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Environment and History

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Environment and History

Brazilian Federal Conservation Units: A Historical Overview of their Creation and of their Current Status

José Augusto Drummond, José Luiz de Andrade Franco and Alessandra Bortoni Ninis

Environment and History 15 (2009): 463-491. doi: 10.3197/096734009X12532652872036

This paper provides a historical overview of the formation of the system of federal conservation units existent in Brazil as of 2006 and examines selected aspects of their current status. The text focuses on the following dimensions of these units - the creation of multiple categories, legal bases, age, number, absolute and average sizes, distribution by regions and by biomes, according to groups and categories. Major findings are that (1) much progress has been attained in the creation of conservation units, in terms of legal bases, diversified categories, numbers and areas, and coverage of Brazilian regions and biomes; (2) there is a deficit to be filled by the creation of numerous units, in order to make the system more efficient and encompassing and to honour the commitments made in international forums; (3) despite this need for physical expansion, the rather extensive set of existing conservation units already demands more than the existing energy, expertise and funding to be adequately managed.

KEYWORDS: Brazil, environmental policy, protected areas, tropical biodiversity, national parks, national forests, biological preserves

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