A Virtual Living Laboratory Created as Amazonas Attempts to Halt Deforestation in Southern Part of State. Three Million Hectares Conserved.
- In an effort to halt illegal land occupancy and deforestation, the Governor of the State of Amazonas, Eduardo Braga, has signed a decree creating nine new areas of conservation in the southern part of the state totaling 3,070,058 hectares.
�The creation of these conservation areas in the south of the state of Amazonas is one of the most effective actions taken in recent years and will help to stop the deforestation of the Amazon,� said Jos� Maria Cardoso da Silva, vice president of science for Conservation International.
The new conservation area was created from nine regions within the state, which include portions of the municipalities of Apu� and Manicor�, Parque Estadual do Sucunduri (1,055,840 hectares), Parque Estadual do Guariba (72,296 hectares), Reserva de Desenvolvimento Sustent�vel Bararati (153,083 hectares), Reserva de Desenvolvimento Sustent�vel Aripuan� (260,380 hectares), Reserva Extrativista do Guariba (180,904 hecatare), Floresta Estadual de Manicor� (171,300 hectares), Floresta Estadual de Aripuan� (369,337 hectares), Floresta Estadual de Sucunduri (573,761 hectares) and Floresta Estadual do Apu� (232,935 hectares).
�Protection of natural ecosystems, our natural heritage, promoting sustainable usage of natural resources and improving the quality of life of the indigenous populations of the state is a great challenge that requires new values, attitudes and strong public participation. The creation of these protected areas will help us stop the deforestation and destruction of the rich natural patrimony of Amazonas,� said Eduardo Braga, governor of the state of Amazonas. �This is a commitment of the state to conserve the biodiversity as well as improving the quality of life of the people whom depend on the forest. It is the basis for our plan of development, which we call �The Green Zone.�
Financial and technical support for the project came from the ARPA Project (Brazilian Ministry of the Environment), the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, WWF-Brazil and Conservation International (CI).
The new conservation area is a true living laboratory�forests dominate the area and contain a large diversity of plant life. There also are islands of savannahs isolated within seas of trees. It is estimated that there exists more than 500 species of birds and at least 14 primates, along with large mammals, such as tapirs and jaguars, which are still abundant. The rivers hold a great number of endemic species of fish, many of which are unknown to science.
These conservation areas serve as a center for the implementation of the corridor of biodiversity of the Ec�tonos Sul-Amaz�nicos, which is an extensive region that includes the states of Amazonas, Rond�nia, Par� and Mato Grosso. Together with adjacent protected and indigenous lands in Amazonas and Par�, the total conservation area protects about 8 million hectares, which is larger than the state of Amazonas.
The new conservation area was created as a result of various studies and meetings with numerous organizations and officials in the region.
�This is not a proposal from the top down. It is a result of working with local groups to guarantee the biological integrity of the region while at the same time promoting sustainable development,� stated Rita Mesquita, head of the Department of Special Programs, Secretary of Environment and Sustainable Development of the State of Amazonas.
�(In addition) the State of Amazonas has shown that it is possible to conserve land and improve the quality of life of indigenous populations. These areas of conservation, for example, are composed of areas that are protected state parks, which are designated for research and ecotourism as well as areas for sustainable development,� said Virgilio Viana, Secretary of the Environment and Sustainable Development of the State of Amazonas.
For additional information on CI Brazil, visit www.conservacao.org.