Alguns problemas geográficos na região entre Teófilo Otôni (Minas Gerais) e Colatina (Espírito Santo)


  • Pedro Pinchas Geiger


Minas Gerais, Teófilo Otoni, Espírito Santo, Colatina, Geografia Econômica, Geografia Física, Geografia da População


            In this paper, the author studies some geographical problems of the region in which the valley om the Rio Doce - between the cities of Governador Valadares and Colatina – and the zone immediately to the north, drained by the tributaries of the river and by the Rio São Mateus and Rio Todos os Santos, are comprehended.

            Morphological Problems - The author defends the hypothesis of the existence of an elevated fault block at the north of the basin of the Rio Doce, downstream of the large bend it makes at Governador Valadares.

            The escarpments of this elevated block, facing south and west, would form the range which marks the difference of altitude between the plateau - which is dissected by the Rio São José and Rio São Mateus - and the surfaces which are dissected by the Rio Itambacuri and other small affluents of the Rio Doce.

            The range which must be passed when going from Conselheiro Pena to Mantena or from Governador Valadares to Teófilo Otôni is the principal characteristic of the relief in the region under consideration.

            At Governador Valadares, the Rio Doce has an altitude of about 220 meters, and at Conselheiro Pena, about 120 meters.

            Bearing in mind the wideness, the valley of the Rio Doce is very narrow. It is about a 100 meters lower than the surfaces in which its affluents develop their valleys. The valleys of its smaller affluents of the north margin, near Conselheiro Pena, are visibly hanging valleys.

            At the level of the affluents of the Rio Doce, the altitudes of the highest mountains attain 450 to 500 meters.

            The highest crests of the range which forms the slope of the plateau where the city of Mantena appears, have an altitude, according to the municipal, maps of about 800 meters.

            This plateau is deeply dissected by the Rio São José and Rio São Mateus. The valleys which were visited presented themselves whit a stair-like topography, each step having a different altitude.

            On the elevated block as well as on the surface where the affluents of the Rio Doce flow, some rocky mountains were observed, probably due to the beds of harder rock from the crystalline complex.

            Human Geography Problems - The influences of the physical conditions and of the social structure on the various producing activities were studied by the author.

            The climatic conditions seem to favor coffee planting on the plateau and bar it on the valley of the Rio Doce. In some areas as, for instance, near Teófilo Otoni, where settlement is very old, some soils are so weak that the old coffee plantations have been abandoned and cattle-raising took its place. In some other areas, as in Mantena, where settlement is relatively recent (about twenty years) the coffee plantations still advance toward new soils.

            An industry which is under a large development phase is timber extracting, perhaps the most important exploitation in the valley of the Rio Doce on the Governador Valadares - Colatina zone. The forests still existing in the valley are being used for that purpose and Governador Valadares is a city in which saw-mills abound.

            The exploitation of timber by large companies is the cause of the clearing of many areas, large estates being formed this way.

            In a general way, cattle-raising substitutes, predominantly, timber extracting in the valley, where recently cleared land is available.

On the plateau, in Teófilo Otoni as well as in Mantena, the settlement is accompanied by private or official colonization, sometimes with foreign elements.

            In the region of Mantena, the clearing of the forests is still under process and a convergence of population is noted, these settlers coming from other regions and seekind for unoccupied or virgin land.

            The development of the settlement on the plateau was made under the form of small and medium properties.

            The timber extracting activity, on the plateau, preceded or proceeds agriculture but it is easy to observe that the development of these properties is in some way connected to agriculture.

            Coffee is the principal product of the region but almost always many other products are planted, inclusive for local maintenance purposes.