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Tropical coast of Brazil
Leão, Z.M.A.N.; Dominguez, J.M.L. (2000). Tropical coast of Brazil, in: Sheppard, C.R.C. (Ed.) Seas at the millennium: an environmental evaluation: 1. Regional chapters: Europe, The Americas and West Africa. pp. 719-729
In: Sheppard, C.R.C. (Ed.) (2000). Seas at the millennium: an environmental evaluation: 1. Regional chapters: Europe, The Americas and West Africa. Pergamon: Amsterdam. ISBN 0-08-043207-7. XXI, 934 pp., more

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Document type: Review


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  • Leão, Z.M.A.N.
  • Dominguez, J.M.L.

    This chapter provides a general overview of the tropical coast of Brazil, with emphasis on the marine realm. The described region extends for approximately 3000 km, and has three different sectors (northern, northeastern and eastern), each one with distinctive characteristics. The north and northeast sectors have a predominantly semi-arid climate, whereas the eastern sector is tropical and humid. Northeasterly trade winds occur mostly in the north sector, but in the northeast and east sectors southeasterly and easterly trade winds are more important. Three factors controlled sedimentation along the coast of tropical Brazil during Late Quaternary time: the sea-level history that played an important role in the evolution of the coastal zone and its related ecosystems over the last 5000 years; the sediment supply that is primarily regulated by the local relief and climate; and the climate itself, which is the major control of the large and active dune fields found in the northern sector. Coral reefs are one of the most prominent marine ecosystems of tropical Brazil, particularly because of the unique character of its low-diversity coral fauna which is rich in endemic species; it is a relic fauna from the Tertiary, which forms unusual mushroom-shaped coral pinnacles. They include the southernmost coral reef communities of the Atlantic, and a small atoll. A transition from siliciclastic dominant sediments on the coastline, to pure carbonates toward the middle and outer shelves, characterises the continental margin of tropical Brazil. Development was generally low until recently due to lack of roads and infrastructure, but new development has led to expansion in the area. Uncontrolled urban development, associated with heavy industrialisation and consequent pollution -uses which are not appropriate for these coastal marine ecosystems- and the accelerated deforestation of the Atlantic Rainforest are, today, the major threats to the tropical Coast of Brazil.

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