Have you ever heard of Ombrophilous Forest? This is the current form that we call the ecosystem that was once known as rainforest. Here in Brazil, its vegetation occurs mainly in the Amazon and Atlantic Forests, unfolding into other biomes such as, mainly, the Mixed Ombrophilous Forest, or Floresta com Araucárias and Natural Fields.
The main characteristic of ombrophilous forests is that it consists of an ecosystem in which there is a strong presence of rain. For in addition to this factor, each variation of this vegetation contains different phytophysiognomies, according to the altitudinal bands in which they are found. Oh, and another important information that they all have in common, is that they are perennial vegetations — that is: they are always green.
But don’t worry, let’s tell you a little more about each of the ways in which the ombrophilous forests happens, what are the species of animals and plants that make up this ecosystem so important for Brazilian fauna and flora. Let’s go?
Mixed ombrophilous forest
- Alluvial / 2. Submontane / 3. Montane / 4. Upper Montane
Also known as Forest with Araucarias, this form of rainforest is part of the Atlantic Forest, occurring mainly in the states of Paraná, Santa Catarina and Rio Grande do Sul. Its main feature is the hot and humid climate in summer, autumn and spring, however with very low temperatures during the winter. The main tree that represents the mixed ombrophilous forest (MOF) is the araucária, or paraná pine.
And as this variation is the main one in the São Luiz do Purunã region, we will detail the vegetation forms a little more.
Alluvial mixed ombrophilous forest
As the name suggests, alluvial FOM always occupies alluvial land. In it, in addition to the araucarias, you can also find maritime pine and cataia, which are characteristic species of the altitudes. As the amplitude decreases, the araucaria is associated with several ecotypes of angiosperm trees of the Lauraceae family, with emphasis on orchids, as well as plants of the genus Criptocarya and Nectandra.
Mixed submontane ombrophilous forest
This formation is currently found in the form of small disjunctions located in various points of Rio Grande do Sul. It is considered a “secondary forest”, making it increasingly rare to find specimens of Araucaria angustifolia, the main tree of this variation.
Montane mixed ombrophilous forest
This formation, currently found in a few private reserves and in the Iguaçu Park, in the South, occupied almost entirely the plateau above 500 m altitude. Its occurrence occupies large extensions of land located between the cities of Lages (SC) and Rio Negro (PR), places where it is possible to observe the A. angustifolia occupying and emerging from the submata of Ocotea pulchella e Ilex paraguariensis, accompanied by Cryptocarya aschersoniana and Nectandra megapotamica. To the north of the state of Santa Catarina and to the south of Paraná, the Brazilian pine is associated with the imbuia (Ocotea porosa), while in the Itajaí-Açu river valley, araucaria is associated mainly with Ocotea catharinense.
Mixed upper montane ombrophilous forest
This variation occurs above 1,000 m of altitude, with its greatest occurrence in the Taimbezinho (RS) and São Joaquim (SC) Parks, occupying the hillsides of the region. The floristic composition of the disjunction of fields in Jordão, possibly similar to that previously existed in the states of Paraná and Santa Catarina, presents the dominance of araucarias.
Flora of the Mixed Ombrophilous Forest in São Luiz do Purunã
Learn more about the variations of trees that are part of our region and that are distributed among the Mixed Ombrophilous Forest here in São Luiz do Purunã:
The tree fern belongs to the group of pteridophyte plants, which include ferns, avencas and xaxins. They are vascular plants devoid of flower, seeds and fruit. It is one of the oldest plant species on the planet and takes up to 100 years to reach adulthood.
Native to the Atlantic Forest and Central America, the tree fern is on the list of IBAMA (Brazilian Institute of Environment and Natural Resources) among the species threatened with extinction. In 2001, a CONAMA (National Council for the Environment) resolution prohibited the cutting and exploitation of the species.
An imposing tree, of splendid beauty, present and associated mainly with the Araucaria Forest, the Imbuia (Ocotea porosa), can reach 25 meters in height, or more in adulthood, and live up to 500 years. The dispersion of the fruits happens mainly through animals such as birds and mammals, which leave the seed free from the juicy peel, making it spread. It is a climax species and recommended for replacement of riparian forest, for places without flooding.
It is considered a noble species and was once very important for the country’s economic development. Due to its unrestrained use, it is currently on the list of endangered species (Ordinance MMA n. 443/2014).
Of the many Brazilian palm trees, one can be considered the favorite of children and animals throughout the Atlantic Forest region. Most adults do not pay much attention to the full curls, but there are still many small consumers out there for their sticky pulp, golden yellow color and sweet taste.
The most common name is Jerivá, derived from Tupi Jaribá or Yaribá, whose meaning is the fruit in a bunch, which falls for nothing, because this palm produces throughout the year, in bunches of 10 kilos, on average, or something around 1,400 little coconuts, each 2 to 3 centimeters.
Yerba mate is an herbal tea made from the leaves and branches of the Ilex paraguariensis plant. The leaves are dehydrated over a fire and then dipped in hot or cold water to make the infusion. The delicacy can provide several health benefits, such as improving athletic performance and focus and also helping to lose weight and decrease the risk of heart disease.
The culture of preparing chimarrão is a legacy left by indigenous Caingangue, Guarani, Aymara and Quechua cultures. Since the Guarani Indians were the first to use yerba mate.
One thousand and one utilities tree (from tea for gargling against throat infection to the healing of wounds in the cervix, not to mention its gastronomic applications), the red aroeira is also known as pink pepper (in fact, it won over European chefs for that) and many other popular names (aroeira-mansa, aroeira-do-brejo, aroeira-negra, fox fruit, sabias fruit, cambuí, balm, and bugre’s heart).
The aroeira is a medicinal plant, also known as red aroeira, aroeira-da-praia, aroeira mansa or corneíba, that can be used as home remedy to treat sexually transmitted diseases and urinary infections in women.
Almost all bromeliads have an exceptional capacity to store water. Nature has built long, curved leaves, perfect waterproof channels, which allow easy flow of water across its surface, always tilted towards the center. The leaves are also arranged in circular layers, in order to capture rainwater in all directions.
There are many plants known as caliandras or sponges. In the case of this species, specifically, it is considered a rarity. This is because in addition to being a small tree, it presents its “pompoms” arranged differently: they appear along the branch, in a design similar to that of a candle holder.
In all, the genus comprises more than 150 species of shrubs or trees. This species (and the others of this same family) attracts great landscape interest, not only for its size but also for the exotic beauty of its flowers.
This species is considered a symbol of Brazil by federal decree. The big difference of this tree in relation to the other yellow ipê trees is that its flower has the longest petals of all. Also called ipê-tabaco, cavatã, ipê-cascudo, ipê-preto, ipê-uma, pau-d’arco, ipê-amarelo-da-casca-lisa, ipê-comum, piúva and quiarapaíba, it usually flourishes from July, extending to mid-September, when it is completely leafless.
Fauna of the Ombrophilous Forest in São Luiz do Purunã
Now that you can understand more about the vegetal composition of the space in this region, we will point out some species that live in the Mixed Ombrophilous Forest. They are very important forms of life for the local ecosystem and, in some cases, are endangered, due to the lack of conservation of the areas. Look at that:
Its popular name is onomatopoeic, similar to the sound of its singing, sonorous and powerful, composed of strong shouts: “Curicak! Curicak! ”. There is no species similar to curicaca and it is a very difficult bird to be confused, as it is large, with brown head and neck, with light color, wide wings, long and curved beak, presenting a black mask around the eyes, which are red.
The curicaca feeds during the day and at sunset and uses its curved beak, adapted to extract larvae from the earth, in the capture of locusts, geckos, centipedes, rats, snails, larvae, insects, snakes and small frogs and lizards.
Symbol of the rich Brazilian fauna, the green-billed toucan is a bird that measures about 50 centimeters and is found in mountainous areas of southeastern and southern Brazil. Usually these toucans live in pairs, but it is not uncommon for them to form flocks with more than 20 birds.
They lay two to four eggs at a time and the incubation period is 18 days. While the female hatches the egg the male brings her food and, as soon as the babies are born, both take turns feeding and securing the nest.
The gray brocket is a species without antlers. The adult male measures just over a meter and can weigh twenty pounds. It has the longest and softest hair compared to the red brocket. The color of the coat can vary (brown or gray), and the light spot on the eyes is a characteristic, which even disappears in some individuals.
The gray brocket is a deer with a tendency to solitary life, gathering only to mate. The loss of their natural habitat, in the Mixed Ombrophilous Forest, and hunting are the main causes for the population decline, which would be leading the gray brocket towards extinction.
Coatis spend most of their life on trees in the Mixed Ombrophilous Forest. For this, they form groups of 4 to 20 individuals, and divide between themselves the task of looking for food. When this animal is not in pairs (in the reproductive period) or being part of a group, it usually lives alone. When there is a shortage of fruits, your favorite food, it increases the amount of animals in your diet, which can range from birds and insects, to worms, larvae and earthworms.
Since they are diurnal animals, coatis usually choose the top of the trees to rest at night. In fact, they sleep curled up like a ball. It only comes down at dawn.
The suçuarana, also known as puma, mountain lion, red jaguar, leão-baio is the second largest species of feline in Brazil. The suçuarana’s coat has a color ranging from very light gray-brown to dark reddish-brown. Generally the animals that live in the Mixed Ombrophilous Forest are smaller and darker than those that live in mountainous regions, which are bigger and lighter.
They have nocturnal (predominant) and daytime habits, they hunt at any time of the day with a certain tendency in the late afternoon. The species is terrestrial, but has great ability to climb trees and is very agile. The suçuarana lives solitary, except during the mating season. Research has shown that the puma is the most efficient and flexible predator among felines. It gets food 75% of the time it goes on the attack.
Capybara is the largest herbivorous rodent in the world, an adult animal can weigh 70 kg. It has a large head, small ears and no tail. Capybara feeds on grasses and common herbs in floodplains and wetlands. The species has semi-aquatic habits and is an excellent diver, it even has feet with small membranes. It breeds in water and uses it as a defense, hiding from its predators. Therefore, the capybara can remain submerged for a few minutes.
The capybara grazes in search of food and uses water as a refuge. She is tolerant of life in man-altered environments. With daytime and nighttime habits, the capybara lives in groups, usually with about 20 individuals.
The anteater, unlike other species, is still a mammal preserved in Brazilian fauna. But an increasingly frequent activity in its habitat weighs against its maintenance: the reduction of forests due to burning, which generally eliminates its main source of food: ants, termites and larvae.
In fact, in order to feed himself, he usually uses a very simple technique: he uses his strong claws (four in all) to make holes in the termite mound and, with his sticky tongue, capture the insects, guided mainly by a very keen sense of smell, which compensates for poor vision and hearing.
This animal is also frequently threatened by other human actions, directly or indirectly, such as being run over on roads close to its natural environment, and to frequent attacks by domestic dogs.
Medium sized feline, males are larger than children, can measure 1 meter, more with tail up to 40 cm, weighing between 8 and 15 kg. The ocelot has a color variable, from pale yellowish gray or light yellow to ocher brown.
Black spots tend to form open rosettes, drawing longitudinal lines. They are solitary animals, of nocturnal habits, and excellent swimmers and tree climbers.
Araucaria are species that are at risk of extinction due to large deforestation. However, in order to control this situation and propose an alternative cultivation, a study carried out by EMBRAPA allows the production of pine nuts to happen in up to four years and, after planted, the araucarias grow faster than the pine.
Do you want to experience a day in the middle of the mixed ombrophilous forest?
Come to São Luiz do Purunã and enjoy sports, tourism and relaxation options in the middle of the mixed ombrophilous forest that is the Araucaria Forest. Access the Visit Purunã website and find out where to stay, eat and what to do in our region. Clique aqui