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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.

For more information, contact:
  • , President, Instituto Amigos da Reserva da Biosfera da Mata Atlantica, and President, National Council of the Mata Atlântica Biosphere Reserve
  • , Executive Coordinator of the Serra do Mar Mosaic Project
  • , Manager for Institutional Affairs, Ministry of the Environment

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© CI, Haroldo Castro
The Serra dos Órgãos National Park near Rio de Janeiro is one of the parks that will be better protected under the new mosaics.

© CI, Haroldo Castro
Local people in Serra da Mantiqueira, an area in the boundary region of São Paulo, Minas Gerais, and Rio de Janeiro, will benefit from improved management of the protected areas.

Brazilian President Signs Law to Protect Remaining Atlantic Forest
President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva signed a new law that ensures the survival of the last remaining tracts of Brazil’s Atlantic Forest. Read more.

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Photo credits for banner images: (Frog) © CI, Haroldo Castro; (Chameleon) © CI, Russell A. Mittermeier