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Protected Areas in Brazil

Brazil is characterized by a complex system of conservation units. As a matter of fact, 2,61% of the national territory is covered by strict protected areas and 5,52% by areas dedicated to sustainable development, for a total of 8,13% of the national territory. However, this figure is slightly overestimated, since many areas of environmental protection (APAs) include one or more conservation units dedicated to indirect use.
The conservation units managed by Instituto Brasileiro de Meio Ambiente e dos Recursos Naturais Renovaveis (IBAMA) cover approximately 45 million hectares and include about 256 conservation units of direct or indirect use, among which Areas of Environmental Protection, Biological Reserves, Ecological Stations, National Forests, Areas of Considerable Ecological Interest, National Parks, several Natural Heritage Private Reserves, and Wildlife Sanctuaries.
There are also several conservation units that are managed by the Brazilian states, and cover about 22 million hectares.
Moreover, there are wetlands protected as Ramsar sites:

* Reserva de Desenvolvimento Sustentado Mamirauá
* Área de Proteção Ambiental da Baixada Maranhense
* Parque Nacional da Lagoa do Peixe
* Área de Proteção Ambiental das Reentrâncias Maranhenses
* Parque Estadual Marinho do Parcel de Manuel Luiz
* Parque Nacional do Araguaia
* Parque Nacional do Pantanal Matogrossense
* Reseva Particular do Patrimônio Natural do SESC Pantanal

and Biosphere Reserves:

* Reserva da Biosfera da Mata Atlântica
* Reserva da Biosfera do Cerrado
* Reserva da Biosfera do Pantanal

Main Categories of Protected Areas

Area of Environmental Protection: it is a rather large area characterized by a considerable population density and with abiotic, biotic, aesthetic, or cultural features of great importance, above all for the quality of life and well-ness of man. Protecting biological diversity, regulating the settlement processes, and ensuring the sustainable use of natural resources are among its main aims.

Wildlife Sanctuary: this protected area aims at protecting the natural environments ensuring the conditions for the survival and reproduction of species or communities belonging to the local flora and to resident or migratory fauna.

Biological Reserve: it aims at strictly safeguarding the natural aspects within its borders, avoiding direct human interference or environmental changes, through measures to recover altered ecosystems and management actions necessary to recover or maintain the natural balance, biological diversity, and natural ecological processes.

Ecological Station: it aims at safeguarding nature and carrying out scientific research activities.

National Park: it aims at preserving natural ecosystems of great beauty and ecological importance, giving the opportunity to carry out scientific research activities or developing environmental education and interpretation activities, as well as promoting recreational activities at direct contact with nature and ecological tourism.

Area of Considerable Ecological Interest: not very large area, with a scarce population density and extraordinary natural features of great importance at a regional and local level.

Sustainable Development Reserve: natural area including traditional populations whose existence is based on sustainable systems of exploitation of the natural resources which have been developed generation after generation and adapted to local ecological conditions. They play an essential role in the protection of nature and maintenance of biological diversity.

Source: Instituto Brasileiro de Meio Ambiente e dos Recursos Naturais Renovaveis (IBAMA), Ministério do Meio Ambiente

Tumucumaque

Tumucumaque Mountains National Park lies in a large and continuous belt of pristine forests of 3,870,000 hectares, an area equal to Belgium, in the northwestern portion of Brazil’s Amapá State, with a very small area inthe Pará State. It covers most of the boundary between Brazil and French Guyana. Created in August 2002, the park is part of a large forest block composed of three indigenous lands (Tumucumaque, Land Waiapi, and Rio Paru D’Oeste) and four protected areas (National Forest Amapá, Sustainable Development Reserve do Rio Iratapuru, Ecological Station Jari and Extractive Reserve do Rio Cajari) that altogether encompass around 11,000,000 hectares, one of the world’s largest continuous block of protected area. The park is estimated to harbor at least 37 lizard species, 350 birdspecies and 7 primate species. These numbers represent 42 percent, 31percent and 12 percent of all species of these respective taxonomic groups recorded so far in Brazil’s Amazonia. Several species whose populations have declined in other parts of their ranges are also present, such as the jaguar, giant anteater, giant armadillo, harpy eagle, the black spider monkey, the brown-bearded saki monkey and white-faced saki monkey. Several kinds of macaws, parrots, guans, hummingbirds and large fruit-eating canopy bird species are still found in abundance.

Cabo Orange

This National Park is the only one in the Amazon rainorest on the coastline. The vegetation and fauna found there is slightly different from the other parks, since it is influenced by the Atlantic ocean ecosystem. This Park has some infrastructure but just for their permanent staff, not for visitors yet. Nevertheless it’s possible to visit the park by boat from the Oiapoque city in the Amapa state of Brazil . It’s a unique place to see the transition of two very different ecosystems, the Amazon rainforest and the Atlantic Ocean .
Located in Amapá State it occupies an area of 619,000 hectares with predominant terra firme dense forest, mangrove and a peninsula 150 km long which stretching out 10km into the sea. It was created in 1980 and it encompasses a large part of the Macapá-Oiapoque Fluvial Marine Plain in quaternary soil with sand , silt, and clay sediments. Its area is predominantely marine with an extensive plain formed by fluvial and marine deposits, mangroves covered by savannahs and dense forest in contact with terciary soil and mangroves. It is also constitues restingas being subject to periodic floodings.
It is an area of difficult access due to the water and entangling of roots.
Its fauna is very rich and diverse because of habitat diversification. Standing out are the sea turtle and birds especially guará and flamingo close to extinction. Other bird species found in the park are ducks, herons and psitacideous. Among the important mammals there are the also endengered sea and river manatees. Racoons, otters, jaguars, guaribas, squirrel monkeys, capybaras, tapirs, giant otters, giant anteaters, great long-nosed armadillos, sucuaranas and red-brocket deers among others live in the park.
Relative humidity is higher than 80%. The area is of difficult access being reached from the coast or Cassiporé river.

Viruá

The Viruá National Park includes more than 227,000 ha and is located in the Municipality of Caracaraí (RR). The name derives from a stream that rises withing the park. The climate is equatorial (hot and humid), with a short dry season, with higher rainfall in the autumn. The area includes a large almost flat plain, with a predominance of poorly drained soils, with a large quantity of lakes. Towards the north, there are low residual hills. O the western side, delimited by the Rio Branco, there are alluvial flood-plains, which also occur in the South, along the River Anauá.
O acesso é feito através da BR-174 de Boa Vista até Caracaraí, e de lá, por via fluvial, através do rio Branco. A unidade é nova e está em implantação, não estando ainda aberta à visitação pública.  Na sua maior parte, a área compreende uma vasta superfície praticamente plana, com predomínio de solos arenosos, e mal drenados, com grande quantidade de lagoas. Na sua parte norte, ocorrem morros residuais com altitudes modestas. Ao longo de sua extensão oeste, delimitada pelo rio Branco, há ocorrência de planícies aluvionares inundáveis, situação observada também em sua porção sul ao longo do rio Anauá. Possui alta heterogeniedade ambiental, com presença de Campos e Cerrados, Florestas Densas e Abertas, Serras Isoladas, com razoável diversidade e endemismo em sua flora. Existe uma diversidade de espécies registradas, aves migratórias como o tuiuiu (Jabiru mycteria) e a águia pescadora (Pandion haliaetus); aves relacionadas a ambientes encharcados como a garça branca (Egretta thula), o socó-boi (Tigrosoma lineatum), a jaçanã (Jaçanã jaçana) e outras em extinção como a onça pintada (Panthera onça), a suçuarana (Felis Pardalis), a anta (Tapirus terrestris) e outras.

Serra da Mocidade

O lugar é uma das regiões com maior diversidade biológica da Amazônia, pois fica entre dois biomas distintos: terrenos sazonalmente alagáveis da bacia do Rio Branco e trechos de terra firme sobre rochas Pré-Cambrianas. A beleza cênica existente nos 350.960 mil hectares da reserva deu o nome do parque. Criado em 1998, o parque faz divisa com a reserva dos povos indígenas Yanomami, que habitam o local há muito tempo.
Localização: A unidade fica no município de Caracaraí, em Roraima.O acesso é feito em Boa Vista pela BR-174 seguindo mais 130 km de estrada asfaltada até Caracaraí. Chegando em Caracaraí, deve-se pegar a margem direita do rio Branco até o rio Água Boa do Univini, e navegar por aproximadamente cinco horas de barco. Atrativos Naturais: O parque ainda é novo e não está aberto para visitantes, mas suas belezas cênicas encantam os poucos privilegiados que podem entrar. Curiosidades: Está sendo estudada a possibilidade de o parque virar uma grande área para recreação.

Monte Roraima

Monte Roraima National Park, created in 1989, covers an area of 116,000 hectares to the north of Brazil, in the state of Roraima  on the border with Guyana and Venezuela. It is a region of beautiful savannah, intersected by rivers and waterfalls and is the location of one of the highest mountains in Brazil, Monte Roraima, 2,727 metres high. Shaped like a table, the Indians have named it “trepui”. It is an immense plateau surrounded by savannah bordering the tropical forests of the Rivers Amazon and Arenoso. The mountain was the inspiration for Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s “The Lost World”.