The Atlantic Rainforest region stretches from the Atlantic coast of Brazil to Argentina and Paraguay. The region is marked by both tropical and subtropical forests. The entire region receives a great deal of rain on average each year; however, it is not officially considered a "rainforest."
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The Brazilian Atlantic Forest is not, officially, a rainforest like its neighbour, the Amazon Rainforest. In order to be considered a rainforest, an entire region must receive an average monthly rainfall of approximately 100mm. Despite this fact, however, the Atlantic Forest is still often known as the Atlantic Rainforest, and it receives approximately 2,000mm of rain each year. The Atlantic Forest, however, does share some similar characteristics of a rainforest, such as its lush and eclectic vegetation, and humid temperatures.
Types of Forests
The Atlantic Rainforest region is home to several types of forest. Coastal forests -- moist forests marked by evergreen plants and trees -- and inland forests -- with deciduous trees that lose their leaves during the dry season -- are two common forest types. Other types include Montane moist forests and shrubby montane savannahs found at high elevations and characterised by small, shrubby plan life.
The high levels of rainfall in the region contribute to significant biodiversity of both plant and animal life that require consistent and elevated levels of rainfall in order to live and thrive. Much of these species of plant and animal are endemic to the region alone. In one state alone -- Minas Gerais -- there are 750 species of bird. Forest life includes trees, plants, birds, mammals, reptiles, amphibians and fish.
Threats to the Atlantic Rainforest
The Atlantic Rainforest itself and its significant plant and animal life are under threat, including threats to species -- 38 of them -- that are officially on the endangered list. Threats to the forest come from the destruction of the forest itself due to logging ventures and land development. As of May 2011, 93 per cent of the forest has been destroyed, placing significant stress on the remaining 7 per cent of the region.
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