The Wetland Book pp 1569-1575 | Cite as

Brazilian Wetlands: Classification

  • Wolfgang J. JunkEmail author
  • Maria T. F. Piedade
  • Jochen Schoengart
  • Florian Wittmann
  • Catia Nunes da Cunha
Reference work entry


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.


Brazilian Wetlands Definition Delimitation Classification 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V., part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Wolfgang J. Junk
    • 1
    Email author
  • Maria T. F. Piedade
    • 2
  • Jochen Schoengart
    • 3
  • Florian Wittmann
    • 3
  • Catia Nunes da Cunha
    • 1
  1. 1.Instituto Nacional de Ciencia e Technologia em Areas Umidas (INCT-INAU)CuiabáBrazil
  2. 2.Instituto Nacional de Pesquisas da Amazonia (INPA)ManausBrazil
  3. 3.Biogeochemistry DepartmentMax Planck Institute for ChemistryMainzGermany

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