The Serra do Brigadeiro mountains
The Serra do Brigadeiro State Park shelters the most important remnant of seasonal semi-deciduous Atlantic Forest in the state of Minas Gerais, it’s part of the UN Biosphere Reserve, and better still, it’s right on Iracambi’s doorstep! The park’s craggy mountains and deep ravines protect an extraordinary range of biodiversity, including the largest known population of Brachyteles hypoxanthus, the Wooly Spider or muriqui monkey.
The forests shelter a great variety of endangered animal and plant species, some of which are still unknown to science. The Park’s ecosystem is rich in plant species such as bromeliads, peroba, ipê, orchids, candeias, jequitibas, canjaranas and palms. The mists that cover the peaks and Alpine pastures for much of the year provide ideal conditions for creating an ecosystem rich in orquids, ferns, bromeliads, different varieties of grass, shrubs and cactus.
Among the variety of fauna in the State Park are puma, jaguaritica, wild pig, deer, wild dog, banded anteaters, squirrels, sloths, masked titi monkeys, and marmosets. Eleven separate groups of muriqui have been found in the area. A paradise for birders, its extensive list includes the dusky legged guan, the maroon bellied parakeet, the yellow bellied toucan and the bare-throated bellbird.
History of the park
The idea of creating a park in the Serra do Brigadeiro mountain range dates back to the 1980s. In the early 1990s a proposal was made to include all the land above 1000 m, covering an area of 33,000 ha. This met with considerable resistance from family farmers living in the region, and there began a process of debate as to the best way of preserving the forest without endangering the livelihoods of the smallholders.
As a result of these discussions the park boundaries were defined as the core conservation area of 13,000 ha, later extended to 15,000 ha. The mission of the park is to protect the natural heritage of the Atlantic Rainforest in the Serra do Brigadeiro, whilst facilitating scientific research, education and ecotourism, and contributing towards the development of communities in the area.
It’s a privilege for Iracambi to be located so close to the park, and we do all we can to support park staff in their efforts to care for the environment and win hearts and minds among the local community. For many years we have played an active role in the advisory board of the park, and we are committed to protect and expand the area of protected forest in which we are lucky enough to live.