Picture galleries: coastal vegetation of Pará state, North Brazil

These galleries contain photos taken during my stay in ParĂ¡, north Brazil. Most of the pictures are from Ajuruteua Peninsula in the Caeté estuary, Bragança district (0°53’47”S, 46°40’20”W). Ajuruteua Peninsula has an area of approximately 170 square kilometers, the greatest part of which is covered by mangrove forest. The pictures on this page and in the galleries are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 License.

Mangroves. Mangroves are forests growing within the range of the tides along tropical and subtropical coastlines. The largest and least affected mangrove forests of Brazil can be found along its north coast. A continuous belt of mangrove forest extends from Marajó Bay (Pará) to the Lençois Maranheses (Maranhão); my pictures are from this region, namely from Ajuruteua Peninsula, but also from Salvaterra and Vigia, Marajó Bay. Dynamics and management of the mangrove forests of Pará where addressed by the Brazilian-German research project MADAM (UFPA, ZMT) that brought me to Brazil.

Dunes and marshes. On sandy dunes, beyond the reach of the tides, bushes and trees of restinga vegetation predominate. Between dune ridges there is marshland vegetation. Parts of these marshes are rarely inundated by the tides but stay wet during the rainy season due to accumulation of surface water from rain falls; most of the plants here die back during the dry season. Low lying areas more regularly exposed to tidal inundation feature salt-resistant species. On Ajuruteua Peninsula, dunes and marshes cover a comparatively small area. Part of it was destroyed through construction of houses and, next to the beach, of restaurants and small hotels.

Coastal forest. The most elevated parts of Ajuruteua Peninsula are former barrier islands, now surrounded by mangroves and marshes. On some of these islands we observe terrestrial forest of much higher species diversity than found in the before-mentioned dune forest. The forest reaches heights of more then 25 m. These areas were difficult to access in the past. However, a paved road was constructed about 20 years ago, cutting through the mangrove forest and marshes. The consequence is increasing human pressure and partial destruction, e.g. through fire, and by cutting of trees.