Station écologique du Raso da Catarina (Bahia)

Date of Submission: 06/09/1996
Criteria: (vii)(ix)
Category: Natural
Coordinates: 38°29' - 38°43' W 9°20' - 9°55' S
Ref.: 43

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The area of Raso da Catarina is considered to be one of the most arid zones in Brazil. Owing to the lack of natural springs and to the fact that the rivers frequently run dry, this vast area has remained virtually untouched. It is a flat area covered with brushwood, including cacti and exotic plants which provide one of the rare sources of water at certain times of the year. In some places there are sand formations resembling canyons, pillars and walls, mainly hollowed out by rainwater. These provide a refuge for birds as well as being interesting from a scenic point of view. The flora and fauna, however, are the greatest attraction of the Raso da Catarina.

Inclusion of the Raso da Catarina area is justified by the above-mentioned features. This is, in fact, one of the last examples of the caatinga biome which covers almost all north-east Brazil, but the area has shrunk today as human settlements advance. The whole area of 200000 hectares is government property.