Morro de São Paulo
de Sao Paulo's natural environment is extremely
rich, especially considering how old the colony is,
you will find it is very much preserved. A considerable
part of the island still has its original cover, rainforest,
mangroves and riparian forest. Since 1992 Tinharé
and Boipeba compose a nature reserve, although little
has changed as a result. The most altered portions,
aside from the small urban areas, are the coconut palm
tree fields, which were, originally, forest. The first
commercial activity here is a reminder of the origins
of this country: the extraction of Pau Brasil, the tree
that is famous as the origin of the name of the country
of Brazil. Due to this activity, the shoreline occupied
by forest was invaded by coconut trees brought from
India by Portuguese explorers.
Atlantic rainforest is characterized by its enormous
biodiversity. Countless plant species, not only trees,
but lianas, bromeliads, orchids, palm trees and scrub
vegetation. There is also a great variety of insects
and fungi, a considerable number of bird and reptile
species, as well as some small size mammals. Now this
forest has a great number of trails which, once a year
lead the piaçaba collectors to harvest the fiber
of this type of palm tree.
The mangroves, in contrast to the rainforest, are very
poor in plant species. There are four species which
occur worldwide in this environment, and only two occur
here: the red mangrove and the white mangrove. On the
other hand, as a consequence of a great amount of organic
matter, and for receiving salt water, this environment
is a haven for diverse fauna: several species of crabs,
lambretas and oysters (both mollusks), as well as fish.
Many fish species which suffer human consumption spend
much of their early life in the mangroves, hidden from
open water predators.
There is another environment which may, at first, seem
poor but actually is home to a great many species of
animals and plants. The restinga forest shows an array
of physiognomies, ranging from grasses and shrubs to
swamps and low forest. It is also home to many bromeliad
species and is characterized by its direct marine influence.
As for the coconut palm tree fields (coqueirais), although
they have been planted, the ares which have been abandoned
are well integrated to the native environment. Many
animal species use the canopy. It is the easiest place
to spot guaiamun crabs, small monkeys and birds.