Annual and cumulative deforestation in protected areas in the Amazon, 2008-2015. Graphic: Inpe and Prodes, 2016

[Translation by Google.]

9 April 2016 (Imazon) – Creating Protected Areas (PAs) has been one of the most effective strategies to protect the Amazon rainforest, its benefits and the rights of use of the region's people. Currently, PAs total approximately 112 million hectares, or 27%, of the territory of the Brazilian Amazon.  However, in 2013, the Audit Court (TCU) and United (TCE) found that only 4% of protected areas had a high degree of implementation, that is, were receiving inputs (resources, tools and infrastructure) necessary for its management and fully achieving its objectives.

Lack or failure of implementation makes it vulnerable to the illegal exploitation of products (e.g., wood) and the occupation of land grabbers in thousands of hectares.  Forty-six (92%) of the 50 (92%) most deforested protected areas of the Amazon between 2012 and 2014 had low or medium implementation.

Between 2008 and 2015, 467,000 hectares [1,153,982 acres] were deforested in protected areas of the region, destroying about 233 million trees and causing the death or displacement of about 8.3 million birds and 271,000 monkeys.  We estimate that the burning of vegetation in deforested area in the Amazon protected areas has resulted in the issuance of 29 million tons of carbon dioxide equivalent per year between 2008 and 2015, comparable to the emission of this gas by 10 million cars per year (i.e., the equivalent to the emissions of 20% of the car fleet in Brazil).

To improve the management of protected areas, TCU and TCEs determined environmental agencies to submit an action plan, making several recommendations.  We evaluated the responses of nine environmental agencies to those recommendations and found that only 4% of the proposals made for all environmental agencies predicted implementation plan.  Loose plans would result in a discouraging future considering that TCU estimated that kept recent investments, it would take 100 years to complete the regularization of UCs.  On the other hand, there are analyzes showing sources of funding to ensure that these areas are protected and bring benefits to the local and regional population. For the effective protection scenario to occur, persistent actions of the management bodies of protected areas and supervisors, such as the Audit Courts and the Public Prosecutor, will be needed.

For this, we recommend three main approaches:

Responsible managers for damage to public property. Whereas the responses to recommendations for improved management have been insufficient, we recommend that the Audit Court, the prosecutors and the judiciary promote more forceful actions to ensure the protection of public property, including measures to directly accountable managers for their actions and omissions that result in damage to protected areas. The priority areas to combat the damage would be those who have suffered from illegal occupation and illegal exploitation of resources, such as wood. The analysis we conducted of the responses of each environmental agency can be used to facilitate such accountability actions.

Stop deforestation in protected areas. Stop deforestation and degradation within protected areas to a maximum of 2017 would be a sufficiently clear and feasible goal to mobilize and focus the efforts. Our analyzes show that most deforestation is concentrated in 50 protected areas in the region, which should receive greater attention. In addition, the region around large infrastructure projects should be the focus of preventive action, which has not happened due to projects already underway.

Promote the sustainable use of protected areas. To increase local interest in the integrity of protected areas it is important to promote the sustainable use of these areas, including tourism activities, scientific research and forest management.  For example, visitation to national parks can generate annually up to R $ 1.8 billion for the regions where they are located.  Some protected areas in the Amazon already receive visitors, but lack structure to receive them and to generate revenue, such as input control and charging admission. The state and federal governments should quickly submit plans for the use of protected areas with the greatest potential benefits for the regional population.  To accelerate the use of PAs is possible to adopt the Public Private Partnerships (PPP), which guarantee agility to service and require low investment the government.

Download the file here [pdf].

See here the online version of the publication.

Quais os planos para proteger as Unidades de Conservação vulneráveis da Amazônia?



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