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The Pantanal
Pantanal
(Portuguese pronunciation: [pɐ̃taˈnaw]) is a natural region encompassing the world's largest tropical wetland area. It is located mostly within the Brazilian state of Mato Grosso
Mato Grosso
do Sul, but it extends into Mato Grosso
Mato Grosso
and portions of Bolivia
Bolivia
and Paraguay. It sprawls over an area estimated at between 140,000 and 195,000 square kilometres (54,000 and 75,000 sq mi). Various subregional ecosystems exist, each with distinct hydrological, geological and ecological characteristics; up to 12 of them have been defined (RADAMBRASIL 1982).[1][2][3][4][5] Roughly 80% of the Pantanal
Pantanal
floodplains are submerged during the rainy seasons, nurturing an astonishing biologically diverse collection of aquatic plants and helping to support a dense array of animal species. The name "Pantanal" comes from the Portuguese word pântano, meaning wetland, bog, swamp, quagmire or marsh. By comparison, the Brazilian highlands are locally referred to as the planalto, plateau or, literally, high plain.

Contents

1 Geology, geography and ecology

1.1 Hydrodynamics 1.2 Flora 1.3 Fauna

2 Ecological
Ecological
stability 3 Protected areas 4 Main cities located within the Pantanal
Pantanal
regions 5 In fiction 6 See also 7 References 8 Bibliography 9 External links

Geology, geography and ecology[edit]

The extent of the Pantanal
Pantanal
in Brazil, Bolivia, and Paraguay

The Pantanal
Pantanal
is a huge, gently-sloped basin that receives runoff from the upland areas (the Planalto highlands) and slowly releases the water through the Paraguay
Paraguay
River and tributaries. The formation is a result of the large, concave pre-Andean depression of the earth's crust, related to the Andean orogeny of the Tertiary. It constitutes an enormous internal river delta, in which several rivers flowing from the surrounding plateau merge, depositing their sediments and erosion residues, which have been filling, throughout the years, the large depression area of the Pantanal. This area is also one of the distinct physiographic provinces of the larger Parana- Paraguay
Paraguay
Plain area.[citation needed]

Pantanal
Pantanal
landscape

The Pantanal
Pantanal
is bounded by the Chiquitano dry forests
Chiquitano dry forests
to the west and northwest, by the Arid Chaco
Arid Chaco
dry forests to the southwest, and the Humid Chaco
Humid Chaco
to the south. The Cerrado
Cerrado
savannas lie to the north, east and southeast. The Pantanal
Pantanal
has an average yearly rainfall of 1,000–1,400 mm (39–55 in), but is fed by the upper Paraguay
Paraguay
River. Its average temperature is 25 °C (77 °F), but temperatures can fluctuate from 0 to 40 °C (32 to 104 °F). Hydrodynamics[edit]

Pantanal
Pantanal
in flood condition, with a private fazenda in the background

Floodplain ecosystems such as the Pantanal
Pantanal
are defined by their seasonal inundation and desiccation.[1] They shift between phases of standing water and phases of dry soil, when the water table can be well below the root region.[1] Soils range from high levels of sand in higher areas to higher amounts of clay and silt in riverine areas. Elevation of the Pantanal
Pantanal
ranges from 80 to 150 m (260 to 490 ft) above sea level.[1] Annual rainfall over the flood basin is between 1,000 and 1,500 mm (39 and 59 in), with most rainfall occurring between November and March.[1] In the Paraguay River portion of the Pantanal, water levels rise between two meters to five meters seasonally; water fluctuations in other parts of the Pantanal
Pantanal
are less than this.[1] Flood waters tend to flow slowly (2 to 10 cm (0.79 to 3.94 in) per second[1]) due to the low gradients and high resistance offered by the dense vegetation. When rising river waters first contact previously dry soil, the waters become oxygen-depleted, rendering the water environs anoxic.[1] Many natural fish kills can occur if there are no oxygenated water refuges available (the reason for this remains speculative: it may be due to the growth of toxin-producing bacteria in the deoxygenated water rather than as a direct result of lack of oxygen (McClain 2002)).

Typical dry-land vegetation

Flora[edit] Main article: List of plants of Pantanal
Pantanal
vegetation of Brazil The vegetation of the Pantanal, often referred to as the "Pantanal complex", is a mixture of plant communities typical of a variety of surrounding biome regions: these include moist tropical Amazonian rainforest plants, semiarid woodland plants typical of northeast Brazil, Brazilian cerrado savanna plants and plants of the Chaco savannas of Bolivia
Bolivia
and Paraguay.[1] Forests usually occur at higher altitudes of the region, while grasslands cover the seasonally inundated areas. The key limiting factors for growth are inundation and, even more importantly, water-stress during the dry season.[1] The Pantanal
Pantanal
ecosystem is home to 3500 known plant species.[citation needed] Fauna[edit]

Wikimedia Commons
Wikimedia Commons
has media related to Animals of the Pantanal.

The Pantanal
Pantanal
ecosystem is also thought to be home to 1000 bird species, 400 fish species, 300 mammalian species, 480 reptile species and over 9000 different subspecies of invertebrates. The apple snail is a keystone species in Pantanal's ecosystem. When the wetlands are flooded once a year, the grass and other plants will eventually die and start to decay. During this process, decomposing microbes deplete the shallow water of all oxygen, suffocating larger decomposers. Unlike other decomposing animals, the apple snail have both gills and lungs, making it possible for them to thrive in anoxic waters where they recycle the nutrients. To get oxygen, they extend a long snorkel to the water surface, pumping air into their lungs. This ability allows them to consume all the dead plant matter and turn it into nutritious fertilizer available for the plants in the area. The snails themselves are also food for a variety of animals.[6][7][8] Among the rarest animals to inhabit the wetland of the Pantanal
Pantanal
are the marsh deer (Blastocerus dichotomus) and the giant river otter (Pteroneura brasiliensis). Parts of the Pantanal
Pantanal
are also home to the following endangered or threatened species: the hyacinth macaw (Anodorhyncus hyacinthinus) (a bird endangered due to smuggling), the crowned solitary eagle, the maned wolf (Chrysocyon brachyurus), the bush dog (Speothos venaticus), the South American tapir
South American tapir
(Tapirus terrestris) and the giant anteater (Myrmecophaga tridactyla). Common species in the Pantanal
Pantanal
include the capybara (Hydrochoerus hydrochaeris) and the yacare caiman (Caiman yacare). According to 1996 data, there were 10 million caimans in the Pantanal, making it the highest concentration of crocodilians in the World.[9] The Pantanal
Pantanal
is home to one of the largest and healthiest jaguar (Panthera onca) populations on Earth. Most fish are detritivores, primarily ingesting fine particles from sediments and plant surfaces.[1] This is characteristic of fish living in South American flood-plains in general. Fish
Fish
migration between river channels and flood-plain regions occurs seasonally.[1] These fish have many adaptations that allow them to survive in the oxygen-depleted flood-plain waters.[1] In addition to the caiman, some of the reptiles that inhabit the Pantanal
Pantanal
are the yellow anaconda (Eunectes notaeus), the gold tegu (Tupinambis teguixin), the red-footed tortoise (Geochelone carbonaria) and the green iguana (Iguana iguana).

Lowland tapir

Hyacinth macaws

Giant anteater

Pantanal
Pantanal
jaguar

Capybaras

Marsh deer

Yacare caiman

Black howler
Black howler
monkeys

Southern tamandua

Southern crested caracara

Lesser yellow-headed vulture

Ecological
Ecological
stability[edit] The Pantanal
Pantanal
region includes essential sanctuaries for migratory birds, critical nursery grounds for aquatic life, and refuges for such creatures as the yacare caiman, deer, and Pantanal
Pantanal
jaguar.[10] The main human activities which threaten the Pantanal
Pantanal
ecosystems are:

Commercial fishing: Fishing is focused on only a few species and is probably not sustainable.[1] National and international sport fishing: The Paraguay
Paraguay
river and its tributaries are the main focus for fishing activities.[1] Cattle-ranching:

Approximately 99% of the land in the Pantanal
Pantanal
is privately owned for the purpose of agriculture and ranching.[11] There are 2500 fazendas in the region and up to eight million cattle.[12] Erosion and sedimentation caused by this activity alter the soil and hydrological characteristics of Pantanal
Pantanal
flood-plain ecosystems; consequently, native species are threatened by the change in ecosystem variables.[11]

Hunting, poaching, and smuggling of endangered species:[13] Reptile, wild cat and parrot species are particularly at risk from the smuggling industry due to their high value on the black market. Uncontrolled tourism and overuse of natural resources Deforestation

Deforestation is more relevant to elevated areas of the Pantanal
Pantanal
which contain forest stands than lowland grassy areas.[1] Silt
Silt
run-off from deforested highlands alters soil hydrology and is a significant threat to the Pantanal.[10]

Pollution from gold mining operations and agro-industry [11]

The Pantanal
Pantanal
is a natural water treatment system as it removes chemicals, including pollutants, from water. Overpollution from industrial development (especially gold mining) can harm native flora and fauna. However, water quality in the Pantanal
Pantanal
was not significantly impacted as of 2002.[1]

Pollution from sewage systems and pesticides [13] Infrastructure development (shipping canals, raised roads, pipelines):[11] The proposed plan to dredge the Paraguay
Paraguay
and Paraná Rivers to allow oceangoing ships to travel 3,442 kilometres (2,139 mi) inland is of particular concern and could affect the hydrology (flooding and drainage cycles) of the region, and therefore impact the ecosystem.[13][14]

Protected areas[edit]

Hotel SESC Porto Cercado in the SESC Reserve

A portion of the Pantanal
Pantanal
in Brazil
Brazil
has been protected as the Pantanal Matogrossense National Park. This 1,350 square kilometres (520 sq mi) park, established in September 1981, is located in the municipality of Poconé
Poconé
in the State of Mato Grosso, between the mouths of the Baía de São Marcos and the Gurupi Rivers. The park was designated a Ramsar Site of International Importance under the Ramsar Convention
Ramsar Convention
on May 24, 1993. The SESC Pantanal
Pantanal
Private Natural Heritage Reserve (Reserva Particular do Patrimonio Natural SESC Pantanal) is a privately owned reserve in Brazil, established in 1998 and 878.7 km2 (339.3 sq mi) in size. It is located in the north-eastern portion, known as "Poconé" Pantanal, not far from the Pantanal
Pantanal
National Park. It is a mix of permanent rivers, seasonal streams, permanent and seasonal floodplain freshwater lakes, shrub-dominated wetlands and seasonally flooded forests, all dedicated to nature preservation, and was designated a Ramsar Site of International Importance under the Ramsar Convention. Otuquis National Park and Integrated Management Natural Area
Otuquis National Park and Integrated Management Natural Area
is a national park of Bolivia
Bolivia
in the Pantanal. The entrance to Otuquis National park is through the town of Puerto Suarez. Main article: Otuquis National Park and Integrated Management Natural Area Main cities located within the Pantanal
Pantanal
regions[edit]

Miranda, Mato Grosso
Mato Grosso
do Sul Aquidauana, Mato Grosso
Mato Grosso
do Sul Barão de Melgaço, Mato Grosso Bodoquena, Mato Grosso
Mato Grosso
do Sul Bonito, Mato Grosso
Mato Grosso
do Sul Cáceres, Mato Grosso Corumbá, Mato Grosso
Mato Grosso
do Sul Coxim, Mato Grosso
Mato Grosso
do Sul Ladário, Mato Grosso
Mato Grosso
do Sul Poconé, Mato Grosso.

In fiction[edit]

Pantanal
Pantanal
appears as a natural wonder in the strategy game Civilization 6. John Grisham's novel The Testament largely takes place in the Pantanal. Pantanal
Pantanal
is the title of a Brazilian-produced telenovela whose setting is the Brazilian Pantanal. The Jack McKinney Robotech novel Before the Invid Storm makes reference to former soldiers of the Army of the Southern Cross called the Pantanal
Pantanal
Brigade by the character Major Alice Harper Argus. The Twilight Saga: The Amazon Coven: "The Amazon coven consists of three sisters, Kachiri, Zafrina, and Senna, all natives of the Pantanal
Pantanal
wetlands."[15]

See also[edit]

Wetlands portal

Southern jaguar Iberá Wetlands

References[edit]

^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q McClain, Michael E. (2002). The Ecohydrology of South American Rivers and Wetlands. International Association of Hydrological
Hydrological
Sciences. ISBN 1-901502-02-3. Retrieved 2008-08-31.  ^ Susan Mcgrath, photos by Joel Sartore, Brazil's Wild Wet, National Geographic Magazine, August 2005 ^ Keddy, Paul; Fraser, Lauchlan (2005). The World's Largest Wetlands: Ecology and Conservation. Cambridge University Press. Retrieved 2008-08-31.  ^ Rhett A. Butler. "Pantanal, the world's largest wetland, disappearing finds new report". mongabay.com. Retrieved 2006-01-10.  ^ "The World's largest wetland". The Nature Conservancy. Archived from the original on 2008-01-23. Retrieved 2008-01-21.  ^ Fellerhoff C (2002). "Feeding and growth of apple snail Pomacea lineata in the Pantanal
Pantanal
wetland, Brazil--a stable isotope approach". Isotopes Environ Health Stud. 38: 227–43. doi:10.1080/10256010208033268. PMID 12725426.  ^ "Apple Snail: Unlikely Hero of the Pantanal". Nature Box. Archived from the original on 1 June 2016. Retrieved 9 September 2016.  ^ " BBC
BBC
Two - Secrets of our Living Planet, Waterworlds, Enter the apple snail". BBC. 1 July 2012. Retrieved 9 September 2016.  ^ Frederick A. Swarts 2000, p. 7. ^ a b Willink, Philip W. (2000). A Biological Assessment of the Aquatic Ecosystems of the Pantanal. University of Texas. Retrieved 2008-08-31.  ^ a b c d Brendle, Anna (January 10, 2003). "Behind Threats to World's Largest Freshwater Wetland". National Geographic News. pp. 1–2. Retrieved August 23, 2011.  ^ Araras Eco Lodge. " Pantanal
Pantanal
- Brazil's undiscovered wilderness". Ladatco Tours. Retrieved 2008-01-22.  ^ a b c "Pantanal". Terrestrial Ecoregions. World Wildlife Fund. Retrieved August 23, 2011.  ^ Gunther, Michel. "The Threats of Dams and Navigation Infrastructure on La Plata". 10 Rivers most at Risk. WWF. Retrieved August 23, 2011.  ^ The Twilight Saga: The Official Illustrated Guide p. 185.

Bibliography[edit]

Frederick A. Swarts (2000), "The Pantanal
Pantanal
of Brazil, Paraguay
Paraguay
and Bolivia: Selected Discourses on the World's Largest Remaining Wetland System : Selected Papers and Addresses from the World Conference on Preservation and Sustainable Development in the Pantanal", Indiana University, Hudson MacArthur Publishers, ISBN 978-0-9675946-0-6 

External links[edit]

Wikivoyage has a travel guide for Pantanal.

Wikimedia Commons
Wikimedia Commons
has media related to: Pantanal
Pantanal
(category)

Pantanal
Pantanal
maps and tourist information for the region Pantanal
Pantanal
Nature provides information on wildlife in the Pantanal through their facebook page World Conference on Preservation and Sustainable Development in the Pantanal Ramsar Convention
Ramsar Convention
- Pantanal
Pantanal
National Park Information Sheet Ramsar Convention
Ramsar Convention
- Pantanal
Pantanal
Private Reserve Information Sheet Pressure on the Pantanal
Pantanal
article discussing development pressure on the Pantanal
Pantanal
by Roderick Eime Brazil's other great wilderness Guardian travel article, September 10, 2005. World's largest wetland under threat Planet Ark article, January 13, 2006 Patanal Bird Checklist Guidelines for the Coexistence between People and Jaguars[permanent dead link] - illustrated guide for free download (in Portuguese and Spanish).

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Physical geography

Atmospheric science
Atmospheric science
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Biogeography
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Climatology
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Paleoclimatology
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Coastal geography
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Edaphology
/ Pedology or Soil science Geobiology Geology Geomorphology Geostatistics Glaciology Hydrology
Hydrology
/ Limnology Landscape ecology Quaternary science

v t e

Regions and States of Brazil

North

Acre Amapá Amazonas Pará Rondônia Roraima Tocantins

Northeast

Alagoas Bahia Ceará Maranhão Paraíba Pernambuco Piauí Rio Grande do Norte Sergipe

Center-West

Distrito Federal Goiás Mato Grosso Mato Grosso
Mato Grosso
do Sul

Southeast

Espírito Santo Minas Gerais Rio de Janeiro São Paulo

South

Paraná Rio Grande do Sul Santa Catarina

Fernando de Noronha Rocas Atoll Saint Peter and Saint Paul Trindade and Martim Vaz

v t e

World Heritage Sites in Brazil

North Region

Central Amazon Conservation Complex

Northeast Region

Brazilian Atlantic Islands Fernando de Noronha
Fernando de Noronha
and Atol das Rocas Reserves Discovery Coast Atlantic Forest
Atlantic Forest
Reserves1 Historic Centre of São Luís Historic Centre of Salvador de Bahia Historic Centre of the Town of Olinda São Francisco Square
São Francisco Square
in São Cristóvão Serra da Capivara National Park

Central-West Region

Brasília Cerrado
Cerrado
Protected Areas Chapada dos Veadeiros and Emas National Park Historic Centre of the Town of Goiás Pantanal
Pantanal
Conservation Area

Southeast Region

Atlantic Forest
Atlantic Forest
South-East Reserves1 Discovery Coast Atlantic Forest
Atlantic Forest
Reserves1 Historic Centre of the Town of Diamantina Historic Town of Ouro Preto Pampulha Modern Ensemble, Minas Gerais Rio de Janeiro: Carioca Landscapes between the Mountain and the Sea Sanctuary of Bom Jesus do Congonhas Valongo Wharf
Valongo Wharf
Archaeological Site

South Region

Atlantic Forest
Atlantic Forest
South-East Reserves1 Iguaçu National Park Jesuit Missions of the Guaranis2 Ruins of São Miguel das Missões

1 Shared with other region/s 2 Sha

.