Brazil | The Atlantic Forest & Serra do Mar State Park
6 credits, 5 weeks
Summer 2016 (Dates TBD)
Live and learn in one of the most threatened ecosystems on the planet – the Atlantic Forest. Named one of Conservation International’s 25 biodiversity hotspots, the Atlantic Forest is home to over 20,000 species of plants and 2,200 species of mammals, birds, reptiles, and amphibians. The Atlantic Forest contains several different canopies that bolster a rich diversity of vegetation including ferns, mosses, and epiphytes. As a world leader in primate diversity some of the Atlantic Forest’s most iconic species are found nowhere else in the world, including the golden lion tamarin and wooly spider monkey. Threats to the Atlantic Forest include illegal logging and extraction of valuable timber species, land conversion to agriculture, pasture, and forest plantations, and development of urban areas.
SEE-U Brazil allows you to study at the third largest non-governmental organization in Brazil, the Center for Conservation Biology at the Instituto de Pesquisas Ecológicas (IPÊ). Located in Nazaré Paulista, IPÊ comprises more than 60 professionals working on over 30 scientific research projects throughout the region. The Institute is surrounded by a beautiful mosaic of forest, pasture, eucalyptus plantations, and pristine reservoirs which are ideal for scenic hikes, mountain bike riding, swimming, and kayaking. Adjacent to IPÊ is a small organic community farm which provides the great variety of fresh fruits and vegetables used in meals prepared for the SEE-U program.
The two main ecological regions of this biodiversity hotspot are the interior Atlantic Forest, an expanse that borders the foothills of the Serra do Mar into southern Brazil where IPÊ is located, and the coastal Atlantic Forest, a narrow strip of 50-100 kilometers along the Brazilian coast. You will also travel with the SEE-U program and stay in Picinguaba, located within Serra do Mar State Park, where the native vegetation of the forest meets the sand in this largest continuous protected area of the Atlantic Forest. Containing over 40% of all amphibians, birds, reptiles, and mammals in the region, Serra do Mar State Park provides an ideal location for you to study the coastal Atlantic Forest and marine ecosystems of Brazil. There, you will also have the opportunity to explore nearby historic Paraty, a preserved Portuguese colonial and Brazilian Imperial town on the Green Coast of Brazil.