The creation of Protected Areas (Conservation Units and Indigenous Lands) has been one of the most effective strategies against deforestation in the Amazon. These areas, which occupy about 44% of the Amazon, play an essential role in the conservation of natural resources (especially biodiversity) and environmental services, and ensure the rights of traditional and indigenous populations.
The current challenge is to ensure the effective protection of these territories against illegal deforestation, predatory logging and risk of disaffection. Furthermore, it is necessary to move forward the process of consolidation of these areas with the development and implementation of management plans and land regularization (where it is required).
According to Imazon’s Deforestation Alert System (SAD) at least 49 of the 660 Protected Areas in the Amazon were illegally cleared in 2013. These areas are mainly concentrated in western Pará and Rondônia. Also, 38 Protected Areas (mainly Conservation Units) had its bounds altered with a net loss of 25 thousand square kilometers of protection until the same year. In turn, by December 2013, about 32 000 square kilometers were objects of law projects and lawsuits aimed at removing its legal protection. Another important issue is the need for creation of new areas. As an example, we have the recommendation made by the environmental impact report of Belo Monte project: the creation of about 15 000 square kilometers of protected areas, which has not been heeded.
Imazon has worked in many fronts supporting the creation and consolidation of Protected Areas. Among the activities of the Institute are the monitoring of all areas with satellite images (allows the detection of deforestation and logging), studies that resulted in the creation of 25 million hectares of Protected Areas in the Amazon, and the support to the implementation of 12,9 million hectares of protected areas in Calha Norte region, in Pará.