The Atlantic Rainforest, or Mata Atlântica, that used to extend southwards along the coast from north-east Brazil to Uruguay is now depleted to 7% of its original extent; of that only 2% is primary forest, the rest regrowth. These remnants, though scattered as they are through the most densely populated part of Brazil, are still extraordinarily biodiverse, with 456 species of amphibians, 682 species of birds, 264 species of mammals, and 331 species of reptile. Gondwanan descent is evidenced by the presence of trees like Araucaria angustifolia, more often called A. brasiliana or Pinheiro de Paraná, as well as several species of Podocarpus. A. angustifolia was listed as critically endangered for most of the twentieth century; it is now grown in plantations, and there is a ban on logging the species in the wild, but little is known about the overall impact of these conservation efforts.
Awareness of the importance of the Atlantic Rainforest has grown to such an extent that about 23,800 km² of the remaining Atlantic Forest in Brazil is officially under strict protection in 224 protected areas—108 national and state parks, 85 federal and state biological reserves and 31 federal and state ecological stations and reserves. The private reserve system in the Brazilian Atlantic Forest is also quite extensive, totalling 443 reserves and covering almost 1,000 km². In Argentina, 4,598 km² are under protection in 60 protected areas of various categories, representing about 21% of the original Atlantic Forest in Misiones province. There are eight protected areas totalling 1,392 km² in the Atlantic Forest portion of eastern Paraguay, covering less than 2% of the original extent.
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