Greenpeace welcomes protected areas in south Amazonas and calls on other states to follow

Press release - 17 December, 2004
Greenpeace today welcomed the announcement of the creation of a "mosaic" of protected areas covering more than three million hectares of forest, an area the size of Belgium, in the Brazilian Amazon.

Amazon river and rainforest, Brazil.

The Amazonas State Government announced the nine Conservation Units (1) to help curb deforestation and forest destruction which are aggressively advancing from the State of Mato Grosso into the south of Amazonas. The Brazilian Amazon has lost more than 20 million hectares of forest since the Earth Summit in Rio in 1992.

"The mosaic in the south of Amazonas will help to curb deforestation caused by soya plantations and cattle ranching, as well as other environmental destruction, such as land grabbing (2) from Mato Grosso into Amazonas. We urge other Amazon States, such as Para and Mato Grosso, to follow the example and create more protected areas," said Paulo Adario, Greenpeace Amazon Campaign Coordinator.

Greenpeace is particularly pleased with the creation of the Sucunduri State Park, one third of the total protected areas announced yesterday. This intact and little known forest area has very peculiar geological aspects and is a unique biodiversity hotspot. Greenpeace will support the implementation of the Conservation Units and campaign for the adoption of Forest Stewardship Council™ (3) standards in logging operations in the sustainable use areas.

All over the world Greenpeace works for the adoption of a network of protected areas and areas of sustainable use to stop the alarming loss of biodiversity and to reduce poverty of the forest dwelling peoples. In the Amazon, the establishment of conservation units and indigenous lands have proved to be efficient tools to combat deforestation and land grabbing.

Notes: (1) The mosaic in the South Amazonas includes two full conservation areas and seven sustainable use areas.(2) Illegal land grabs have become one of the most powerful means of land-based domination in the Amazon - resulting in a major social disparity. Known as "grilagem" in Brazil, the falsification of land titles is the method employed by a large number of loggers, cattle ranchers and land speculators to exploit public land. Illegal landholders take over public lands by forging titles of ownership with the complicity of land registration offices, and by using violence to expel informal settlers and Indian communities who have legitimate rights to the lands.(3) The FSC® uses independent third party certification to verify that forests are managed in an environmentally and socially responsible manner and employs a chain-of- custody system to track raw materials from the forest through to the finished product. The 'FSC®' label allows consumers to distinguish forests products coming from responsible forestry and creates economic incentives to lure forest-related industries into adopting sustainable practices.