One-fifth of the biological wealth known to science in the Brazilian state of Espírito Santo is threatened with extinction, according to a new Red List for the state created in an initiative led by Instituto de Pesquisas da Mata Atlântica (IPEMA).
The Red List was recently completed during a workshop that brought together nearly 80 specialists from various parts of the country.
The results are alarming: 959 species of the state’s fauna and flora are threatened with extinction and another 40 are already considered extinct in the wild. The principle causes of extinction are the destruction of natural habitat, illegal hunting, and in aquatic areas, pollution.
“The extinction of species irrefutably reflects the advanced state of environmental degradation of Espirito Santo and, consequently, the decrease in the quality and quantity of essential resources such as air, water and cultivable soil,” said Detinha Son, technical director of IPEMA. “The conservation of biodiversity, therefore, is directly related to the quality of people’s lives, both in the countryside and in the city.”
He said the “economic cycles, the extractive culture and immediate profits without respect for nature” is an archaic and unsustainable model.
Environmentally sustainable programs, like the local TAMAR Project, succeed in generating jobs and improving the economies of small communities by integrating new economic models into their programs, he said.
IPEMA’s initiative to create the Red List for Espírito Santo received assistance from the State Government and Instituto Brasileiro do Meio Ambiente e dos Recursos Naturais Renováveis, as well as funding from the Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund.
The new Red List will now be delivered to the governor for ratification and will become part of the state policy for biodiversity conservation.
It will also strengthen actions already underway in the state by other institutions, such as the Ecological Corridors Project, environmental restoration programs, and the creation and implementation of protected areas.