WWF-Brazil backs movement to include the Cerrado as a National Heritage Site in the Brazilian constitution
Renata Andrada Peña
On Cerrado Day, the National Campaign in Defence of the Cerrado handed the president of the Chamber of Deputies’ Environment and Sustainable Development Commission, Rodrigo Agostinho (PSB-SP), a petition containing 570,000 signatures backing the approval of Proposed Constitutional Amendment (PEC) 504/2010, which would transform the Cerrado and the Caatinga biomes into National Heritage Sites.
Kolbe Soares, a conservation analyst for WWF-Brazil, believes that approval of PEC 504 is essential in guaranteeing the protection of the country’s second largest biome, which is currently the most endangered in terms of conversion of native vegetation and which is highly vulnerable to forest fires. According to data from Brazil’s National Institute for Space Research (INPE), the biome is ranked in second place in relation to increasing incidents of forest fires, representing a growth of 100% in comparison to the data for 2018.
“We hope that PEC 504 is approved, as this will help to prevent the current threats to the Cerrado and the traditional peoples and communities that suffer from this type of pressure,” states Soares. “It is also vital that our constitution recognises the importance of the Cerrado in terms of the country’s water supply and population,” he emphasises.
The Cerrado is considered to be the most biodiverse savannah on the planet. It is home to traditional peoples and communities, native fruits with a very high nutritional value, and is also where eight of Brazil’s twelve principal hydrographic regions are located. It also supplies six of the country’s eight large water basins. In addition, it is the location of three of Brazil’s main aquifers: Bambuí, Urucuia and Guarani. It is no surprise that it is considered to be the birthplace of the country’s waters.
PEC 504/2010 was introduced in 2010. It has been debated on various occasions in the Chamber of Deputies but it is yet to be approved. Currently, the only biomes considered to be National Heritage Sites include the Amazon, the Atlantic Rainforest, the Serra do Mar, the Pantanal and the Coastal Zone.