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Creating National Parks

The Apui Mosaic (see map) is the size of Belgium with nine connected reserves. Seven of the reserves are for sustainable development. Two state parks are nature preserves. The Brazilian government, other governments, and environmental groups from around the world, are working together to set aside, and protect, a full third of the Amazon.

June 23, 2005 - By Melissa Mathis, Greenspan


ollowing the inception of the Tumucumague National Park, Brazil created several other reserves to preserve the land, and ensure the survival of species such as the jaguar and harpy eagle.

Chandless State Park was created in Brazil's Acre state - on the border of Peru. The Park encompasses 2,300 miles. It was named in honor of William Chandless: he explored rivers in Brazil in the mid 1800's. Chandless State Park will now receive funding and assistance from the ARPA program (Amazon Region Protected Areas). The program is a system of newly created parks and sustainable reserves. It triples the amount of existing protected areas in the Amazon rainforest.

In Brazil's Amazonas state, the government established six reserves. This doubles the state's protected areas. One reserve was created as a tribute to Dr. Jose Marcio Ayres. He was a forest ecologist for the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) who passed away in 2003. The  Piagaçu-Purus Sustainable Development Reserve encompasses 5 million acres, and it supports several local communities. Species such as river dolphins live in the new reserve. "Piagacu - Purus in particular uses the same model developed by Dr. Ayres in the Mamirauá and Amara Sustainable Development Reserves where residents balance conservation and development in a manner we should all strive to achieve. These reserves realize his vision," said Dr. Steven Sanderson, president of the Wildlife Conservation Society.

The other new Amazonas state reserves are Samauma and Cuieras State Parks, the Cuyubim Sustainable Development Reserve, the Rio Urubu State Forest, and the Catua - Pixuna Extractive Reserve.

Amapa State in Brazil has a much greater percentage of intact original vegetation than other parks of the Amazon basin - 96 percent. The governor Waldez Góes of Amapa announced that a corridor will be created linking twelve areas of pristine rainforest totaling 25 million acres. The park system will encompass 70 percent of Amapa. It will be the world's largest patch of protected tropical rainforest. Nine primate species, jaguars, and over 500 bird species call the new corridor their home. The inception of this corridor brings the amount of protected land in the state to over 10 million hectares.

A large amount of land in a single reserve is able to encompass and protect many more varieties of species than smaller separate ones. Linking the fragmented ecosystems together allows large predators to move through much more of their hunting territory without interference, and migratory animals can follow their instinctive seasonal routs without disturbance.

The President of Brazil, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, signed two new reserves into effect, placing an additional two million hectares of the Amazon rainforest under government protection. The Verde Para Sempre (Forever Green) and Riozinho do Anfrisio extractive reserves (protected areas for sustainable use), are in Para state, Brazil.

The reserves will sustain the local population of some 2,500 families. Local communities co-op the reserves for low-impact rubber-tapping and other activities. "It's time to celebrate. The legacy of Chico Mendes has been honored, said Paulo Adario of Greenpeace.

The Verde Para Sempre reserve is near the city of Porto de Moz where many farmers and logging companies created a veritable battleground by illegally occupying community areas. They will be ousted, and only those with legitimate titles and valid legal documents will receive any financial compensation.

The Riozinho do Anfrisio reserve covers 1,818,656 acres (736,000 hectares), and it is home to about 220 people. They will be provided with legal documentation to legalize their claim to their land.

In Brazil's Amazonas state, nine protected areas were created. The Governor of the state of Amazonas, Eduardo Braga, signed a decree protecting an additional 3,069,836 hectares in the southern part of the state. They are: Floresta Estadual do Apuí (232,935 hectares), Floresta Estadual de Aripuanã (369,337 hectares), Floresta Estadual de Manicoré (171,300 hectares), Floresta Estadual de Sucunduri (573,761 hectares), Parque Estadual do Guariba (72,296 hectares, Parque Estadual do Sucunduri (1,055,840 hectares), Reserva de Desenvolvimento Sustentável Aripuanã (260,380 hectares), Reserva de Desenvolvimento Sustentável Bararati (153,083 hectares), Reserva Extrativista do Guariba (180,904 hecatare).

Financial and technial support for the areas comes from ARPA (Amazon Region Protected Areas). The areas are a living laboratory; 14 primates, jaguares, tapires, and over 500 species of bird live in the region. The rivers are abundant with fish populations. Many are still unknown.

"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 designed 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.

The Apui Mosaic covers a territory that is almost the size of Belgium. It is comprised of nine interconnected conservation areas: two state parks emphasizing nature protection, four state forests focusing on sustainable forest management, and three extrative and sustainable reserves that provide options for indigenous populations to practice sustainable farming and harvesting. This will help curtail illegal use, and deforestation of public lands.

The Amazon Rainforest of Brazil covers about 2.2 million square miles. The Brazilian government, other governments and environmental groups from around the world, have worked together to set aside a full third of the Amazon rainforest for protection. It will be fully enforced by the year 2012. The ARPA program sets aside 50 million hectares of Amazon rainforest under federal protection. This includes samples of all 23 eco-regions of the Amazon rainforest.  (Read More)

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