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American Society of Landscape Architects


April 2006 Issue

Into the Mangroves
A park brings the Amazonís aquatic landscape closer to urban residents.

By Jimena Martignoni

Into the Mangroves
Joao Ramid

Converting degraded landscapes for environmental purposes has become one of the most common types of projects facing landscape architects all over the world. Once rehabilitated, such sites are models of positive land use and, in most cases, also create public space.

The Mangal das Garças, or Mangrove of the Herons, a project in the city of Belém, in the state of Pará, Brazil, goes beyond this contemporary planning trend not only to convert an abandoned naval shipyard into naturalistic green space, but also to restore this property to local residents as a public park.

The intent of the projectís originator, Paráís secretary of culture, Paolo Chaves, was to create a park that contained the significant characteristics of the Amazonian landscape, stressing the many native species that make this natural scenery so unique. This re-creation, whose best results were thought to be achievable only in the long term, aimed to get residents closer to the local environment and its cultural significance.

Here in this city on the Guama River, a tributary of the Amazon, one of the endemic plants with this kind of cultural resonance is the aninga (Montrichardia arborescens), an aquatic species native to tropical forests. In the Mangal das Garças, a natural population of aningas was recovered at the shore and incorporated into the new park.


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