Serra do Mar
Serra do Mar is a 1,500 km long system of mountain range
Mountain range
A mountain range is a single, large mass consisting of a succession of mountains or narrowly spaced mountain ridges, with or without peaks, closely related in position, direction, formation, and age; a component part of a mountain system or of a mountain chain...

s and escarpment
An escarpment is a steep slope or long cliff that occurs from erosion or faulting and separates two relatively level areas of differing elevations.-Description and variants:...

s in Southeastern Brazil
Southeast Region, Brazil
The Southeast Region of Brazil is composed by the states of Espírito Santo, Minas Gerais, Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo. It is the richest region of the country, responsible for approximately 60% of the Brazilian GDP. São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro and Minas Gerais are three richest states of Brazil,...

, which runs in parallel to the Atlantic Ocean
Atlantic Ocean
The Atlantic Ocean is the second-largest of the world's oceanic divisions. With a total area of about , it covers approximately 20% of the Earth's surface and about 26% of its water surface area...

 coast from the state of Espírito Santo
Espírito Santo
Espírito Santo is one of the states of southeastern Brazil, often referred to by the abbreviation "ES". Its capital is Vitória and the largest city is Vila Velha. The name of the state means literally "holy spirit" after the Holy Ghost of Christianity...

 to southern Santa Catarina
Santa Catarina (state)
Santa Catarina is a state in southern Brazil with one of the highest standards of living in Latin America. Its capital is Florianópolis, which mostly lies on the Santa Catarina Island. Neighbouring states are Rio Grande do Sul to the south and Paraná to the north. It is bounded on the east by...

, although some include Serra Geral
Serra Geral
The Serra Geral is a mountain range in southern Brazil, constituting the southern portion of the Serra do Mar system which runs along Brazil's southeastern coast. The Serra Geral runs parallel to the Atlantic coast in Santa Catarina and northern Rio Grande do Sul states, separating a narrow coastal...

 in the Serra do Mar, in which case this range extends to northeastern Rio Grande do Sul
Rio Grande do Sul
Rio Grande do Sul is the southernmost state in Brazil, and the state with the fifth highest Human Development Index in the country. In this state is located the southernmost city in the country, Chuí, on the border with Uruguay. In the region of Bento Gonçalves and Caxias do Sul, the largest wine...

. The main escarpment forms the boundary between the sea-level littoral
The littoral zone is that part of a sea, lake or river that is close to the shore. In coastal environments the littoral zone extends from the high water mark, which is rarely inundated, to shoreline areas that are permanently submerged. It always includes this intertidal zone and is often used to...

 and the inland plateau
In geology and earth science, a plateau , also called a high plain or tableland, is an area of highland, usually consisting of relatively flat terrain. A highly eroded plateau is called a dissected plateau...

 (planalto), which has a mean altitude of 500 to 1300 m (1,640.4 to 4,265.1 ft).

The mountain ranges are discontinuous in several places and receive individual names such as Serra de Bocaina, Serra de Paranapiacaba, Serra Negra
Serra Negra
-External links:...

, Serra do Indaiá, etc. It also extends to some large islands near the coastline, such as Ilhabela and Ilha Anchieta. With an altitude of 2255 metres (7,398.3 ft), Pico da Caledônia in Nova Friburgo
Nova Friburgo
Nova Friburgo is a municipality in the state of Rio de Janeiro in southeastern Brazil. It is located in the northern mountainous region of the state, 136 km from its capital Rio de Janeiro...

 and Cachoeiras de Macacu
Cachoeiras de Macacu
Cachoeiras de Macacu is a municipality located in the Brazilian state of Rio de Janeiro. Its population was 53,765 and its area is 956 km²....

 in Rio de Janeiro
Rio de Janeiro (state)
Rio de Janeiro is one of the 27 states of Brazil.Rio de Janeiro has the second largest economy of Brazil behind only São Paulo state.The state of Rio de Janeiro is located within the Brazilian geopolitical region classified as the Southeast...

 is among the higherst points in Serra do Mar.

Geologically, the range belongs to the massive crystalline rock platform that forms Eastern South America
South America
South America is a continent situated in the Western Hemisphere, mostly in the Southern Hemisphere, with a relatively small portion in the Northern Hemisphere. The continent is also considered a subcontinent of the Americas. It is bordered on the west by the Pacific Ocean and on the north and east...

 and tectonically
Tectonics is a field of study within geology concerned generally with the structures within the lithosphere of the Earth and particularly with the forces and movements that have operated in a region to create these structures.Tectonics is concerned with the orogenies and tectonic development of...

 is very stable. Most of the elevations of Serra do Mar were formed about 60 million years ago.

At the time of discovery of Brazil (1500), Serra do Mar supported a rich and highly diversified ecosystem, composed mainly by a lush tropical rain forest, called Atlantic Forest (Mata Atlântica). Due to urbanization
Urbanization, urbanisation or urban drift is the physical growth of urban areas as a result of global change. The United Nations projected that half of the world's population would live in urban areas at the end of 2008....

 and deforestation
Deforestation is the removal of a forest or stand of trees where the land is thereafter converted to a nonforest use. Examples of deforestation include conversion of forestland to farms, ranches, or urban use....

, however, most of the forest cover was destroyed and it remains almost exclusively in the steep escarpments facing the sea. A chain of national and state park
State park
State parks are parks or other protected areas managed at the federated state level within those nations which use "state" as a political subdivision. State parks are typically established by a state to preserve a location on account of its natural beauty, historic interest, or recreational...

s, ecological stations and biological reserves now protect the Mata Atlântica and its biological heritage, but acid rain
Acid rain
Acid rain is a rain or any other form of precipitation that is unusually acidic, meaning that it possesses elevated levels of hydrogen ions . It can have harmful effects on plants, aquatic animals, and infrastructure. Acid rain is caused by emissions of carbon dioxide, sulfur dioxide and nitrogen...

, pollution
Pollution is the introduction of contaminants into a natural environment that causes instability, disorder, harm or discomfort to the ecosystem i.e. physical systems or living organisms. Pollution can take the form of chemical substances or energy, such as noise, heat or light...

, poacher
Poaching is the illegal taking of wild plants or animals contrary to local and international conservation and wildlife management laws. Violations of hunting laws and regulations are normally punishable by law and, collectively, such violations are known as poaching.It may be illegal and in...

s, clandestine loggers
A lumberjack is a worker in the logging industry who performs the initial harvesting and transport of trees for ultimate processing into forest products. The term usually refers to a bygone era when hand tools were used in harvesting trees principally from virgin forest...

, forest fires and encroachment by urban areas and farms are still promoting active destruction, particularly around cities. Several large metropolises are near the Serra do Mar, including São Paulo and Curitiba
Curitiba is the capital of the Brazilian state of Paraná. It is the largest city with the biggest economy of both Paraná and southern Brazil. The population of Curitiba numbers approximately 1.75 million people and the latest GDP figures for the city surpass US$61 billion according to...


Reforestation is the natural or intentional restocking of existing forests and woodlands that have been depleted, usually through deforestation....

 and recuperation of biological diversity are notoriously difficult to bring about in destroyed rain forest habitats.

See also

  • Geography of Brazil
    Geography of Brazil
    The country of Brazil occupies roughly half of South America, bordering the Atlantic Ocean. Brazil covers a total area of which includes of land and of water. The highest point in Brazil is Pico da Neblina at...

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