Photos by Carlos Mascaro
"Cerrado" is the regional name given to the Brazilian ecosystem which is similar to savannas. "Cerrado" is formed by vegetal formations of variable aspects and physiognomy, mainly of small and twisted trees that become covered to an exuberant creeping plants.
"The Cerrado is 1,916,900 km² (740,100 sq mi) in size, covering the Brazilian states of Goiás, the Federal District, most of Mato Grosso, Mato Grosso do Sul, and Tocantins, the western portions of Minas Gerais and Bahia, the southern portions of Maranhão and Piauí, small portions of São Paulo, Roraima and Paraná. The Cerrado also extends into northeastern Paraguay and eastern Bolivia. The Cerrado accounts for 22% of Brazil's area, an area the size of Alaska. It is the largest savanna in South America."
"The Cerrado is characterised by an enormous range of plant and animal biodiversity. According to the World Wide Fund for Nature, it is biologically the richest savanna in the world. The region is increasingly threatened by single-crop monoculture plantations (particularly soybeans), the expansion of agriculture in general, and the burning of the vegetation for charcoal."
"The "cerrado" are not homogenous. There is great variation between the amount of woody and herbaceous vegetation, forming a gradient from completely open "cerrado" — open fields dominated by grasses — to the closed, forest-like "cerrado" and the "cerradão" ("big cerrado"), a closed canopy forest. Intermediate forms include the dirty field, the "cerrado" field, and the "cerrado" sensu stricto, according to a growing density of trees."
"The "cerrado" trees have characteristic twisted trunks covered by a thick bark, and leaves which are usually broad and rigid. Many herbaceous plants have extensive roots to store water and nutrients. The plant's thick bark and roots serve as adaptations for the periodic fires which sweep the cerrado landscape. The adaptations protect the plants from destruction and make them capable of sprouting again after the fire."
"Despite the fact that the "cerrado" covers an area equal to that of Western Europe (2 million km²), the cerrado's importance has been overshadowed by its more emotive cousin, the Amazon rainforest."
You can read more about "Cerrado" and also see beautiful photos in this great site.
Click on photos to enlarge