IAS Gyan

Daily News Analysis

Pantanal

5th July, 2024 Environment

Pantanal

Source: WWF

Disclaimer: Copyright infringement not intended.

Context:  Pantanal has lost the most water since 1985, says study.

Details

Pantanal

  • The Pantanal is located at the geographical centre of the South American continent.
  • It is a natural region encompassing the world’s largest tropical wetland area, and the world’s largest flooded grasslands.
  • It is located mostly about (80 percent) within the Brazilian state of Mato Grosso do Sul, but it extends into Mato Grosso and portions of Bolivia and Paraguay spreadsover 42 million acres.
  • It was developed in a structural basin formed as the Andes Mountains rose.
  • The Paraguay River originates in the vast Cerrado savanna and feeds the Pantanal.

Pantanal

Ecological Significance

  • A study conducted by the Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation (EMBRAPA) concluded that the region’s ecosystem services are valued at $112 billion a year.
  • From October to March, floodwaters fill the Pantanal like a giant reservoir and drain out slowly between April and September, providing ideal aquatic habitat, nutrient renewal, groundwater recharge and flood control for millions of people downstream.
  • The Pantanal accounts for 2% of the Brazil total water surface.
  • The Pantanal is one of the most biologically rich environments on the planet with more than 4,700 plant and animal species.

Flaura

  • The vegetation of the Pantanal, often referred to as the “Pantanal complex”, is a mixture of plant communities– moist tropical Amazonian rainforest plants, semiarid woodland plants, Brazilian cerrado savanna plants and plants of the Chaco savannas of Bolivia and Paraguay.

Fauna

  • The apple snail is a keystone species in Pantanal’s ecosystem.
  • The Pantanal is home to one of the largest and healthiest jaguar (Panthera onca) populations on Earth.
  • Among the rarest animals to inhabit the wetland of the Pantanal are the marsh deer, the giant river otter, hyacinth macaw, the crowned solitary eagle, the maned wolf, the South American tapir and the giant anteater, the world’s largest rodent, the capybara.
  • Economical significance: The economic activities of the states within the Pantanal contributed more than $70 billion to their respective economies in 2015.

Recent Findings

  • According to a recent study, there is a straightforward reason behind the spike in wildfires in the biome: It has lost the most water since 1985.
  • There has been a reduction in the area flooded and the length of time the water remains. The last major flood in the Pantanal occurred in 2018. In 2023 was 50 per cent drier than 2018.
  • There are over 10x as many fires in this global biodiversity hotspot this year so far relative to 2023, and with reports of unprecedented drying of the Paraguay River, fears of another record-breaking fire year are rising.

Initiatives taken for water conservation

  • The Pantanal Pact is a framework that aims to conserve the rivers and springs through unified collaboration across 25 municipalities in Mato Grosso state. Collectively, these rivers contribute 30% of the water that flows down to the Pantanal wetlands.

Sources:

WWF, DowntoEarth.

PRACTICE QUESTION

Q.Pantanal Wetland often mentioned in news is located in/arround which of the following region?

A. Great Lakes, North America

B. Amazon Basin, South Amrica

C. Eastern Australia

D.Congo Basin

Answer B