Serra da Canastra, Minas Gerais, Brazil by Joao Pompeu

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The Brazilian savannah, locally named “Cerrado” is characterized by acid and leached soils, which confers a contorted character to the tress. This region is the second largest biome in Brazil and is of unique importance for the water cycle in South America, once springs of eight of the twelve water basins of the continent are found in the Cerrado. The deep root system of the contorted trees is responsible for a complex system of water recycling from the soil to the atmosphere through evapotranspiration, playing an important role in the formation of rainfall. This interaction is one of the factors that prevent the region of being a desert. In contrast, it is the most biodiverse savannah in the world. However, the Cerrado is being rapidly destroyed by agricultural expansion for commodities like soybeans and maize and these crops are already suffering from droughts in some regions of the Cerrado caused by the removal of the natural vegetation and intensified by climate change. Thus, one can certainly call the Cerrado trees as the tree or trees of life.

This picture was taken during the sunrise in the "Serra da Canastra" region in the rainy season, when fog is formed early in the morning and also the roads get muddy making some places very difficult to reach. Serra da Canastra is the cradle of the largest and most important river of the Cerrado, the São Francisco River. Nowadays there is a National Park of 1978 squared km protecting this region. The local fauna include the “guará” wolf and the anteater, both vulnerable of extinction due to habitat loss. Surely this Park is worth visiting all year long.

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