Brazil moves to protect Amazon's natural attractions

18th Sep 2013

When the Brazilian government makes a massive commitment to protect a chunk of the Amazon equivalent to the size of 1,360,000 football pitches, you know it must be worth preserving.

For decades, the Amazon rainforest area has held a fascination for overseas visitors, especially those on wildlife-based specialist tours or trekking holidays.

They are drawn to the region's estimated 2.5 million insect species, 40,000 plants, 2,200 fishes, 1,294 birds, 427 mammals, 428 amphibians and 378 reptiles.

One-fifth of all the planet's bird and fish species live along the Amazon.

Now the Brazilian authorities are establishing two new protected areas comprising about 2.4 million acres of remote public land in the municipality of Maués in the western part of the state Amazonas.

One park, Parauarí, spans 472,000 hectares. The other, Urupadí, safeguards an area covering 480,000 hectares.

Both areas have hitherto enjoyed no legal protection.

The Brazilian government, however, believes the latest designations should help protect the region.

Its huge rates of biodiversity had made it susceptible to encroachment and deforestation.

About 59 million hectares of land, 39 million of which is forested, presently remains legally unprotected, according to the government.

But the Brazilian authorities aren't stopping at the latest round of protection.

They are focusing major efforts on reducing deforestation, including getting a better grip on land use.

Private landowners are now required to register their properties in order to be legible for loans from state banks.

Ministers think it will now be more simple to detect illegal forest clearing by employing a satellite-based deforestation monitoring system.

Brazil boasts the biggest area of protected regions on the planet, and since 2000, this land mass has grown, most markedly in its Amazon region.

Around 850,000 sq. miles of this is now under some kind of legal protection, half of which is represented by indigenous territories.

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