Studies that focus exclusively on PNSG biodiversity are scarce, given that the majority of these studies use data collected from research that took place within in PNAS and surrounding regions of Aparados da Serra Geral.
As previously noted, the region is marked by the heterogeneity of its environmental conditions and by its peculiar geographic location, resulting in remarkable biological diversity. Although the park is small in terms of size, its species' diversity is great.
According to Falkenberg (2003), the first studies documenting Aparados' vegetation were done by Rambo (1948, 1949, 1951, 1953, 1956). Later, Klein (1978 in IBDF, 1984), Baptista et al. (1979 in Falkenberg, 2003), and Pfadenhauer & Boechat (1981, in Falkenberg, 2003) studied vegetation of the Aparados da Serra National Park specifically. In Baptista et al. (1979 in IBDF, 1984), about 635 s plant species were detected in PNAS.
Campo Limpo (grass and formations without trees or shrubs) in Serra Geral National Park
PNSG is located in a region where three kinds of vegetation meet: Araucaria Forest and grassland formations, which occur in the plateau region, and Atlantic forest, which occurs in the coastal plain region and on the steep hillsides.
Due to the plateau height, which is around 1,000 m, the occurrence of the Araucaria Forest is evident, where Araucaria angustifolia, Siphoneugena reitzii, and Wienmania humilis (endemic) are present. Among the species of fauna in the area, the Amazona pretrei (red-spectacled parrot) should be mentioned because of its endangered status.
Araucaria angustifolia plays a fundamental role in the dynamics of several communities included in the park. It is the main species in the arborous community of Araucaria Forest. The seeds--the pinhão--are the staple of several species' diet. Araucaria angustifolia also plays a role in fauna distribution patterns and in the seasonal occurrence of some species of the region (IBDF, 1984).
In the plateau, next to the araucaria forest, there are natural fields with varying characteristics based upon the substratum in which they developed. In areas with well-drained soil, the treeless fields (campo limpo) develop based on an herbaceous-graminoid covering with an apparently homogenous aspect and a height of approximately 80 cm where individuals of the Poaceae family dominate.
In areas where there is net increase of water in the soil, peaty marshes occur. In this environment, the hydric saturation of the soil involves a reduction in speed of the decomposition process of the organic material, which results in thick organic layers in the mineral soil. Individuals of the Cyperaceae and Xyridaceae families are extremely important in the peaty marshes.
There is rupestrian vegetation associated with the rocky outcrop, where the soils are shallower or sometimes nonexistent, and where habitat conditions are much more selective. These environments determine the appearance of species that are adapted to situations of low nutrient availability and are more vulnerabe to factors such as wind and rain. Falkenberg (2003) detected 705 rupestrian species that appeared in the Aparados da Serra Geral region, 61 of these (8.7%) being restricted endemisms.
The Campo Rupestre (rupestrian meadow) in Serra Geral National Park
There are several species of fauna associated with the fields that are threatened by extinction, such as lobo-guará (Chrysocyon brachyurus) and puma (Puma concolor).
The park has one of the last refuges of well-preserved Araucaria Forest and Grassland formations. In other regions with easier access, these have been almost eliminated.
The Atlantic Forest develops on plateau edges and in canyon valleys. The gradient altitude that occurs where the plain changes into plateau results in a series of environmental changes, such as the temperature reduction that accompanies an increase in altitude, increased degradation soil degradation, increased wind speeds and frequency of wind gusts, and the constant presence of clouds in close contact with vegetation. The vegetation naturally reacts to these changes by altering its structure and floristic composition.
In this way, as one climbs from the plain to the plateau, the formations of low montane Atlantic forest, montane and high mountain, or cloud forest can be observed. The peculiarity of the environmental conditions in the highest parts of the scarps is reflected in the occurrence of many endemic species. Falkenberg (2003), studying the nebular woods in the Aparados da Serra Geral region, listed 512 species, from which about 10% are endemic.
The vegetation variation is also accompanied by a great richness of fauna species, although the impact of humans has already eliminated species such as the jaguar (Panthera onca). Species such as the neotropical otter (Lontra longicaudis), ocelot (Leopardus pardalis), brown howler monkey (Alouatta fusca), and crowned eagle (Harpyhaliaetus coronatus) are still present. Although large mammals are not so abundant because of the historical anthropic pressure, species such as the maned wolf (Chrysocyon brachyurus), the leopard cat, and the pampas deer (Ozotocerus bezoarticus) were still found the management plan was developed, mainly in the regions where access to Aparados da Serra National Park is more difficult. Among the vertebrates, only fish seem to be underreprestend, especially in the plateau. This is due to either the constant presence of barriers (waterfalls) or to the oligotrophic watercourses (IBDF, 1984; IBAMA, 1995).
From studies conducted to develop a management plan for Aparados da Serra National Park, at least 143 bird, 48 mammal, and 39 amphibian species were found in the area (Belton, 1975, Breyer, 1978 e Braun et al., 1980 in IBDF, 1984).
Of those species present, at least 17 are on the endangered species lists--the so-called "red list." Of these, eight are animals and nine are plants. The list of endangered species is below.
See Table of Endangered Species (PDF)