A UNESCO World Heritage Site is a place such as a forest, mountain, lake, desert, monument, building, complex, or city that is listed by the UNESCO as of special cultural or physical significance. The list is maintained by the international World Heritage Programme administered by the UNESCO World Heritage Committee. Each Wednesday we feature a UNESCO world heritage site and today we will take a look at Chapada dos Veadeiros and Emas National Parks in the Cerrado region of Brazil.
The two sites included in the designation contain flora and fauna and key habitats that characterize the Cerrado – one of the world’s oldest and most diverse tropical ecosystems. For millennia, these sites have served as refuge for several species during periods of climate change and will be vital for maintaining the biodiversity of the Cerrado region during future climate fluctuations.
The Chapada dos Veadeiros National Park is part of the highest plain in Central Brazil, with its highest point being the Serra da Santana. The region is of outstanding beauty, and is made up of wide plateaus with waterfalls and crystal clear springs. The uplands give way to deep rocky canyons and valleys. The main watercourse is the Preto River, which flows on a north-west to south-west direction; the northern extremity of the park is drained by the Santana and Bartolomeu rivers.
In the region of the park and its surroundings, three landscape areas can be recognized: the Rio Claro Valley Region is a lowland area, with relatively flat, undulating terrain; the Ridge Region is located in the middle-northern portion of the park, including the Rio Preto, Santana, Capim Branco and upland areas to the south; and the Highlands Region is distributed along the central portion of the park and is characterized by a plain relief pattern with some isolated tabular hills that dot landscape.
The Emas National Park is located in the south-west of Goiás State, close to its border with the Mato Grosso do Sul State; it is part of Serra dos Caiapós plateau. It forms the major water divide between the La Plata to the south and the Amazon to the north. The plateau is a gently rolling plain which descends to the Araguaia basin to the north, to the Jacub-Correntes rivers system to the east and to the Taquarí river and Pantanal complex to the west. The main watercourses inside the National Park are the Jacuba and Formosa rivers and tributaries, both of which drain into Paranaíba River.
Mammals include giant anteater, giant armadillo, maned wolf, jaguar and pampas deer. The avifauna of Emas National Park contains many Cerrado grassland specialists and endemic species. Threatened species include lesser nothura, dwarf tinamou, Brazilian merganser, yellow-faced Amazon, white-winged nightjar, rufous-sided pygmy-tyrant, cineous warbling finch, marsh seedeater and black-masked finch. Bird surveys include black-hawk eagle, ocellated crake, greater rhea, Brazilian merganser and dwarf tinamu.