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National Parks and State Parks

Tip: visit the website Brazil4x4 for more information about protected areas in Brazil. The information below covers the state of Tocantins.

National Parks

  • Parque Nacional do Araguia

State Parks

  • Parque Estadual do Cantão
  • Parque Estadual do Jalapão
  • Parque Estadual do Lajeado

Natural Monument

  • Monumento Natural das Àrvores Fossilizadas do Estado do Tocantins

Area of Environmental Protection (APA)

  • Ilha do Bananal Cantão
  • Nascentes de Araguaína
  • Foz do Rio Santa Tereza
  • Lago de Peixe / Angical
  • Lago de Palmas
  • Jalapão
  • Serra do Lajeado

Reserva Particular do Patrimonio Natural (RPPN)

  • Fazenda Minnehaha – located at Almas, 745 hectares
  • Reserva Bela Vista – located at Palmas, 113,61 hectares
  • Sítio Ecológico Monte Santo – located at Palmas, 52,73 hectares
  • Água Bonita – located at Abreulândia, 127,95 hectares

Brazil is characterized by a complex system of conservation units. As a matter of fact, 2,61% of the national territory is covered by strict protected areas and 5,52% by areas dedicated to sustainable development, for a total of 8,13% of the national territory. However, this figure is slightly overestimated, since many areas of environmental protection (APAs) include one or more conservation units dedicated to indirect use.
The conservation units managed by Instituto Brasileiro de Meio Ambiente e dos Recursos Naturais Renovaveis (IBAMA) cover approximately 45 million hectares and include about 256 conservation units of direct or indirect use, among which Areas of Environmental Protection, Biological Reserves, Ecological Stations, National Forests, Areas of Considerable Ecological Interest, National Parks, several Natural Heritage Private Reserves, and Wildlife Sanctuaries.

Main Categories of Protected Areas

Full text in Portuguese:http://www.seplan.to.gov.br/

APA – Área de Proteção Ambiental / Area of Environmental Protection: it is a rather large area characterized by a considerable population density and with abiotic, biotic, aesthetic, or cultural features of great importance, above all for the quality of life and well-ness of man. Protecting biological diversity, regulating the settlement processes, and ensuring the sustainable use of natural resources are among its main aims.

Refugio da Vida Silvestre / Wildlife Sanctuary: this protected area aims at protecting the natural environments ensuring the conditions for the survival and reproduction of species or communities belonging to the local flora and to resident or migratory fauna.

Reserva Biológica / Biological Reserve: it aims at strictly safeguarding the natural aspects within its borders, avoiding direct human interference or environmental changes, through measures to recover altered ecosystems and management actions necessary to recover or maintain the natural balance, biological diversity, and natural ecological processes.

Estação Ecológica / Ecological Station: it aims at safeguarding nature and carrying out scientific research activities.

Parques Nacional (Estadual / Municipal) / National Park: it aims at preserving natural ecosystems of great beauty and ecological importance, giving the opportunity to carry out scientific research activities or developing environmental education and interpretation activities, as well as promoting recreational activities at direct contact with nature and ecological tourism.

ARIE – As Áreas de Relevante Interesse Ecológico / Area of Considerable Ecological Interest: not very large area, with a scarce population density and extraordinary natural features of great importance at a regional and local level.

RDS – Reserva de Desenvolvimento Sustentável / Sustainable Development Reserve: natural area including traditional populations whose existence is based on sustainable systems of exploitation of the natural resources which have been developed generation after generation and adapted to local ecological conditions. They play an essential role in the protection of nature and maintenance of biological diversity.

Araguaia National Park

The extensive sedimentary plain which occupies the northern part of Bananal Island -the largest river island in the world was formed in the quaternary period and is seasonally flooded by the Araguaia and Javaes Rivers. The weather is hot, with rains more frequent from November to March and higher temperatures from September to October. It is irrigated by many rivers, springs and lakes, which overflow during the rainy season and flood the island.
The only part which is not affected is the Torrão area; where the Park’s headquarters are. The landscape has the features of the Cerrado (a type of open forest formed by stunted, twisted trees), Pantanal (marshy lowlands in the state of Mato Grosso, with a typical flora and fauna), and Amazonian Rain Forest ecosystems, as well as transition zones among these environments.
Fields that can be flooded, or varjões, predominate, but there are features of the cerradão, riverine forests, dryland forests and igapó forests (a kind of temporarily inundated forest).
Along the rivers, during the dry season, long white sandy beaches appear. In areas that are flooded, tllere are Piassava and Buriti palms;
in the forests trees that stand out are Cow trees, Canchara Cabraleas, Tabebuias, Pau-terra, Black Sweetwood, and Genipap, which is used by the Karaja Indians in rituals or festivals to paint their skin. In the Cerrado, the Souari Nut tree and the Pau-d’alho are common, together with many species of grasses.
The fauna is highly diversified with species such as Marsh Deer, Capybara, Herons and Egrets, all of which are linked to flooded environments.
Mammals that stand out are the Great Anteater, Maned Wolf, Jaguar, Giant Otter, Armadillo, Deer and Peccary. Common birds are Toco Toucan, Water Turkey, American Ostrich, Quail, Partridge, Fish Hawks and Orinoco Geese.
There are also Blue Macaws, typical of the Pantanal, Hoatzins, and Musician Wren which are typical of the Amazon. Among reptile species that are prominent there are South America Anacondas, Paraguay Caymans, Black Caymans, and Arraus, which lay their eggs on the beaches of the Javaes River in August and September.
In the waters, Pink River and Tucuxi Dolphins swim among Piranha, Stingrays,  Poraques, Pacus, Pirarucus or Pirosca, Tucunares, Curimatas and Surubins.

History
The Karaja Indians, who were probably the original inhabitants of the region, first had contact with Europeans back in 1658 via theJesuit missionaries from Para. The next record is of the bandeirantes in the middle of the 18th century. The bandeirantes from Sao Paulo were thus called because they were members of armed bands called bandeiras, who entered the backwoods to enslave Indians and prospect for precious minerals. They moved along the rivers and, as the Karaja Indians have always lived on the banks of the Araguaia River, they ended up having contact with the white and half-bred men trying to occupy their territory.
Despite long contact with civilized men, they still preserve their native language and customs such as the making of handicrafts, body painting, family fishing and rituals. They live in 21 villages along the rivers and lakes in the region.
In 1773, when bandeirante Jose Pinto Fonseca was exploring and searching for Indians to enslave in the area, he discovered that he was actually on an island and called it Santa’ Anna. Its name was later changed to Bananal Island.
The idea of creating a conservation unit in the region was first proposed at the end of the 19th century by Andre Rebouyas, an engineer who supported the international trend of creating national parks. However, the Park only came into being in 1959, when its area enveloped all of the island of Bananal. Because of problems with the
Indian communities, the Park had its limits changed and now, in the northern part of the island, it has 1/4 of the original area. It includes the Inawebohona Indian land and borders the Araguaia Indian Park, where the Karaja, Javae and Ava-Canoeiro live.
Even today, the conservation unit faces problems as cattle grazing, predatory fishing, gathering of Arrau eggs, hunting, pressure for roads to be built across the Park, fires caused by farmers, and conflict with the Indian population.

Karaja
According to the Karaja Indians, they are descendants of the Berahatxi Mahadu people, who lived in a cold and small place, at the bottom of the River. One day, a curious young man found a way to the surface, which led him to Bananal Island. He was delighted with the beauty of the beaches and with the vastness of the place. He called the other Karaja Indians, who also came to the surface. There they lived happily for some time. but soon had contact with disease and death and decided to return to the bottom of the river. However, the passage
was blocked by a huge snake. Thus they spread throughout the Araguaia, discovering its diversity and fish, learning how to grow crops with the Biu Mahadu people. Today, for this reason, they live from fishing and small crops. Apart from these economic activities, they sell handicrafts.

Highlights

Amazonian Chelonians Project
Established in the Park since 1985, it aims at protecting the Arrau, or Amazonian Turtle, which lays its eggs in the beaches the region. The project is developed at the junction of the Javaes and Araguaia Rivers.

Araguaia River
It is possible to sail nearly the whole extension of the main river. From June to September, nice white sandy beach appear along the river.

Javaes River
This small arm of the Araguaia is another natural border of the Bananal Island, which forms nice beaches during the dry season. Good for a dip.

Merces River
The main attraction of this river are the clean beaches without vegetation.

Araguaia Indian Park
Necessary to get a permit with Funai (Indian Affairs Bureau) to visit the Indian Park, where you will be able to
have contact with the Indians and their customs. In the villages, it is possible to buy ceramics handicraft and basketry.
Information: Phone (65) 522-1155.

Beaches
During the dry season, from June to September, the long golden sand beaches of the Araguaia and Javaes Rivers are good for relaxing and walking. You can also go canoeing, with a permit of the bureau for environmental affairs, Ibama.

Boat Rides
Boat rides allow you to see some of the exuberant local fauna. Don’t miss the sunset on the river bank.

Fishing
The Araguaia River is famous for its abounding fish.
Canguyu, on the Javaes River, and Sao Felix do Araguaia, on the Araguaia River, are places with good facilities for fishing. It is necessary to get a permit from Ibama.

To visit
Access: Not open for visitation.
Address: Aane 20, conj. 03, lote 02, Palmas, TO, 77054-010.
Phones: (63) 215-2023 and (65) 558-1138.

How to get there
There is an airstrip in Santa Terezinha, near the Park’s headquarters.
By car from Palmas: take the TO-447 road towards Paraiso do Tocantins, then BR-153, up to Nova Rosalandia. From this city, take TO-255 to Lagoa da Confusão. It is paved all the way.
From Lagoa to Barreira da Cruz, which is on the Javaes river and the Park’s limits, it is around 60 km on a dirt road. It is also possible to go via Santa Terezinha, in the state of Mato Grosso.

Infra-structure
Headquarters, dirt I roads linking the main points and the

Tips

  • The best time to visit the Park is from May to September, when it rains less and the river beaches appear.
  • Camping on the beaches around the Park is a good option to get to know the rivers and beaches of the region: take your tent and gear. It is not permitted to camp in the Park.
  • Boat riders are excellent guides: they know where animals can be spotted and, in case of fishing, they know the best pIaces in the rivers, outside the Park though.
  • Take care with Stingrays buried in the sand along the rivers. Shuffle in the sand to prevent stepping on them and getting stung by their tail.

Services at Lagoa da Confusao
Useful Addresses
City Hall. Rua Firmino Lacerda, 15. Phone: 364-1148.
Bus station. Rua João M. de AJencar, Phone: 364-1179.
Post Office. Rua Firmino Lacerda, 15. Phone: 364-1148. At the City Hall.
Hospital. Av. Vicente Barbosa, sinO. Ambulatory. Rua Firrnino Lacerda, Phone: 364-1276.
Bank. Do Brasil.
Support for the Visitor Tourist Bureau. Rua Filismino de Souza, Phone: 364-1271.
Lodging
Lagoa da Ilha. Rua Neusa Ribeiro, Phone: 364-1110. 20 rooms, air conditioning, swimming pools, water slides multi-sport court, bar, parking lot.
Pedra. Rua principal, Phone: 364-1132. 6 rooms, fans.
Pousada Lady Pleo. Av. Raimundo Filismino de Souza, Phone: 364-1118. 15 rooms, air conditioning, tv, frigobar, tel, parking lot
Real. Av. Vicente Barbosa, 7. Phone/fax: 364-1158. 8 rooms, tv, ai conditioning, parking lot.
Dining
Lagoa da Dha. Rua Lagoa da Jlha. Phone: 364-1110. Varied menu.
Pizzaria da Pedra. Rua Principal, Phone: 364-1132. Pizza.
Churrascaria da Lagoa. Na beira da lagoa. Phone: 364-1108. Meat and fish.

Cantão State Park
Located in the Brazilian state of Tocantins, this state protected area is just where the Amazon Rain Forest begins, showing the transition between the Cerrado ecosystem (a savanna-like ecosystem in middle of Brazil ) and the rainforest. This is a new Park and even Brazilians don’t know it very well. Also, this is one of the few protected areas that actually have tourist infrastructure. To visit this park you should go to the Tocantins state capital Palmas.
http://www.terra.com.br/istoe
http://www2.uol.com.br/caminhosdaterra/reportagens/149_araguaia.shtml

http://www.folhadomeio.com.br/publix/fma/noticias/noticias1178.html

Parque Estadual do Jalapão
Jalapão, practically unspoiled, is situated in the middle of the vast Serra Geral with its clear rivers, beaches and unspoiled natural surroundings. Jalapao stands alone in the west of the recently formed, sparsely populated state of Tocantins and covers an area of 34,113 square kilometres (21,196 square miles). The area is known as the Jalapão desert but, in fact, it is a large oasis because of the springs and brooks found amongst the sandy soil, flowing down the Tocantins river valley, forming beautiful waterfalls and rapids that provide living conditions for diverse fauna and flora. The park’s location is also a transition area between the “caatinga” (dry, stunted brushwood) area and the “cerrado” (woody pasture).
http://www.ecoviagem.com.br/

http://www1.folha.uol.com.br/folha/turismo/noticias/ult338u2517.shtml

Parque Estadual do Lajeado
O Parque Estadual do Lajeado tem como objetivo principal proteger amostras dos ecossistemas da Serra do Lajeado, assegurando a preservação de sua flora, fauna e demais recursos naturais, características geológicas, geomorfológica, e cênicas, proporcionando oportunidades controladas para visitação, educação e pesquisa científica. Também tem a finalidade de proteger os mananciais que abastecem a cidade e coibir a expansão urbana nas encostas. Foi criado pelo governo Estadual, através da lei n° 1.244, em maio de 2001.

Monumento Natural das Àrvores Fossilizadas do Estado do Tocantins
Localizado no município de Filadélfia,criado através da lei n° 1.179 de outubro de 2000, o Monumento Natural tem 32.152 hectares.Seu objetivo principal é proteger uma raridade da paleobotânica: árvores fossilizadas! Resistindo à depredação, ao abandono das autoridades e ao descaso dos próprios moradores, este local encravado no interior do Estado abriga informações sobre uma das mais importantes transformações geológicas.

Acredita-se que a petrificação dessas árvores data do período triásico da era mesozóica, há 180 a 225 milhões de anos.Na localidade, para encontrá-las, não é necessário escavar ou fazer grande esforço para localizar um ou outro exemplar. A erosão superficial ocorrida acabou resultando em afloramentos, deixando expostos pedaços de troncos de árvores em meio ao cerrado e nas pastagens das propriedades ocupadas pelo Monumento.

http://www.curupira.org.br/www/Noticias/Outubro_2004/artigo_out04_1.htm

APA Ilha do Bananal Cantão
Com o objetivo de proteger a biodiversidade e disciplinar o processo de ocupação assegurando a sustentabilidade do ambiente e funcionar como zona de amortecimento para o Parque Estadual do Cantão ,com uma área de 1.687.000 hectares foi criada pelo governo estadual a APA Ilha do Bananal/Cantão, lei n° 907 de 20/05/1997 englobando os seguintes municípios: Abreulandia, Araguacema, Caseara,Chapada de Areia, Divinópolis, Dois Irmãos, Marianópolis, Monte Santo e Pium. O Plano de Gestão da APA foi elaborado e está sendo implementado.

APA Nascentes de Araguaína
APA das Nascentes de Araguaína, criada pelo Governo do Estado do Tocantins no município de Araguaína , tem aproximadamente 16 mil hectares, ocupando uma área de remanescentes de floresta amazônica , com um cerrado mais denso, típico da região de transição. Foi criada em 09/12/1999, através da lei n° 1.116.

APA Foz do Rio Santa Tereza
A Apa Foz do Rio Santa Tereza localizada no município de Peixe, com cerca de 51.000 hectares, foi criada em maio de 1997, através da lei estadual n° 905.. Seu objetivo principal é a proteção de riquezas naturais que estejam inseridas dentro de um contexto de ocupação humana local, a conservação de sítios de beleza cênica e a utilização racional dos recursos naturais, bem como a manutenção da diversidade biológica e a conservação dos ecossitemas em seu estado original.

APA Lago de Peixe / Angical
Esta APA localiza-se nos municípios de Peixe, Paranã e São Salvador do Tocantins. Com quase 80.000 hectares esta Unidade de Conservação foi criada para compensar a degradação do ambiente gerada com a construção da Hidrelétrica de Peixe (ENERPEIXE).Sua criação data de 18 de março de 2002. Ainda não foi elaborado o plano de manejo.

APA Lago de Palmas
Criada pela lei estadual n° 1.098 em outubro de 1999, com cerca de 50.000 hectares. Abrange o município de Porto Nacional, embora esteja localizada nas proximidades da cidade de Palmas, logo após a ponte Fernando Henrique Cardoso que liga Palmas à cidade de Paraíso do Tocantins. A APA atinge apenas a área rural, sendo excluídas a zona urbana da cidade de Palmas e mineradoras de areia de grande porte, por apresentarem graus de alteração antrópica que dificultam a implantação de programas de conservação ambiental. Entretanto, os benefícios ambientais trazidos pela implantação da APA devem atingir não somente a população rural residente no seu território, mas também a população urbana. Isso se deve não somente à proteção de recursos naturais que afetem a vida urbana, como a qualidade de água do Lago, mas por seus limites abrangerem os arredores do Lago, promovendo o uso racional das áreas passíveis de expansão urbana próximas a ele.

APA Jalapão
Criada em junho de 2000, pela lei n° 1.172, com 461.730 hectares a APA do Jalapão ocupa terras dos municípios de Mateiros, Novo Acordo e Ponte Alta do Tocantins. Ela funciona como uma zona de amortecimento para o Parque Estadual de Jalapão e propicia a conectividade do Parque a leste com a Estação Ecológica da Serra Geral do Tocantins e ao Sul com o Parque Nacional das Nascentes do Parnaíba. Por sua localização estratégica ela faz parte do Corredor Ecológico Jalapão/Mangabeiras.Registra em seus limites a presença de espécies ameaçadas de extinção, como o Lobo Guará ( Chrysocyon brachyurus)e Arara Azul ( Anodorhyncus yacintinus).

APA Serra do Lajeado
A APA Serra do Lajeado criada em maio de 1997 pela lei n° 906, engloba os municípios de Aparecida do Rio Negro, Lajeado, Palmas, Tocantínia e Taquaruçu. Possui uma área considerável de 121.415 hectares e funciona como zona de amortização para o Parque Estadual do Lajeado. Esta APA tem como objetivo principal proteger os mananciais que abastecem a cidade de Palmas, bem como ordenar a expansão urbana próximo à encosta da serra. Tem Plano de Manejo e Zoneamento Ambiental elaborados. É fiscalizada e gerenciada pelo Instituto Natureza do Tocantins – NATURATINS.

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