Pedra Branca State Park
Pedra Branca State Park (Portuguese: Parque Estadual da Pedra
Branca) is a state park in the state of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. It is
one of the largest urban nature parks in the world. It protects an
Atlantic Forest in the west of the city of
Rio de Janeiro
Rio de Janeiro that
includes the highest point in the city, the Pico da Pedra Branca.
Pedra Branca State Park
Pedra Branca State Park is in the west of the city of Rio de
Janeiro, and has an area of 12,394 hectares (30,630 acres). It is
one of the largest urban nature parks in the world. The park contains
the Pico da Pedra Branca, the highest point of the city at 1,024
metres (3,360 ft).[a] It is surrounded by the neighborhoods of
Guaratiba, Bangu, Realengo, Jacarepaguá, Barra da Tijuca, Recreio dos
Grumari and Campo Grande. The park contains the chapel
of São Gonçalo do Amarante, built in 1625, and the church of Nossa
Senhora de Monserrat, built in 1776.
The park provides water to the Pau da Fome, Camorim, Taxas and Engenho
Novo dams. The aqueduct that cuts through the park takes water from
the Guandu River to Rio's south zone. The park occupies about 10%
of the city, and protects more than half of the city's Atlantic
European occupation of the Pedra Branca range began late in the 16th
century, when Salvador Correia de Sá donated lands in the area to his
sons in 1594. At the end of the 17th century some of the land was
donated to Benedictine monks, who developed farms and cattle
fields. By the end of the 19th century there were extensive coffee
plantations, and a movement developed against the resulting
deforestation that resulted in some efforts at reforestation. In the
early 20th century the old coffee plantations were divided into
smaller banana plantations.
The Camorim Water Treatment Unit and Pau da Fome Dam were built in
1908. The Camorim dam supplies water for 20,000 people. An aqueduct
was built in the 1960s at what is now the Piraquara Center. The
massive growth of the city caused human occupation to spread uphill
into the regenerating forests in the mid 20th century. The area of
Pedra Branca State Park
Pedra Branca State Park was declared of public utility for the
purpose of expropriation by decree-law 1634 of April 1963.
After a long period of studies, the park was formally created by state
law No. 2377 of 28 June 1974. The area above 100 metres
(330 ft) was included in the park. It is managed by the State
Forest Institute Foundation (IEF). In 2003 the state government
launched a R$4 million program to revitalize the park. This included a
permanent exhibition "Da Pedra Branca ao Pau da Fome" for students
that describes the geology, flora and fauna. The park is part of
Carioca Mosaic and has been recognized by
UNESCO as an Atlantic
Forest Biosphere Reserve.
Small swamp at Grumari
The city of
Rio de Janeiro
Rio de Janeiro has a humid tropical climate, with maximum
rainfall in December - March and least rainfall in June - August.
Annual rainfall averages 1,500 to 2,500 millimetres (59 to
98 in), with most rain in the summer. Usually the winds blow from
the mainland towards the sea in the morning, and from the southeast in
the afternoon and evening. The Pedra Branca Massif affects the flow of
air and moisture throughout the city. The north slopes are warmer and
drier, while the slopes facing west, south and east are more temperate
The park contains typical
Atlantic Forest vegetation. Vegetation is
in different stages of regeneration. The dominant type is dense
rainforest. 934 species of flora in 118 botanical families have been
cataloged, of which 429 have some level of endemism. The endemic
Neoregelia camorimiana is found in forests in an advanced
stage of regeneration. These are mostly in the Camorim region and
include species such as Brazilwood (Caesalpinia echinata), copaíba
(Copaifera lucens), Brazilian rosewood (Dalbergia nigra), and red fig
tree (Ficus americana).
338 species of birds have been identified, of which 20 are threatened
to some extent, such as the white-eared parakeet (Pyrrhura leucotis).
There are 51 species of mammals of which 8 are threatened. The fruit
bat morcego-fruteiro-claro is vulnerable to extinction in Brazil.
Threatened species include collared peccary (Pecari tajacu),
brown-throated sloth (Bradypus variegatus), southern tamandua
(Tamandua tetradactyla), channel-billed toucan (Ramphastos
vitellinus), rusty-margined guan (Penelope superciliaris),
brown-backed parrotlet (Touit melanonotus), boa constrictor (Boa
constrictor) and striped worm lizard (Ophiodes striatus). There are
43 species of fish of which 5 are endangered.
The park is surrounded by large urban areas, and is under intense
human pressure. As of 2013 there were 40 park rangers and the state's
first environmental police unit. Fires are common in the driest part
of year, from June to July, often caused by candle-powered paper hot
air balloons released in festivals, but are quickly suppressed.
Dam at Pau da Fome
As of 2013 there were an average of 3,000 visitors per month, or
36,000 annually, but the park management aimed to attract up to 60,000
visitors per year by 2016. The park is open daily from 8am to
PEPB has three administrative centers: Pau da Fome, Camorin and
Piraquara. The park headquarters is in the Pau da Fome Center in
Taquara, Jacarepaguá. It has an exhibition center in the building
designed by the architect Zanine Caldas for Eco 92. The Camorin
Center, also in Jacarepaguá, has a water collection and treatment
system and a trail leading to the Camorim Dam. The Piraquara Center
Realengo has a nursery for seedlings. The center has a visitor
building, toilets, leisure areas and environmental guides. The
Cachoeira do Barata (Barata Waterfall) in the Piraquara center is one
of the biggest attractions. The waterfall is in fact a series of falls
and stretches of the Piraquara River that can be used for relaxation,
with an artificial swimming pool at the foot. Beside it there is a
children's playground, exercise equipment, tables and picnic areas.
There are several ecological trails and walks. Guided tours are
available, including an 11 kilometres (6.8 mi) walk to the top of
the Pedra Branca. The bi-lingual Portuguese/English trail guide
with maps and photographs was published by INEA in 2013. The trails
have different lengths and levels of difficulty to cater to all
The 250 metres (820 ft) Circuito das Águas Trail passes
waterfalls weirs and dams.
The 800 metres (2,600 ft) Rio Grande Trail with descriptive signs
is at the Pau da Fome center, designed for all ages. Attractions
include the 19th century aqueduct, the Figuera Dam, a corner of the
Padaria Dam, and typical bromeliads and tree of the Atlantic
The 3 kilometres (1.9 mi) Açude Camorim Trail, starting at the
Camorim Center, provides a beautiful view of the Camorim reservoir,
which is about one quarter of the Rodrigo de Freitas Lagoon.
The 3 kilometres (1.9 mi) Piabas-
Grumari Crossing leads to
Grumari Beach, where visitors may bathe, and includes gazebos and
Atlantic Forest vegetation.
The 3.5 kilometres (2.2 mi) Santa Bárbara Trail is one of the
most popular, and leads from the Pau a Fome to the Pico da Pedra
Branca, with steep stretches. The Pico da Pedra Branca trail,
leading to the highest point, is long but easy.
The shorter Pedra do Quilombo trail is harder, and includes a 10
metres (33 ft) exposed section on a rock face where a steel cable
and metal foot rests have been installed.
The 4 kilometres (2.5 mi) Caverna Carlos Bandeira Trail leads to
and through the 30 metres (98 ft) Carlos Bandeira cave.
The 11 kilometres (6.8 mi) crossing from Rio da Prata to Pau da
Fome, via Monte Alegre, crosses the Pedra Branca massif. It is the
hardest trail, with a maximum altitude of 793 metres (2,602 ft).
It has natural lookouts, rivers, waterfalls and Atlantic Forest
The 11.8 kilometres (7.3 mi) crossing from
Jacarepaguá to Campo
Grande follows sections of an old colonial road, and remnants of the
stone pavement are still visible.
^ There is a rock 3 metres (9.8 ft) high at the top of the Pico
da Pedra Branca, and this is just enough to make the mountain higher
than the 1,021 metres (3,350 ft) Pico da Tijuca. The Pedra Branca
(White Rock) is a block at the top of the mountain that was made white
by the waste of vultures.
^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m Ortiz 2013.
^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o Parque Estadual da Pedra Branca –
Trilhas e Rumos.
^ Parque Estadual da Pedra Branca – Guia da Semana.
^ a b c Programão do RJTV tem visita ao Parque ... G1 Globo.
^ Santos & Castro 2013, p. 84.
^ a b c Santos & Castro 2013, p. 85.
^ Santos & Castro 2013, p. 81.
^ a b Santos & Castro 2013, p. 35.
^ a b c Santos & Castro 2013, p. 31.
^ Santos & Castro 2013, p. 39.
^ Santos & Castro 2013, p. 47.
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Parque Estadual da Pedra
Ortiz, Fabíola (2 December 2013), Parque Estadual da Pedra Branca
ganha guia de trilhas (in Portuguese), O Eco, retrieved
"Parque Estadual da Pedra Branca", Guia da Semana, retrieved
"Parque Estadual da Pedra Branca – RJ", Trilhas e Rumos (in
Portuguese), retrieved 2017-01-12
"Programão do RJTV tem visita ao Parque da Pedra Branca", G1 Globo
(in Portuguese), 20 February 2016, retrieved 2017-01-12
Santos, Eduardo Lage; Castro, Hugo de (2013), TRILHAS Parque Estadual
da Pedra Branca (PDF) (in Portuguese), Rio de Janeiro: inea, retrieved