What are Protect Areas?

It consists of areas instituted by the Public Power for conservation purposes. These enhance the natural characteristics, such as biological diversity, in addition to important scenarios, such as mountains and falls. They remain under a differentiated administrative system, to assure that they are suitably protected.

Such environmental protection areas may be private or public, in the latter case they are known as Conservation Units (UC’s). On July 18, 2000, law no. 9985 instituted a Conservation Units National System (SNUC), which divided them into two classes:

1) Sustainable Use Conservation Units:

– Areas which have their resources used in such a way as to guarantee their permanence, in addition to protecting the environmental characteristics, with the maintenance of biodiversity, in an economically feasible manner and socially fair. Examples of UCs are the Environmental Protection Areas (APA), Relevant Ecological Interest Area (ARIE), National Forests (FLONAS), Extractive Reserves (RESEX), Fauna Reserves and Sustainable Development Reserves.

2) Total Protection Units:

– It consists of ecosystems maintained without changes caused by human interference. In these areas only the indirect use of its resources is acceptable, in activities such as, for instance, ecologic tourism. This group includes the National Parks, the Biological Reserves, the Ecologic Resorts, the Wild Life Refuges and the Natural Monuments.

In addition to these two legally constituted types of Conservation Units, there is the Private Reserve of the Natural Patrimony (RPPN), which is created without requiring expropriation of land, that is, by means of a commitment with the environment freely undertaken by the rural owner.

Why create a Protected Area ?

The more emphasized objects in the creation of the Conservation Units are the maintenance of the biological and genetic diversities of the place; the protection of species threatened of extinction; the conservation of natural ecosystems, especially those already degraded; the valuation of the local economy, to socially allow the use of the potentialities of such areas; the protection and recovery of the hydric resources; the conservation of beauty of the natural landscapes; the stimulation to ecotourism and incentive to scientific research, promoting the environmental education. Factors which, added up, allow the sustainable use of the natural resources, especially required for the survival of the traditional populations.

What is Communitarian Forest Management?

One of the more effective manners of promoting sustainability is the adequate use of techniques of Communitarian Forest Management (MFC). This is a set of technical, managerial and administrative procedures allowing the production of timber and non-wood products with minimal damages to the forest (Amaral et al. 2007).

These are practices of planning of roads and branches to drag removed timber, in addition to techniques regarding the cutting of trees. This form of management is performed by the community itself, generating social, economic, legal and ecological benefits, because there is a communitarian commitment of working with income distribution to all and protection of the environment.

There are several reasons for the forest management to be used. All relate to the major object of this set of techniques: the adequate use of the natural resources. The first enhancement factor in the application of the management is the observance of the legislation, according to the Brazilian Forestry Code of 1965 (Article 15). Additionally, the application makes it possible to produce timber in the area for an undetermined period of time, using half the time required by the non-managed exploitation. The procedure reduces the risks of labor accident and generates higher profitability, since it reduces the waste of timber and increases productivity. Finally, the managed forests maintain a balance of the water cycles and carbon retention.

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