The Amazon Region Protected Areas (ARPA) program is a sweeping safeguard for the Amazon rain forest. It will ensure the survival of Earth's richest biological treasures. This is a partnership with the Brazilian Government, the Brazilian Biodiversity Fund (FUNBIO), the German Development Bank (KFW), the Global Environmental Facility, Greenspan, WWF, Conservation International, and many others. It's a ten year effort to save an additional 33% of the Amazon rain forest.

July, 3, 2004 - By Melissa Mathis, Greenspan

The Brazilian Amazon basin contains the largest tropical rain forest reserve.

PLAN TO SAVE THE AMAZON  President Cardoso of Brazil signed an agreement to preserve 1/3rd of the Amazon.

TUMUCUMAQUE    (too-moo-koo-mah-kay) was the first ARPA reserve. It's four times the size of Yellowstone.

Creating National Parks  A full third of the Amazon rainforest was set to be preserved.

ARPA RESERVES  View a list of reserves.

Brazil creates largest rainforest reserve.
It covers an area the size of Switzerland.

New Green Corridor Creates Brazilian 'Super-Park'  This "conservation corridor" links 25 million acres of pristine wilderness.

Apui Mosaic A a mosaic of protected areas totaling over three million hectares in the Brazilian state of  Amazonas was created.

Brazil Creates Two Rainforest Reserves
They protect two million hectares.

NEW AMAZON RESERVE The creation of Chandless State Park is larger than the state of  Delaware.

Brazil Takes Action.

Forest Clings on in Brazil   A few hotspots hold the key to saving endangered species.

Are Rainforests Worth Saving?

THE AMAZON   is home to over half of the world's species. It's the lungs of the planet, and the pharmacy of the world.

Recently, the most important step towards staggering the rate of destruction to the rain forests has been taken, with optimum results. The most ambitious rain forest initiative ever, the Amazon Region Protected Areas (ARPA) program, will preserve an additional full third of the Amazon.

Over 81 million dollars has been generated towards this program to protect the land indefinitely; the projected amount necessary to secure the area's future is $395 million. The funding allows for forest rangers and surveillance equipment to combat illegal logging and poaching, and also takes into account an emergency management plan.

Because of this program, the world's largest reserve is now the Tumucumaque Mountains National Park - consisting of 9,500,000 acres of pristine rain forest land. President Cardoso of Brazil said of the park, "Plants and animals that are endangered elsewhere will continue to thrive in our forests forever." About 30% of the world's animal, plant, and insect life inhabit Tumucumaque.

This is a viable step towards not only conservation but also impending breakthroughs in medical research that have previously been stonewalled. In Malaysia, a single species of tree (Calophyllum Lanigerum) is being studied for extracts which scientists have high hopes for implementing cures for HIV and AIDS as well as tuberculosis. It will save millions of lives all around the world.

Today, over 100 separate pharmaceutical companies as well as several branches of the U.S. government (including giants like Merck and the National Cancer Institute) are looking to the rain forests for untold cures waiting to be discovered. The best examples of rain forest plants that have already produced lifesaving drugs are vincristine and vinblastine (from the rosy periwinkle). They have given leukemia victims a 99% chance of remission and Hodgkin's disease sufferers a 70% chance of remission. These drugs have also been proven to combat advanced forms of breast cancer. 25% of the active ingredients in today's cancer-fighting drugs come from organisms only found in the rain forest. The U.S. National Cancer Institute has identified 3,000 plants that are active against cancer cells; 70% of these are found only in the rain forest.

Half of all modern medicines are derived solely from rain forest plants. Prominent examples are: novocaine, turbocuarine (a muscle relaxant used for surgery, Parkinson's disease, and multiple sclerosis), cortisone (an active ingredient in birth control pills), and quinine for anti-malarial and pneumonia. The amount of medicines and their benefits are staggering.

90% of all species call the rain forests across the world their home, and only 1% of them have been studied for their potential medicinal properties.

The first major step to break the pattern of destruction has been taken. The world is waking up. Everyone can take part in striving towards conserving the land, ensuring that species survive, and guaranteeing that potential medical advancements are developed. Please join us, and act now.                Go back to reading list.

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