Saturday, November 21, 2009

Biodiversity's Bright Spot

The journal, Nature, has an outstanding success story about efforts to protect Brazil's Atlantic Coastal Forest:

Stemming the deforestation required a broad set of measures: new laws and governmental incentives, the commitment of researchers and conservationists, increased funding from international donors and the Brazilian government, and a growing community awareness. Lately, a boost has come from efforts to emphasize the forest's value as a source of water, a draw for ecotourism and a generator of other ecosystem services.

International pressure has also helped. Through the Convention on Biological Diversity, countries have committed to slow the rate of biodiversity loss and to protect 10% of their ecoregions by 2010. Although few nations will meet these goals, Brazil has set aside 16% of its land. Most of this is in the Amazon, but the biodiversity treaty has put pressure on Brazilian authorities to establish state parks in the Atlantic forest southwest of São Paulo, says Oliver Hillel, an officer in the convention's secretariat in Montreal, Canada.

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