A New Biodiversity Corridor for the Atlantic Forest

December 2006

In an important step toward establishing a new biodiversity conservation corridor in the state of Minas Gerais, the Brazilian town of Extrema recently became the first of 42 municipalities to implement a comprehensive sustainable management action plan.

An overarching management strategy for the new 1.1 million-hectare Mantiqueira Corridor will link five protected areas and protect forest fragments that fall within the state, connecting them with the larger Serra do Mar Corridor in the Atlantic Forest biodiversity hotspot.

Conservation group Associação Valor Natural has worked with local partners to create maps detailing forest fragments, environmental impacts, and socioeconomic activity.

As part of a wider participatory planning program, they are also organizing five seminars for government officials, councillors, and community representatives to help them develop conservation action plans for the remaining 41 municipalities that will form the basis of the corridor’s overall management strategy.

“In the long term, the plans will help towns recover degraded areas and reduce the pressure of unregulated housing development and their impact on critical ecosystems,” said Claudia Costa, Valor Natural’s executive director.

The Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund (CEPF) is supporting Valor Natural’s work under its strategic direction of stimulating landscape management initiatives led by civil society in the Central and Serra do Mar corridors.

“The planning process has really helped to energize local people and get them involved in conservation from the bottom up,” Extrema Environment Secretary Paulo Henrique Pereira said. “Our challenge now is to sustain that commitment for implementing the plan.”

CEPF support for Valor Natural is also helping the town of Extrema plan the first payment for ecosystem services scheme to take place in the Mantiqueira Corridor. Extrema will pay landowners to help restore the Jaguari River watershed, a key source of water for the state of São Paulo’s metropolitan area.

For more information, contact , executive director, Valor Natural.

Visit www.planosdiretores.com.br/ for information on Brazilian conservation action plans in Portuguese.