New Management Strategy for Atlantic Forest Protected Areas

Jan. 22, 2007

Brazil’s minister of the environment, Marina Silva, recently announced the creation of three new mosaics of protected areas in the Atlantic Forest biodiversity hotspot.

The mosaics, located in the Serra do Mar biodiversity conservation corridor, will benefit 51 protected areas in the states of Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo, and Minas Gerais in southeastern Brazil.

Their creation aims to bring isolated protected areas under one integrated management strategy to increase habitat protection and reduce negative pressures, such as poaching, logging, forest fires, and unplanned land occupation.

The management strategy will involve strategic coordination between the protected areas’ programs, key stakeholders in the region, and related initiatives. Additionally, efforts among environmental management organizations at the municipal, state, and federal levels, as well as private reserve owners, are set to be aligned.

With support from the Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund (CEPF), Instituto Amigos da Reserva da Biosfera da Mata Atlântica worked with governmental and nongovernmental partners to achieve this designation for better protection of the corridor as a focal area for CEPF investment.

“The mosaics are an important step toward a more effective management of these vital protected areas, which are included in the UNESCO-designated Mata Atlântica Biosphere Reserve,” said Clayton Lino, president of the Instituto Amigos da Reserva da Biosfera da Mata Atlântica. “The areas are considered a national priority for the conservation of biodiversity, freshwater, and coastal ecosystems.”

CEPF supported this project as part of its strategic direction in the hotspot of improving the management of existing and future public protected areas through targeted civil society efforts.

While it once covered 130 million hectares, the Atlantic Forest is now reduced to less than 7 percent of its surface, according to a new study by Fundação SOS Mata Atlântica and Instituto Nacional de Pesquisas Espaciais (the Brazilian National Institute for Space Research).

At the same time, the region contains approximately 70 percent of the entire Brazilian population and generates 70 percent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Conservation and restoration actions are therefore critical to guarantee water and climate conditions to maintain the quality of life of the inhabitants.

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