State of Amazonas safeguards world's richest biodiversity with six new protected areas

Durban, South Africa Sept. 10, 2003 The state government of Amazonas, Brazil announced today the creation of six new protected areas covering 3.8 million hectares of the world's most biodiversity-rich territory. The new areas cover a region the size of Belgium or Costa Rica and bring the state's overall protected area coverage to more than 40 percent.

Amazona's Secretary of Sustainable Development and the Environment (SES) Virgilio Viana made the announcement during the World Parks Congress (WPC) in Durban, South Africa.

The six new areas are: the Rio Urub State Forest (45,000 hectares), the Cuieiras State Park (55,800 ha), the Cujubim Sustainable Development Reserve (2,450,381 ha.), the Catu-Ipixuna Extractive Reserve (216,874 ha), the Piagau-Purus Sustainable Development Reserve (1,008,167 ha) and the Samama State Park (51 ha).

"This is a concrete example of the government of Amazona's commitment to conserve its natural resources," said Conservation International (CI) President Russell Mittermeier. "Conservation International is supporting this initiative with at least a 1-million dollar investment to guarantee that all of these conservation initiatives are implemented."

The Cujubim protected area is the result of the joint effort between the environment secretariat, CI-Brazil and the Djalma Batista Foundation.

"Before creating this reserve of gigantic proportions we studied the biology, economy and social conditions of the region," said Amazonas Governor Eduardo Braga. "Protecting these natural resources is no mere accident but the result of extensive planning, which will guarantee that Cujubim effectively protects one of the highest biodiversity regions in the world."

The reserve is rich in aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems, including six types of distinct vegetation, including dense forests and seasonally-flooded wetlands. According to preliminary data, the region holds 450 species of birds, 180 mammals (in

Contact: Jason Anderson
Conservation International

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