Biomes Conservation Opinion

Brazilian Biomes: Intro Series

In all its 8.5 million km² [1], Brazil contains six continental biomes: the Amazônia, the Pantanal, the Cerrado, the Caatinga, the Pampas, and the Mata Atlântica (Figure below). Each of these biomes have their own peculiarities, located in different climatic zones and hosting a wide variety of animal and plant species. Since the arrival of the Europeans in 1500 to the new land (Brazil), a lot of land exploration and changes have affected the Brazilian native environment. As time progressed, so did these changes, making those once pristine spaces progressively more modified and vulnerable.

Figure: Brazilian biomes with location of where studies are concentrated (291 study sites)
Source: Guerra et al. 2020[2]

Currently, Brazil has a national goal to restore 12 million ha of native vegetation by 2030 [3]. The aim to invest in research and science in order to establish restoration efforts and policies sounds very promising and important, given that many Brazilian biomes and ecosystems are not so well known and this could aid prioritization efforts. Sadly, the first quarter of this year has already marked another deforestation record for the Amazon – 69% more than last year’s during the same period [4]. This situation is so controversial that we might feel somewhat hopeless. However, we are aiming for the opposite here! Learning more about our biomes, understanding their importance for distinct scales, and how our relationship with nature impact positively for the creation of different restoration initiatives can lead to a big wave of change.

In this GCE Blog series on Brazilian biomes, I will explore each of these biomes’ characteristics, the present biodiversity, historical changes, their current state and research gaps. So, stick with me and get to know a bit more of my country!


[1] IBGE – Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics

[2] Guerra et al. 2020. Ecological restoration in Brazilian biomes: Identifying advances and gaps. Forest Ecology and Management, 458, 117802.

[3] Brazil 2017. Ministério do Meio Ambiente. Planaveg: Plano Nacional de Recuperação da Vegetação Nativa/Ministério do Meio Ambiente, Ministério da Agricultura, Pecuária e Abastecimento. Ministério da Educação: Brasília, DF. 73 p. ISBN: 978-85-7738-336- 8.

[4] The Guardian. ‘Record after record’: Brazil’s Amazon deforestation hits April high, nearly double previous peak.

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