The Panatanal- Q &A Master Thread

Discussion in 'Central/South America' started by jbcarioca, Mar 7, 2011.  |  Print Topic

  1. jbcarioca
    Original Member

    jbcarioca Gold Member

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    How to get there, where to stay, what to do, when to go. All those questions can be answered by people who have been there and understand the challenges and triumphs of visiting this wonderful part of the world.

    Post your photos, ask your questions and provide answers, please.

    The Pantanal has diversity second only to the Amazon, and even more in some respects. Anyone who enjoys the Everglades will love the Pantanal, much larger and more diverse.


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    Pantanal, the largest floodplain in the world, is the link between the Plate and Amazon River Basins. This grants the region with the function of a biogeographical corridor, allowing the dispersion and exchange of fauna and flora species between both basins. The Pantanal is inserted in around 500,000 square kilometers of the Upper Paraguay River Basin, comprising almost half of the Basin’s extension, with an area of 210,000 square kilometers, spread among 3 countries: Brazil, with 70% of its extension; Bolivia, with 20%, and 10% in Paraguay.
    In this region, several features meet: the Cerrado (East, North and South); Chaco (Southeast); Amazonian (North); Atlantic Forrest (South) and Bosque Seco Chiquitano (Northeast). The convergence and presence of different biomas, added to a variable cycle of floods and low-waters, grants a special diversity and variation of species. The term “pantanais” is used to indicate eleven distinct sub regions, determined by that inundation regime, drainage, vegetation and topography.
    Among Pantanal’s characteristics, we can highlight the flooding regime, which provides a seasonal dynamics, and the relation between the upper (plateau) and the lower part of the basin (lowlands). An unique phenomena occurs: in the lowlands, the smooth slope, and the soil composition makes the region function as a “sponge”, in which, during the raining season, receives and retains the waters from the upper part, draining slowly afterwards.
    During flooding season, rivers, ponds and streams become interconnected or “disappear” in the “ocean” of waters, allowing the species dispersion. This process guarantees constant renewal of life as well as the supply of nutrients.
    During low water periods, ponds and isolated channels are conformed, retaining a large quantity of fish and aquatic plants.
    Pantanal is one of the most important areas for migratory birds, given then shelter and food resources.
    Economic Activities
    In the upper lands there are mainly soy, corn and cotton cultivations, as well as pasture for extensive cattle ranchers. In the lowlands, the economy relies mostly on large extensive cattle farming, fishery, tourism, ore extraction and, in a smaller scale, agriculture (rice and grains).
    Part of a System
    Pantanal belongs to the largest wetland system of the world, with around 400,000 square kilometers, located at the Central Valley of the “South America’s Great Depression” or the “Subandean Depression” from the Plate River Basin.
    The Wetland System flows along more than 3.400 km, beginning at the Northern Pantanal, in the Upper Paraguay River Basin and extending to the floodplains of the Medium and Low Parana River, finally, reaching the Plate River.
    In the area that comprises the Paraguay-Parana Wetland System there are no dams, therefore the river dynamics and flooding pulses are maintaned. The Paraguay River is one of the few rivers of the word that is free from dams.
    Around 20 million people live in that region, including rural areas, traditional populations and Indigenous groups. Furthermore, there are large and medium cities, such as Cuiabá and Corumbá, in Brazil; Assunción, in Paraguay, and Buenos Aires, in Argentina. The maintenance of hydrological cycles and of biodiversity is of high importance for the System’s sustainability as well as for the populations that depend on it for their subsistence.

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