Study Area


In 14,860 ha of area consisting of a mosaic of terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems in the northern part of the state of Rio de Janeiro, is Jurubatiba Restinga National Park (PARNA Restinga Jurubatiba); since 1998, the only national park protecting a restinga ecosystem, bordered on the north and south by two water bodies of great interest in terms of conservation and socioenvironmental value (Lagoa Feia and Lagoa Imboassica) (Vertices of the Polygon: 1 (-41.866758; -22.414679); 2 (-41.438931; -21 , 948339), 3 (-41.258435; -21.894774); 4 (-41,179387; -22,118887); 5 (-41.840408; -22.427388). Daytime average annual temperature in the region is 22.6°C with annual rainfall totaling 1164mm. Distribution of rainfall is seasonal, with summer receiving the most rainfall, 189 mm of rain falling in January. During the driest months – June, July and August – a water deficit exists in the soil; whereas during the months from October to January, water is replaced in the soil. The park extends over an area 60km long by 10km wide.


The features of the PARNA Restinga Jurubatiba include sandy cords and coastal lagoons that are geomorphological products of river and marine dynamics in a context of local sea level cyclic variation. The deposition of river sediments on the coast and its reworking by marine processes (waves, tides, winds and isostatic and / or eustatic oscillations) formed sandy cords parallel to the coast. Between these sandy cords are areas that are permanently flooded by projections of the lagoons and areas periodically flooded due to the variation of the water table and the rainfall regime. One of the major characteristics of these aquatic ecosystems are the very high Dissolved Organic Carbon concentrations presented by many of these ecosystems, which reflect directly on the balance of C between these ecosystems and the atmosphere in the structuring of aquatic communities.


Studies in the PARNA Restinga Jurubatiba have recorded approximately 588 species of vascular plants and the occurrence of 10 plant communities associated with specific environmental conditions such as oligotrophy, degree of desiccation, temperature, salinity and degree of flooding. Among the communities listed for the area are the following formations: Permanently Flooded Forest, Periodically Flooded Forest, Sandy Cord Forest, Halophilic-Psamophilic, Swampy Herbaceous, Closed Shrub near the beach, Open Shrub with Clusia, Open Shrub with Ericacea, Open Shrub with Palmae and Aquatic Vegetation. The fauna in the study area is also quite diverse, including broad-snouted caiman, crab-eating fox, anteaters, migratory birds and a hundred species of marine and freshwater fish.


It is believed that the preservation of the area was due to the lack of access, the wild and turbid sea and governmental disinterest in relation to the continental ecosystems of the Campos Basin. However, given the relatively recent conversion of this ecosystem into a Conservation Area (1998) and the history of human occupation of the southeastern coastal plains prior to European colonization, the region's ecosystems, including restingas and coastal lagoons have been subject for centuries to the impacts of human development, agricultural activities, burning, hunting and fishing (Folharini, 2015). Specifically in the area of the RLaC site, there are three villages inhabited by traditional communities, and agricultural activities are developed in properties around the Conservation Area (Folharini, 2015). The PARNA Restinga Jurubatiba occupies part of the municipalities of Macaé, Carapebus and Quissamã, the latter of which holds 65% of the territory of the Conservation Area. In the current study proposal, in addition to the 18 coastal lagoons in the PARNA area and two in its border areas (<10km, Imboassica and Feia), five areas will be monitored in the restinga to contemplate the coastal-continental gradient in terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems, in a sample period of 48 months (Fig. 1).


Figura 1. Study area within the PARNA Restinga Jurubatiba (RlaC site) and neighboring aquatic ecosystems (Lagoa Feia e Lagoa Imboassica). Within the PARNA, in addition to the 18 coastal lagoons, the yellow sampling points indicate the location of terrestrial ecosystems also under investigation.