Baixada Maranhense Environmental Protection Area

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Baixada Maranhense Environmental Protection Area

  • Country: 
  • Site number: 
  • Area: 
    1,775,036 ha
  • Designation date: 
  • Coordinates: 
    03°00'S 44°57'W
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Baixada Maranhense Environmental Protection Area. 29/02/00; Maranhão; 1,775,036 ha; 03°00'S 044°57'W. Extensive low, seasonally flooded coastal lands characterized by fields, gallery forests, mangrove swamps, and lacustrine basins along the northeast coast of Brazil. The site qualifies under all of the representative/uniqueness criteria (new Criterion 1) and most of the biodiversity criteria, including those for waterfowl and fish. The Maranhense coast concentrates large fluvial and fluvial-marine plains and flat lowlands, crossed by canals of brackish water, relatively unaffected by human activity due to a population density of only 26 inhabitants per square km. At certain times, seawater is able to reach far up the rivers, and the area is different from other seasonally flooded parts of the Amazon or perennially flooded areas of the Pantanal because of this marine influence and saline intrusion. The four significant rivers rise annually and flood their banks to fill the many lakes with water for gradual release over time. In the estuaries, mangrove swamps occur by penetrating the narrow natural waterways among the fields up to the limit of tidal influence. During Dec.-June rainy seasons the fields are flooded, leaving small islands called "tesos". Human uses include subsistence agriculture (mainly rice, corn, cassava and beans), fisheries, mineral exploitation of clay and sand, exploitation of plants (especially nuts from the Babaçu), and limited ecotourism. Potential threats include mangrove deforestation and growing urban and industrial development. An "ecological economic zoning project" is under study for implementation in 2000. Ramsar site no. 1020. Most recent RIS information: 2000.

Administrative region: 

  • National legal designation: 
    • Environmental Protection Area
  • Last publication date: 


Ramsar Information Sheet (RIS)