Protected Area Downgrading, Downsizing and Degazzetement – PADDD trends in the Brazilian Amazon

julho, 16 2019

The study ‘PADDD trends in the Brazilian Amazon’ sought to identify the primary factors driving PADDD in Brazil
In the last years, Brazil is experiencing an unprecedented offensive against protected areas. Pressures to undo or reduce the size or protection status of these areas promoted by legislators and with strong lobby from ruralist and mining sectors have found room to thrive, with the support from the Executive. 
The conflict of interest is not new. On one hand, there are rural producers who occupy protected areas irregularly or would like to occupy them, mining companies or land grabbers of public lands. On the other hand, the National System of Protected Areas (SNUC), which put Brazil as the world leader in the extension of protected areas at the end of the last decade.
As one side gains momentum, the impact on protected areas can result in more deforestation in the Amazon, damaging the Brazilian targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the United Nations Climate Convention, as well as involving the dismantling of the Amazon Protected Areas Program (ARPA) and threatening compliance with the commitments made by the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD).
In order to deal with future PADDD events, in addition to concerted monitoring and advocacy with the Brazilian National Congress and state assemblies, it is critical to (1) better understand the factors at play that lead to PADDD events and (2) to map future trends of this process. 
“In this study ‘PADDD trends in the Brazilian Amazon, we have sought to identify the primary factors driving PADDD in Brazil and globally, and to develop indicators that could be mapped and overlap them with both state and federal PAs in the Amazon. Our assumption is that by using a “lens” to envision the future with a reasonable level of predictability and with the aid of objective indicators, we will be able to take preventive and effective action to safeguard protected areas”, explains Mariana Napolitano Ferreira, Science Programme Coordinator at WWF-Brazil.

Main results of the study are:
  • 110 PAs are threatened by infrastructure projects, totalling approximately 30 thousand square kilometres, mainly in the states of Pará and Amazonas. The potentially threatened area accounts for 2% of the territory covered by PAs in the biome.
  • Power generation projects in the Amazon will have a direct impact on 14 PAs and their area of influence: two are related to small hydropower plants (SHP) and 12 are related to planned hydropower plants (HPP).According to Prodes annual deforestation monitoring data from 2017, 18 PAs had more than 50% of their area already converted.
  • Regarding overlap with cattle grazing lands, most of the PAs top-ranked are Rondônia state areas. In absolute terms, those PAs that have already been subjected to PADDD proposals feature prominently in the list.
  • The applications for mining activities within PAs that have a ban on mining cover a total of 295 thousand hectares. Applications for mineral exploration permits cover an area of just over 90 thousand hectares. The area at risk from applications granting mineral extraction rights covers 16 thousand hectares in the Legal Amazon.
Campos Amazônicos National Park, Brazilian Amazon
© Ana Rafaela D'Amico