is a sedimentary plain, located on the central region of South
America, covering, in Brazil, an area of 168.000 square kilometers,
in the states of Mato Grosso and Mato Grosso do Sul. Between
the slopes of the central plateau on its eastern, northern and
southern sides and elevations pertaining to the Andean system
to the west.
Geologically, Pantanal can be described as a depression
located in the area of contact between the Brazilian shield
and the Andean system, resulting, according to different authors,
of the fragmentation or erosion of these structures during the
formation of the local relief, begun during Superior Cretaceous
period, about 80 millions of years ago. However, the most relevant
facts that made possible the colonization of the Pantanal by
the flora and fauna observed today happened in the last 30 thousand
years, with the development of its relief, hydrography and increased
The relief presents nowadays modest elevations, round
or elongated, and isolated mounts, temporary or permanent drainage
channels, flooded plains and lakes.
main rivers forming the Pantanal are the Paraguai, Cuiabá
and São Lourenço on its northern part, and the
Taquari, Negro and Miranda on the south
Rains can add up to around 1.400 millimeters a year,
with higher concentration between October and March, and lower
in August and September.
temperature ranges from 24°C to 28°C. The average
of the highest temperatures is 32°C and of the lowest, 20°C.
varies from 80 to 110 meters above sea level.
vegetation is composed of hydrophyte (aquatic), hygrophilous
(temporarily flooded), mesophyte (medium humidity) and xerophyte
(adapted to strong drought) plants, showing a rich mosaic of
forests, savannas and grasslands, presenting excellent conditions
for local fauna observation, specially birds, of which we see
hundreds of species.
The age of archeological sites are estimated in 8 thousand
years located in tall banks of Paraguai river, around lakes
or on mount slopes, and in 2 thousand years the occupation of
floodable areas by indians. In the last 250 years the plain
was occupied by cattle-raising farms, the most expressive cultural
and economic feature in present days.
greater risks to the integrity of the Pantanal ecosystems
are found in the Paraguai river basin, outside the plain. Mechanized
agriculture, through deforestation and erosion, silts the rivers,
enlarging the environmental impacts of big floods and polluting
the water with pesticides and sub-products of alcohol distilleries.
Besides agriculture, gold mining is associated to devastation
and contamination by mercury .