De-protection of Protected Areas in Brazil ramps up

31 October 2014

Recent analyses of Protected Area Downgrading, Downsizing and Degazettement (PADDD) by Enrico Bernard from the Department of Zoology of the Federal University of Pernambuco in Brazil, published in the journal Conservation Biology in early January, reveal however, that the “lungs of the world” might have some difficulty breathing for us in the future.

Despite significant expansions in protected areas since the mid-2000s, PA formation has stagnated in Brazil since 2009.

“We identified 93 events that changed the boundaries or categories of Brazilian CUs in the last 31 years: 5 downgrading, 26 downsizing, 11 degazetting, 49 reclassifying, and 2 upgrading,” note Bernard and colleagues in their article.

Degazettement is defined as the complete revoking of protected area status, effectively removing all security a piece of land may enjoy from being exploited. According to Bernard, of all of these PADDD events, 42.3 percent occur in the Amazon Basin, affecting an area slightly larger than the state of West Virginia. While most of the affected area falls under the category of downsizing and downgrading, 17 percent was legally degazetted.

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