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  RPPN FELICIANO MIGUEL ABDALA | CHARACTERISTICS  
     
  The region's climate is typically hot with summer showers. The dry season is from April to September and the rainy season is from October to March. Average annual rainfall is about 1,000 mm, though it can vary considerably from year to year.

The region is predominantly mountainous, with altitudes ranging from 318m to 628m. The RPPN-FMA also contains parts of two sub-basins separated by crests of hills that can reach 628m. These brooks are called Jaó and Matão, which inspired the names of the main groups of northern Muriquis of the reserve: the Matão group and the Jaó group.

The Reserve is marked by the landscape of the Semi-decidual Forest, also known as rainforest. This landscape is characterized by well-marked dry and rainy seasons and made up of trees which keep their leaves all year long and others which lose some of their leaves in the dry season.

There is a considerable variation in the structure of the forest within the boundaries of the RPPN-FMA.

Well preserved tracts are restricted to the Matão, Jaó and Sapo brooks. As the altitude increases the primary forest gradually changes to a spoiled secondary forest and young woods in regeneration and then to bushes and infested areas at the hilltop. In the tracts with a continuous canopy the trees reach 25m high, without considering the emerging trees that reach over 35m high.

The conservation of the area is critical to many species of the
 
 

fauna. Among the assessments executed, some endangered species in the state of Minas Gerais were found. In the RPPN-FMA about 362 species of vertebrate animals (mammals, birds, fish, reptiles and amphibians) can be found. The Reserve has 79 species of mammals and, along with the Caparaó National Park, makes up one of the richest areas in mammals of the entire Rio Doce Valley.

The densest and most varied population of primates known in state of Minas Gerais is located in the RPPN-FMA, featuring the northern Muriqui, one of the 25 most endangered species of primates in the world. About 500 individuals currently survive in the wild, scattered in small-sized populations in the states of Minas Gerais and Espirito Santo. Although many other new populations have been discovered in the last few years, this one in RPPN FMA is the largest and the only one considered viable.

Studies on the bird fauna showed 204 species in the area. This figure stands for 52% of all the species in the Rio Doce Valley (393) and 26% of the birds in Minas Gerais (774 species). Up to now, 37 species of amphibians were detected and, in recent study by the UFMG's Zoology Department, 38 species of reptiles were catalogued. These include 21 species of snakes, among which Lachesis muta may be considered an endangered species in the State of Minas Gerais, this species is only found nowadays in the RPPN-FMA and in Rio Doce State Park.

One butterfly species from these forests, Heliconius nattereri (family Nymphalidae) is considered to be "threatened with extinction" by the IBAMA and "endangered" by the State Environmental Policy Council - COPAM.
Eduardo M. Veado

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