The RPPN is located in the cerrado (Brazilian savanna) region, which is the most predominant vegetation in the state of Minas Gerais. In this area the landscape is the cerrado, strictly speaking – the predominant biome – with the presence of its variations cerradão (forest cerrado) and grasslands, covering the hills and plateaus separated by riparian vegetation or gallery forests and veredas with sparse buriti trees.
The cerrado vegetation strictly speaking is different from the cerradão because it lacks forest structures in comparison to the latter. Cerrado vegetations have smaller, more twisted and more spaced trees compared to cerradão. The cerrado environment contains low vegetation, with the abundance of grass and grassland subshrubs. Grasslands cerrados (dense cerrado, open cerrado and field cerrado) are formations with even fewer forest structures than the strict cerrado. These environments are most predominantly composed of low vegetation, twisted and isolated arboreta in the grasslands cerrados and of grassy vegetation with few trees and arboreta in the dense cerrado. Open cerrados are more common on plateaus, and are covered by low vegetation with no large trees and some rare and isolated arboreta. Species such as the Pequi tree (Caryocar brasiliense), the Vochysia tucanorum, the Andira sapindoides, the Qualea grandiflora and the Qualea parviflora are very dense in the cerrado areas.
Gallery forests follow along water courses, with varied lengths and widths depending on the size of the courses. High trees can be found in these woods, such as the sucupira (Boundichia sp.), the jatobá (Hymenaea sp.) and the araticum (Annona crassiflora), etc. Riparian vegetation is different from the cerrado vegetation not only due to the types of species (especially liana and epiphyte from gallery forests). Frequently, on the plains between hills there is the formation of veredas, which are characterized by the presence of the buriti (Mauritia flexuosa), by the buritirana (Mauritia aculeata) and pindaíba trees (Xulopia emarginata). Veredas usually stretch along river sources or water courses, and contribute to the balance of humidity in its environments.
Veredas have great social importance as groundwater recharge zones, and they have a huge ecological and hydrological relevance as they promote the health and regularity of water resources, as they are located close to the river sources. Its flora is very sensitive to anthropization, and alterations may put its diversity at risk along with the maintenance of the water conditions, as that would interfere in the water-soil-plant system, resulting in a deficit in aquifer reposition, thereby lowering the drainage basin level and flow rate.
The phytophysiognomy of the veredas can be considered a “vegetation complex” and the diversity of its flowers matches the environmental gradient that influences the species. It is a hydrophilic community formed by two strata: one shrub-arboreal with predominance of the buriti specie, and one herbaceous-grassy, at the outer limits around the veredas. Small changes in the number of individuals cause minimal effects to the community, but species with very low density cause great damages to the structure and influence the natural dynamics of the forests. Therefore, progressional processes in these areas can be slow, as they are the result of different levels of disturbance and follow distinct patterns and mechanisms that are inherent to each community.
According to surveys conducted by UNIMONTES on the Buriti Grosso Vereda, this was the vereda that presented the greatest percentage of exclusive species (40%) compared to other veredas that were studied. This is due to the fact that it is a disturbed vereda that is naturally receiving plants from the surrounding matrix by dispersion, and results in communities that are completely different from the original communities. Among the exclusive species in this vereda, only Annona crassiflora, Erythroxylum suberosum and Neea theifera were described as recurrent in veredas, while Kielmeyera speciosa, Buchenavia tomentosa, Copaifera cearensis var. arenicola, Aegiphila lhotskiana, Ouratea hexasperma and Talisia esculenta are described for other physiognomies, such as stricto sensu cerrado, ciliary and gallery forests, semi-deciduous forests and dense ombrophilic jungle. Due to these findings, flora recovery projects were initiated in 2014 to promote repopulation.
The species sampled at the Buriti Grosso vereda belong to 19 families and 21 genera, with the richest of them being Copaifera, Erytroxylum, Miconia and Psidium, each with two species (Table 01).
Families and species found
at the Buriti Grosso Vereda,
sorted according to the importance level.
The diversity of the fauna in cerrado regions is known worldwide. They are considered a hotspot for the preservation of life on the planet by World Wildlife Foundation – WWF. Currently, this biome presented 161 species of mammals, (3.4% of which are endemic); 837 birds; 120 reptiles; 150 amphibious. As for invertebrates, other authors registered 1550 insects; 1000 of which are lepidopterous, and 550 species of bees and wasps.
Mammals were recorded by visual identification, vocalization, tracking and interviews. The presence of top-of-the-chain predators, the fact that it is a land that extends beyond the limits of many properties, and the presence of carnivorous species demonstrates the good preservation conditions of the areas where the RPPN is located, which makes it necessary to transform it into a protected area. Mammals usually registered in the cerrado area and RPPN region were listed in Table 02.
List of mammals registered
in the RPPN, in neighboring areas and parks.
The birds in the region where the RPPN is located were surveyed in several occasions. Psittaciformes, which feed from coconuts, were found nesting in buriti trees and occasionally on abandonend termite nests. The quantity of arthropods and other invertebrates in the region make falconiformes, cuculiformes, insectivorous passariformes and picidae birds very common groups.
The humidity and the large quantity of berries and seeds available in the cerrado biome attract tinamiformes, which occupy grasslands and marsh lands, buriti trees and denser areas with arboreal and shrub vegetation. The shallows (which sometimes form small ponds) attract small egrets (Egretta tula, ciconiform).
The shrub and arboreal vegetation is the home of galliformes, the toucan (Ramphastos toco), and fruit-eating passiformes. Birds frequently seen in the RPPN region were listed in Table 03.
Bird species seen in the region where the RPPN is
REPTILES AND AMPHIBIANS
Among registered snakes there are the bothrops (Bothrops sp.), which occupies areas with denser vegetation, the rattlesnake (Crotalus sp.) and the anaconda (Eunectes murinus), a semi-aquatic species that feeds from small mammals and birds, etc. Other species include the alligator (Paleosuchus sp.) which occupies small ponds, and the iguana (Iguana iguana), that lives in large cerrado trees. Reptiles registered in the RPPN area and neighboring areas were listed in Table 04.
Reptiles registered in the
RPPN area and neighboring areas.