A totally national biome that represents about 11% of the Brazilian territory. The Caatinga is present in the Northeast and North of Minas Gerais. Of Tupi-Guarani origin, caatinga means “white forest”. In honor of João Vasconcelos Sobrinho, a pioneer researcher in environmental studies, the National Caatinga Day was created in 2003, celebrated on April 28.
The climate in the Caatinga is tropical semi-arid, with high temperatures and long periods of drought. According to the Chico Mendes Institute for Biodiversity Conservation, research indicates the existence of 3,200 species of plants, 371 of fish, 224 of reptiles, 98 of amphibians, 183 of mammals and more than 500 of birds.
Among these species, two stand out for being threatened with extinction: the Spix’s Macaw, considered extinct in the wild for almost two decades, and the Lear’s Macaw, which inhabits the Bahian Caatinga, in the region known as Raso da Catarina. Other animals such as the giant armadillo, the puma and the Araripe soldier are also threatened with extinction.
In 2010, the Caatinga was declared a National Heritage Site. The vegetation that predominates is low, with shrubs. Trees with twisted branches, forming a vast gray forest, are characteristic of the region. The landscape gains color and changes a little when it rains.
The study Land use in Brazilian biomes shows that deforestation in the Caatinga, in recent years, has occurred due to the consumption of firewood for domestic and industrial purposes, grazing and subsistence agriculture. Even so, according to IBGE data, it is the third most preserved biome in the country.
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