Durban, South Africa - The Brazilian state of Amapá announced today the creation of a 10-million hectare Biodiversity Corridor that covers 71 percent of the state, blankets the world's largest tropical rainforest park and safeguards hundreds of unique plant and animal species. Amapá Governor Waldez Góes made the announcement during the 5th World Parks Congress in Durban, South Africa.
The Amapá Biodiversity Corridor is slightly larger than Portugal and covers a variety of ecosystems, from mangroves to tropical forests. It wraps around the borders of the state to encompass 12 protected areas and four indigenous reserves. Among the corridor's jewels is Tumucumaque National Park, which at 3.87 million hectares is the world's largest tropical forest park.
"With the creation of this Biodiversity Corridor, the State of Amapá can begin managing these areas in an integrated way," said Góes. "This will allow us to make economic activity in the region more compatible with conservation."
The new corridor is home to nine primate species and more than 500 bird species. It also harbors innumerable charismatic fauna that are on the decline in other parts of the country like jaguars (Panthera onca), cougars (Puma concolor), the bearded saki monkey (Chiropotes chiropotes) and the black spider monkey (Ateles paniscus). Birds, like the greater flamingo (Phoenicopterus ruber) and the scarlet ibis (Eudocimus ruber), which are threatened in other parts of Brazil, are still bountiful here.
The state of Amapá sits on the northern tip of Brazil on the border with French Guyana. At 14 million hectares, it is one of the most pristine regions of the world and researchers estimate that 96 percent of its original vegetation remains intact. The protected areas within the corridor represent a full 54.8 percent of the state's territory.
"Amapá has raised the bar in terms of conservation commitment and has set a new standard for the Amazonia and the world," said Russell Mittermeier, the president of Conservation International (CI). "The government of Amapá deserves very special recognition for what it is doing to conserve and promote the sustainable use of a very significant portion of one of the world's hotspot priority areas."
Under the agreement, the government of Amapá will invest $15 million over the course of four years and CI will invest $1.6 million through its Global Conservation Fund (CFG) to guarantee the corridor's success. Amapa's Environment Secretariat and Environmental Research Institute are supporting the process as well as the Federal University of Amapá and the Brazilian Institute for the Environment and Natural Resources (IBAMA).
"The most important lesson of this first phase of the project is that no protected area can be successfully managed in isolation," said Góes. "By implementing this corridor in partnership with Conservation International we will be able to make the critical biological, social and economic connections between these protected areas. These are complex and dynamic issues that require careful management."
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