Atlantic Dry Forests

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Jaú National Park, Amazonas, Brazil.
© WWF-Canon / Juan PRATGINESTOS

About the Area

The Atlantic Dry Forests ecoregion occurs in patches extending from north to south between the Cerrado Grasslands and Caatinga Scrub ecoregions of eastern Brazil. The climate is mostly tropical, receiving between 86 and 100 cm (34-39 in) of rain annually and having a 5-month dry season.

A large ecological transition area between neighboring moist forests and grasslands, this ecoregion provides diverse habitats that support many unique communities of species. A combination of geomorphological, geological, climatic, hydrological and vegetation features helps to delineate this ecoregion.

Size:
115,000 sq. km (45,000 sq. miles)

Habitat type:
Tropical and Subtropical Dry Broadleaf Forests

Geographic Location:
South America: Northeastern Brazil

Conservation Status:
Critical/Endangered

Local Species
Dry forests are fairly dense, up to 25 to 30 m high and characterized by tree species such as Cavanillesia arborea, Cedrela fissilis, Schinopsis brasiliensis, Astronium urundeuva, Aspidosperma macrocarpa and Tabebuia sp. The most remarkable tree is certainly Cavanillesia arborea, with a huge, bottle-shaped trunk that reaches its maximum diameter of 1.5 m or more about 3 m above ground level. It attains heights of about 27 m.

Among the bird species that occur here are several endemics such as gilt-edged tanager (Tangara cyanoventris), great xenops (Megaxenops parnaguae), hooded visorbearer (Augastes lumachellus), Caatinga nighthawk (Chordeiles vielliardi), pale-throated serra finch (Sporophila frontalis), and narrow-billed antwren (Formicivora iheringi).
 / ©: WWF-Canon / Michel GUNTHER
Brassy-breasted tanager (Tangara desmaresti), Espírito Santo, Brazil.
© WWF-Canon / Michel GUNTHER

Featured Species

The gilt-edged tanager (Tangara cyanoventris) is found in eastern Brazil from Bahia to São Paulo. They inhabit forest and secondary growth as well as clearings and tend to be found between 500 and 1,000 meters above sea level.

They are golden-yellow above with heavy black streaks on the back and lighter black streaks on the crown. Underparts are mostly turquoise moving to green on the lower belly and yellow on the lower flanks. The forehead and throat are black.

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Threats
Only 30% of the original forest remains; agriculture stands as the main threat to habitat destruction. The high biomass of these forests makes them important sources of fuel for Brazil's steel and pig iron industries, which run entirely on charcoal. The most diverse dry forests on flat terrain and rich soil have been completely removed.
WWF’s work
Created in 1996 and based in Brasília, the federal capital of the country, WWF-Brazil acts nationwide with the mission of contributing to a Brazilian society that conserves its natural environment, harmonizing human activity with the preservation of biodiversity and the sustainable use of natural resources.

The Amazon, Cerrado scrubland, Atlantic Forest and Pantanal wetland are the main biomes in which WWF works. A highly qualified and multidisciplinary technical team conducts projects in conservation and the sustainable use of natural resources in some of the ecoregions considered of the highest priority.

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