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Creation of New Protected Areas in the Amazon; Good News, But Not Enough to Save It, Says WWF.

Washington, DC, May 12, 2008 – The announcement by Brazilian President, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva of the creation of approximately 7,828,938.5 acres of new federal protected areas in the Amazon: the Jarí National Park, Iquiri National Forest, Middle Purus Extractive Reserve, and the expansion of the Balata-Tufari National Forest is a positive step but only one of many which will be needed to save the Amazon, according to WWF.

The announcement of the new protected areas was made late Friday, May 8 at the Presidential Palace in Brasilia during a ceremony that launched the Sustainable Amazon Program (or PAS for its acronym in Portuguese).

Denise Hamú, CEO of WWF-Brazil, recognized that the recently announced reformulation of initiatives to combat deforestation in the Amazon, and the expansion and creation of new protected areas in the Amazon, announced on May 8, are both important steps. Nonetheless, she considers that there is still a lot more to be done.

“WWF was expecting a more substantial announcement from the Federal Government, including forestry policies aimed at developing state capacity, the strengthening of partnerships with the civil society, and the establishment of an efficient territorial zoning, especially for land-reform management,” said Hamú.

The new protected areas are located in the surrounding region of the Porto Velho-Manaus federal Highway (BR-319), an expanse that was enacted by the government in January of 2006 as an Area under Provisional Administrative Jurisdiction (Área sob Limitação Administrativa Provisória – ALAP). WWF-Brazil provided financial and technical support in the assessment process that resulted on the proposal of a “mosaic” of 13 protected areas – including the new PA announced on May 8 – with a total of 23,263,701.5 acres, 29% of which would be strictly protected, and 71% designated for sustainable use.    

One of the four created protected area sites, the Middle Purus Extractive Reserve is part of the Amazon Region Protected Areas Program (ARPA), which is supporting its implementation.

Notes to the Editor

About ARPA

The Amazon Region Protected Areas (ARPA) Program is an undertaking of the Brazilian Government supported by the World Bank, the Global Environmental Facility (GEF), the German Development Bank (KfW), the Brazilian Biodiversity Fund (FUNBIO), WWF, and others to safeguard the Brazilian Amazon while helping to meet the needs of its people.

ARPA commenced operations in 2002 and over its ten-year duration is securing long-term protection for some of the Amazon’s most important biological and ecological features in a system of well-managed parks and reserves, administering an area 50 percent larger than the entire U.S. National Park system at a small fraction of the cost.  In protecting key portions of the Amazon forest, ARPA is also providing security to numerous local communities that depend on the forest, while protecting an amazing assortment of bird, mammal, fish, reptile, and amphibian species.