In situ Conservation of Subtropical Forests and Southern Campos of Brazil

Miguel Sereduik Milano

Universidade Federal da Paraíba
Campus Universitário, Joao Pessoa PB, Brazil.


It would not be an overstatement to say that development throughout the history of Brazil has adversely affected its essential ecological processes, reducing either directly or indirectly its biodiversity.

However, the growing concern with preserving the country's enormous biodiversity often overlooks important ecological formations, whose few remnants are now seriously threatened. This is the case with the subtropical forests and southern Campos which are formations found in the Southern Region.

This region, ranging from the states of Paraná and Santa Catarina to Rio Grande do Sul, covers 6.8% of the country's territory, containing approximately 18% of the country's population. These numbers alone would indicate a significant territorial occupation rate. But if one considers that the major economic activity is agriculture and agro-industry, then the pressure on ecological formations ­ and consequently on biodiversity - becomes obvious. The State of Paraná alone, covering only 2.4% of the country's territory, accounts for nearly 25% of the domestic food crop

If one considers the ecological formations of natural Campos one may say that the total protected area in these states covers only about 2.26% of the region's surface area.

In Paraná, 181 970 ha, or 0.90% of the state's territory, may be included in conservation units of indirect use, and 588 740 ha, or 2.93%, in conservation units of direct use. Both Araucaria­bearing subtropical forests and general Campos are poorly represented in the area.

In Santa Catarina, 49 300 ha, or 0.51 % of the state territory, are contemplated in conservation units of indirect use, and 7000 ha, or 0.07%, of direct use. The Campos and non­Araucaria-bearing forests are not apparently protected in the Sao Jaoqium National Park, since this was established in 1991 and so far not yet implemented.

In Rio Grande do Sul, 160 280 ha, or 0.5% of the state territory, may be included in conservation units (Serra National Park and Serra Geral complex), while the remaining formations are only slightly represented or are not represented at all, except for the wetlands and coastal lagoons in the southernmost area (the Taim Ecological Station and Lagoa dos Peixes National Park).

The Campos formations should be highlighted, accounting originally for 60% of the Rio Grande do Sul territory and lacking any significance from the conservation standpoint. Only in 1992 was an Environmental Protection Area (Ibirapuita) set up which, being a direct use unit, will only partially protect these formations.

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