Stretching along South America's east coast and extending inland towards the Amazon, the Atlantic Forest is one of the world’s most ecologically diverse regions. It is also one of the most vulnerable. WWF is racing against the clock to protect what remains of this once great forest.
© Edward Parker / WWF
The forest is home to around 20,000 species of plants. Some 450 tree species have been found in just one hectare.
There are also thousands of species of birds, mammals, reptiles and amphibians, including endangered jaguars, golden lion tamarins, woolly spider monkeys, maned three-toed sloths and red-tailed parrots.
Conserving what's leftVery little of the Atlantic Forest remains and what does is highly fragmented.
The forests continue to be vulnerable to logging and agricultural expansion, particularly soy production. Habitat loss and hunting put many species in danger of extinction.
WWF is working in Brazil, Paraguay and Argentina to encourage forest conservation and better management of protected areas.
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© Michel GUNTHER / WWF
In Paraguay, Mbaracayu National Park and San Rafael Lagoon National Park - 2 of the most important blocks of Atlantic Forest remaining in the country - have been recognized by UNESCO as Biosphere Reserves. WWF has awarded the Paraguayan government with the Leaders for the Living Planet Award in recognition of its efforts to conserve the Upper Paraná Atlantic Forest.
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Facts & Figures
- Of the 1,000,000km2 (386,000 sq miles) of original Atlantic Forest that once blanketed the coast of Brazil, just 7% now remains.
- In Paraguay some 13% of the original forest remains.
- More than 52% of the tree species and 92% of the amphibians in the Atlantic Forest are found nowhere else in the world.
- 6,000 plant species, 263 amphibians and 160 mammals, including 22 primate species, are endemic.
- Two of the world's largest cities - Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo - lie within the Atlantic forests.
- Charles Darwin explored the area during his expedition on the Beagle in 1832.