A common species in the Amazon, the ringed woodpecker (Celeus torquatus) only shows its colors inside Sooretama Biological Reserve and nearby private reserves in the Atlantic Rainforest. Image by Leonardo Merçon. The forests of the Mata do Tabuleiro region in the Brazilian state of Espírito Santo were once listed among Earth’s most biodiverse regions. But much of this richness has been lost due to human occupation, river pollution, and unchecked deforestation. What were once stretches of exuberant vegetation reaching as far as the eye could see have now been reduced to a few fragments, home to Sooretama Biological Reserve. The name “Sooretama” comes from the Tupi language and means “the house of the forest animals.” The reserve and the forest complex of which it’s a part are some of the most important remnants of the Atlantic Rainforest in Espírito Santo, and the state’s last stronghold of iconic species like jaguars, giant armadillos, harpy eagles and tapirs. The region is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of BirdLife International’s key areas for bird preservation. The biological reserve covers 27,800 hectares (68,700 acres) and is part of a forest mosaic stretching from northern Espírito Santo to the far south of Bahia state, a region called the Hiléia Baiana. Unusually, traces of Amazonian flora and fauna can be found here, in the middle of the Atlantic Rainforest, despite the two biomes being separated by approximately 1,500 kilometers (930 miles). Macuco Lake, seen from atop one of the lookouts covered by the forest.…This article was originally published on Mongabay Läs mer