Biodiversity in Brazil

© UNESCO/Nelson Muchagata
Caatinga - Brazilian Biosphere Reserve

Brazil is home to one of the richest biodiversities in the world (being a member of a group comprising 17 megadiverse countries). This way, the country is especially responsible for a change in concepts. Consequently, it recently started a consultation process to define public policies capable of implementing large-scale sustainable practices.

Establishing protection areas is one of the most effective instruments for conserving biodiversity. As a result, a great national effort has been exercised to create and consolidate the protected areas of the country.

To this end, the Brazilian government approved and has been implementing legal instruments practices. These are innovative frameworks as they offer the community the possibility to participate in decision-making and to apply financial mechanisms that make the system viable, as well as encouraging the conservation of natural environments. Today, the country has a little over 1,600 federal, state and private Conservation Units (CUs) that protect 16% of the continental territory and 0.5% of the marine area, which corresponds to 1,479,286 square kilometerss

Among the several challenges inherent to the consolidation of CUs in Brazil, particularly for those that comprise core zones of Brazilian biosphere reserves, the following challenges should be noted: creating and organising markets for products collected in a sustainable way; strengthening community-based productive chains, entrepreneurship in the area of ecological tourism, and incentives to encourage a low carbon economy. In addition, initiatives to make charges for environmental services, and a mechanism that generates income and encourages or compensates for environmental conservation, aim to develop CUs.

UNESCO contributes with the consolidation of the National System of Nature Conservation Units – particularly conserning the areas recognized as Biosphere Reserves and Natural World Heritage sites –, through technical cooperation and resource management to projects focused on these areas.

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