Brazilian Wetlands: Classification
Brazil contains a large number and variety of wetlands. Pronounced wet and dry seasons lead to strong fluctuations in the water levels of streams and rivers. Riparian zones and large river-floodplains as well as poorly drained, extended, flat interfluvial areas are periodically flooded and dry according to the precipitation pattern. A definition of wetlands is proposed. Basing on the floodpulse concept, the outer wetland borders are defined according to the mean maximum flood level.
The wetland delimitation also includes permanent terrestrial macrohabitats as intrinsic parts of large wetlands, essential for the maintenance of their ecological integrity and biodiversity. The peculiar hydrological conditions in the wetlands account for the conflicting positions of the different stake holders. The new Brazilian Forest Code (Federal Law no. 12.561/12), responding to the pressure of agrobusiness and planners, defines the protected area of wetlands depending on the width of the river channel at the “regular water level.” As a result, large parts of the fringing floodplains and riparian zones are unprotected. The destruction of the wetlands will have dramatic economic and social consequences for the people, living in and around the wetlands because of the reduction of the hydrological buffer capacity of the river-wetland systems. Furthermore, the diversity of macrohabitats inside the wetlands and the related biodiversity will be destroyed. A hierarchical wetland classification system, based on hydrological parameters and higher plants, has been proposed and a macrohabitat classification of major wetland systems has been elaborated to provide a scientific basis for the sustainable management and protection of Brazilian wetlands.
KeywordsBrazilian Wetlands Definition Delimitation Classification
- Bhowmik NG, Stall JB. Hydraulic geometry and carrying capacity of floodplains. Research report 145 UI LU-WRC-0145. Champaign: University of Illinois Water Resources Center; 1979. 147 p.Google Scholar
- Brinson MM. A hydrogeomorphic classification for wetlands. Technical Report WRP-DE-4. Vicksburg, MS: US Army Engineer Waterways Experiment Station; 1993.Google Scholar
- Cowardin LM, Carter V, Golet FC, LaRoe ET. Classification of wetlands and deepwater habitats of the United States. Washington, DC: US Department of the Interior, Fish and Wildlife Service; 1979.Google Scholar
- Junk WJ, Bayley PB, Sparks RE. The flood pulse concept in river–floodplain-systems. Can Spec Publ Fish Aquat Sci. 1989;106:110–27.Google Scholar
- Junk WJ, Piedade MTF, Lourival R, Wittmann F, Kandus P, Lacerda LD, Bozelli RL, Esteves FA, Nunes da Cunha C, Maltchick L, Schoengart J, Schaeffer-Novelli Y. Brazilian wetlands: Definition, delineation and classification for sustainable management and protection. Aquat Conserv Mar Freshwat Ecosyst. 2014;24:5–22.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Junk WJ, Sousa PT, Nunes da Cunha C, Piedade MTF, Candotti E. Inundações catastróficas e deslizamento de barrancos em Minas Gerais e o novo Código florestal. Jornal da Ciência, Sociedade Brasileira para o Progresso da Ciência; 2012b. Available from: http://www.jornaldaciencia.org/br/Detalhe.jsp?id=81006
- Mitsch WJ, Gosselink JG. Wetlands. Hoboken: Wiley; 2008.Google Scholar
- Nunes da Cunha C, Junk WJ. A preliminary classification of habitats of the Pantanal of Mato Grosso and Mato Grosso do Sul, and its relation to national and international classification systems. In: WJ J, CJ d S, da Cunha C N, KM W, editors. The Pantanal: Ecology, biodiversity and sustainable management of a large neotropical seasonal wetland. Sofia/Moscow: Pensoft; 2011. p. 127–42.Google Scholar
- Piedade MTF, Junk WJ, Sousa PT, da Cunha C N, Schöngart J, Wittmann F, Candotti E, Girard P. As áreas úmidas no âmbito do Código Florestal brasileiro. In: Comitê Brasil em Defesa das Florestas e do Desenvolvimento Sustentável, editor. Código Florestal e a ciência: o que nossos legisladores ainda precisam saber. Sumários executivos de estudos científicos sobre impactos do projeto de Código Florestal. Brasília: Comitê Brasil; 2012. p. 9–17.Google Scholar