Long Term Ecological Research

Catimbau National Park Site

PELD Catimbau/CNPq (process number: 403770/2012-2)

PRONEX/FACEPE/CNPq (process number: APQ-0138-2.05/14)

The present project aims to assess how human disturbance and changes in rainfall regime affect the Caatinga ecosystem’s biota at different levels of biological organization (i.e, from populations to ecosystem level), by correlating these aspects with the theoretical reference shown in macro trends already documented in the tropics.


In order to achieve this objective, eight specific objectives are proposed, dividing the project into smaller execution modules as follows:


(1) the nature of the disturbances

(2) diversity patterns of communities

(3) structuring processes of communities

(4) plant-animal interactions

(5) nutrient cycling

(6) natural regeneration and forest restoration

(7) geographic information system

(8) training and information transfer.

Furthermore, the implementation and achievement of this project’s objectives are centered on:

(1) establishment of a set of 35 permanent plots,

(2) periodic multi-taxa inventories,

(3) continuous monitoring of environmental and anthropogenic variables

(4) consolidation of biological, land usage and environmental data on the basis of GIS type

(5) dissemination / transfer of information through a wide range of instruments.


The project will be developed in Catimbau National Park, a polygon of approximately 63,000 ha, and one of the most important protected areas in the Caatinga. The Park presents vocation for ecological studies of long-term and thus to become an LTER site due to a series of reasons:

(1) it has a biological, archaeological and landscape heritage of inestimable value,

(2) it shelters areas with different historical land use and anthropic disturbance on the vegetation of Caatinga

(3) there are already in place several research initiatives and training of human resources

(4) in term of unit management aspects, logistics and infrastructure are favorable for long-term initiatives.

This project is implemented by a network composed of 23 researchers supported by a number of undergraduate / graduate students, all from six national institutions and three other overseas. The main core of the graduate programs are Plant Biology, Biology Animal and Fungal Biology, all at the Federal University of Pernambuco (UFPE).

Contact us: mtrelli@ufpe.br - Marcelo Tabarelli (Coordinator)


The LTER Catimbau is also part of the ILTER (International Long Term Ecological Research) network joins several other long-lasting projects developed around the world.


To access the Catimbau site page on ILTER's DEIMS platform, go here.

Research Site

Created on August 22nd, 2002, the Catimbau National Park is located in the state of Pernambuco and its main objective is to maintain and preserve the natural ecosystems and its diverse great ecological relevance as well as its scenic beauty. Among the many activities, the project focus on scientific research and development of environmental education and interpretation activities, recreation in contact with nature and ecological tourism. Moreover, the park shows notable natural beauties, with several species of plants, trees and spectacular flowers composing a visual unique flora, all within an area of 62,294.14 ha.


The Park covers the municipalities of Buíque (PE), Ibimirim (PE) and Tupanatinga (PE). There are great attractions in Catimbau National Park, among them stand out from the abundance of rock art and exorbitant landscape, composed of sandstone cliffs and rock formations carved by the erosive aeolian action.


The occurrence of a vast number of painting sites and petroglyphs, located mainly in the rocky hills of the shelters, are really a sight to see. These are paintings done during the prehistoric ages, featuring a largely heterogenic graphic scene, with characteristics identified as belonging to several classes of rock records, such as the Northeast Tradition and the “Agreste” Tradition among other poorly defined classes.


Text: Adapted from ICMBio homepage: http://goo.gl/7tVrfy

Land use, natural regeneration and ecosystem services provided by the Caatinga: Connecting Conservation Units and sustainability - CNPq/ICMBio/FAPs Nº 18/2017

Abstract: This project will be able to characterize the potential of Caatinga Conservation Units in providing ecosystem services and the socioeconomic constraints of the native vegetation cover. This knowledge has obvious implications for the management of Conservation Units, but also for the incorporation of this instrument into adaptation and sustainability policies, both for the Caatinga and other dry tropical forests. The achievement of these objectives is based on its integration with other ongoing initiatives in the Catimbau National Park (i.e. PELD-CNPq, PRONEX-FACEPE- CNPq, PROBRAL-CAPES- DAAD), one of the Caatinga's most important conservation units, currently, a PELD-CNPq Site. The proposal will be carried out by a network composed of XX researchers and their undergraduate / graduate students, which are linked to XX national institutions and three foreign institutions. The institution core will be the Universidade Federal de Pernambuco, specifically the Post-Graduation Program in Plant Biology. Among the products expected for the 36 months of execution, we can mention: (1) the publication of at least 15 scientific papers, in addition to those of dissemination, (2) the training of 30 masters and PhDs in ecology and conservation biology, (3) the consolidation of the Catimbau National Park as a "PELD Site", expanding opportunities for generating scientific knowledge, training of human resources and transfer of information to society that go beyond those already contained in this proposal, and (4) a continuous transference of information to society through a wide range of tools, ranging from local communities to decision makers at the federal level.

Objetives: The main aim of this proposal is to understand the relationships between land use, forest regeneration dynamics and ecosystem services provided by the Caatinga vegetation in order to: (1) characterize the potential of services provided by the Caatinga Conservation Units at different spatial scales, (2) define guidelines for the management of the Conservation Units and their surroundings that maximize the provision of environmental services, (3) integrate Conservation Units into a strategy for adaptation to climate change and transition to sustainability.

Sustainable Caatinga Project - MCTIC/CNPq - Nº 19/2017

Abstract: In this proposal we present the ecological restoration as a unifying framework of action for the promotion of the Nexus approach (water-energy-food security) as a way to achieve the sustainable development goals (SDG) for the Caatinga region. This proposal is divided in two modules that present together encompass a broad strategy to promote sustainability of the Caatinga. First, we use best available science, public policies, socioeconomic analyses and training to present a map of challenges and opportunities for restoration of the Caatinga region to promote water-energy-food securities (ROAM module). Also, we will use the traditional knowledge and the best available techniques of restoration to generate restoration protocols for socioecological productive landscapes that promote its resilience according to the Nexus approach (experimental module) at the local scale for the Caatinga. This proposal aims to to show that is perfectly possible to join scientific research in Ecological Restoration – one of the most promising research areas for the development of technological alternatives for sustainability – with promotion of effective public policies in accordance with geopolitical agreements and goals based on a multidisciplinar approach (Nexus). The products derived from the this proposal are broad and useful to several sectors of the society such as NGOs and public sector that can promote these results and techniques but also for the Caatinga-based academy that can strength restoration ecology as a crucial research theme for the Universities and Institutes acting in this region.

Objective: In this proposal the general objetive is to generate a regioinal outlook of the oportunities of ecological restoration for the Caatinga as well as local solutions and protocols for the remediation of degraded areas. This aims to safeguard ecosystem services that enhance water-energy-food security (framework Nexus) that promote resilience of this ecosystem and adaptation of the socioecological productive landscapes to climate change, shifts in population trends and socieconomic conditions projected for this region.

© 2016 by Teixeira.