ATLANTIC FOREST BIOME, ECOSYSTEMS AND OCCUPATION

The Atlantic Forest originally covered an area of over 1.3 million km² spread over 17 Brazilian states ranging from Rio Grande do Norte to Rio Grande do Sul.

Deforestation and preferential settlement of the region of this biome has resulted in the almost total loss of intact original forests and the continued devastation and fragmentation of existing forest remnants, places the Atlantic Forest as one of the world’s most endangered ecosystem sets. Today 15% of this biome remains.

It is a forest with a high degree of biodiversity, endemism and its high deforestation rate. It is among the five main hotspots in the world, that is, areas with the richest and at the same time most threatened biomes on the planet.

The Region to be visited is located within two ecosystems: the Semideciduous Seasonal Forest and the Mixed Ombrofila. Seasonal semideciduous forests are formations of less humid environments than those where dense ombrophilous forest develops. In general, they occupy environments that move between the coastal wetland and the semiarid environment. This is why this vegetation is also known as “dry forest”. This plant formation has a size of around 20 meters (highest stratum) and, as an important feature, a reasonable loss of leaves in the dry period, especially in the tree stratum. In the rainy season, its physiognomy is mixed with that of the dense ombrophilous forest, however, in the dry season, the difference between them is noted. Iguaçu Falls and Tekoa de Ocoy are located in this plant extract. And the vegetation strongly influenced the native cultures. The Mixed Ombrophilous Forest, characterized by the dominant presence of the Brazilian Pine, the Araucaria tree, cylindrical trunk and straight, whose crowns give a special highlight to the landscape.
Araucaria can live up to 700 years, reaching diameters of two meters and height of 50 meters. In the understory of the forest there is a complex and wide variety of species such as guavirova, pitanga, mate, xaxim and pau pimenta, some of them endemic.

 

The colonization of the two regions, west and center south, to be visited, extended over a long period of resistance from the inhabitants against domination. With several clashes, deaths and one of the last fighting of the state.

Kaingang Indians lived in this region, which constituted a dualistic society, divided into clan halves Kamé and Kairu. Belonging to the Jê linguistic family, they lived in the fields and forest regions of Araucária angustifolia, where they had pine nuts as their main source of subsistence.

The Kaingang territories comprised, besides the villages, large areas where they established camps for hunting, fishing and gathering expeditions. They made pari fishing traps with which they obtained a wide variety of fish.

The Guarani, the Tupi-Guarani language group, are divided into three subgroups: Mbyá, Nhandéva and Kaiová. They mutually identify and maintain kinship and affinity ties with distant villages, not limited to the national territory. Despite the wide range of their territory (Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay) the sense of identity among the Guarani has been preserved through the maintenance of language and culture..

Before European colonization and the consequent loss of part of their territories, the Guarani were distributed from the coast extending to the subtropical forests of the plateau, to the Paraná river to the west. They settled their villages usually in rainforest regions, making clearings in the woods, using nearby areas for hunting, gathering and farming.

In cooking, besides the consumption of cold [tererê] or hot [mate] mate, we have the influence of these indigenous groups: food preparation with cassava, corn and pine nuts, such as porridge, mush and paçoca.

In vocabulary it is often the use of Guarani source words to designate names of native species of fruits, vegetables and animals. We can cite as examples: guabiroba, passion fruit, butia, capybara, jabuti, biguá, agouti. From Kaingang origin we have the names of municipalities such as: Goioerê, Candói, Xambrê and Verê.