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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

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