learn about the one we mentioned above, the Amazon.


Learn more about other biomes and ecosystems:

The Amazon biome

The Pantanal biome

The Atlantic Rainforest biome

The Caatinga biome

Cerrado Biome

Southern Plains Biome

The Coastal Biome

Sources of information:

Ibama

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