Where are the animals of the Cerrado?

julho, 17 2017

A study carried out recently shows that in addition to the environmental benefits this news brings, there may also be endangered species in the areas of the biome undergoing regeneration
Contrary to popular belief for a long period of time, the Cerrado is home to a wide diversity of fauna and flora. It is estimated that this biome contains 837 bird, 120 reptile, 150 amphibian, 1,200 fish, 90,000 insect, 199 mammal and 11,000 plant species. In total, these equate to 5% of all of the world’s species and 30% of the country’s biodiversity.

This fact is due to the Cerrado’s location in the heart of Brazil. It connects four of the country’s five biomes – the Amazon, the Atlantic Forest, the Caatinga and the Pantanal, and shares various plant and animal species with these regions. 
The biggest threat to this wealth is deforestation. Despite high rates of loss of native vegetation, however, some areas have already been regenerated and the Cerrado has started to grow back in some pastureland and eucalyptus crop areas. A study carried out recently shows that in addition to the environmental benefits this news brings, there may also be endangered species in the areas of the biome undergoing regeneration, demonstrating the importance of the preservation and recovery of these degraded areas.

This research was developed by the Biotropics Institute, which uses automatic cameras to capture images of mammals moving between the two different environments: the deforested Cerrado after being regenerated and the Cerrado vegetation that has not suffered any significant impact over the last four decades.
Registered species include the maned wolf and the giant anteater. These have been observed in a regenerated area in the Veredas of Peruaçu State Park in the north of Minas Gerais state where WWF-Brazil is developing environmental conservation initiatives and supports the organisation’s actions to monitor fauna.

The author of the study, Guilherme Ferreira, describes the implications of these results on the swathes of land that were deforested in the past and are today undergoing the initial stages of regeneration. “In the 70s and 80s there were large eucalyptus plantations in the north of Minas Gerais that were later abandoned, and the native vegetation regenerated over time in some fragments. Given favourable conditions, these areas can become important for endangered animal species, but this does not mean that all deforested areas of the Cerrado can provide habitats for rare species in the future. It is crucial that the vegetation under regeneration is protected, forest fires are controlled and that there are wild animals present in the surrounding areas so that these areas can be transformed into favourable habitats for biodiversity,” he adds.

Despite it being a well-established fact that regenerated areas of forest perform an important role in the conservation of biodiversity, until this point there were no studies to confer the importance of these for the fauna of the Cerrado.

Kolbe Soares, conservation analyst for WWF-Brazil’s Cerrado Pantanal program, considers this fact to be very important, as work to recover areas of the Cerrado tends to intensify with the implementation of the National Plan for the Recovery of Native Vegetation (PLANAVEG – Decree 8972/17).

According to Soares, “Large rural producers in the biome own large areas that need to be recovered, and these will provide environments that could form ecological corridors and extensive connected areas of Cerrado, increasing the diversity of the fauna and flora and the wealth of biodiversity as a result.”

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This study involved the collaboration of researchers from the Zoological Society of London, University College London and Conservation International
Registration made by the Biotropics Institute with automatic cameras
© Instituto Biotrópicos/Guilherme Ferreira