CONSERVATION FOR LIFE
by Clóvis Borges, CEO
With its origins firmly anchored in the belief that biodiversity conservation has intrinsic values, SPVS (Wildlife Research and Environmental Education Society) was born in 1984, in the city of Curitiba in the State of Paraná. Its working agenda aims at ensuring the protection of the remaining natural areas in the highly endangered Mata Atlântica biome focusing on southern Brazil where we are based.
Since our foundation, we have made continued efforts with great determination to integrate biodiversity conservation as one of the Brazilian society priorities. Over time, we have also decided to adopt strategies that highlight the link between protected areas and the provision of environmental services.In a time when natural resources face severe threats on a scale never seen before in human history, the well-being and economic health expectations of several sectors are threatened and challenged by environmental imbalances. Thus, many stakeholders are already confronting environmental issues that threaten the sustainably of their businesses. SPVS is a solid institution that works for conserving biodiversity to preserve life.
Thanks to the robustness acquired over three decades of existence and alongside our partners, we are heading towards positioning ourselves in a way that is more compatible with the size of the challenges we have yet to face. Most of all, we continue to hold firmly to the commitments which gave rise to this institution, and which adhere to the view that biodiversity conservation is a moral and ethical imperative, and the only chance for our own survival on this planet.
ENSURING THAT EVERYTHING WE DO LEADS TO NATURE CONSERVATION
The Wildlife Research and Environmental Education Society (SPVS in its Portuguese acronym) is a Brazilian non-profit organization recognized for its technical expertise and robustness in delivering results for biodiversity conservation.
Conserving biodiversity to preserve life.
SPVS’ actions are based on the following assumption: biodiversity maintenance in adequate and sufficient areas as a primary condition to ensure society’s well-being.
SPVS applies the best practices on biodiversity conservation through innovative initiatives and the establishment of mechanisms that foster society’s involvement in conservation actions.
SPVS aims to support the establishment and maintenance of Protected Areas – public and private, to develop actions to protect and to manage threatened and vulnerable species, to implement restoration actions, to promote educational activities regarding conservation (Education for Conservation) and to engage on public policies.
OUR ACTION PRIORITIES
In situ biodiversity conservation on protected areas (public and private); Promotion of biodiversity conservation actions in urban and peri-urban areas;
Restoration projects in high priority areas for biodiversity conservation in the Mata Atlântica biome (Brazilian Atlantic Rainforest);
Improving the welfare of neighboring communities through the development of cooperative businesses;
Education for nature conservation;
Scientific research and monitoring focused on biodiversity conservation;
Climate change initiatives focused on mitigation and ecosystem-based adaptation;
Advocacy activities on nature conservation issues.
URGENCY – The Mata Atlântica Biome
The largest fragment is located along the Serra do Mar which holds 36,5% of its original vegetation in an area of more than 2 million ha. In contrast, 83.4% of the Mata Atlântica fragments are smaller than 50 ha2. Most of the remaining Mata Atlântica has lost its largest mammals, including its top predator, the jaguar (Panthera onca). If this trend continues, the Mata Atlântica will be the first tropical forest ecoregion to lose its top predator3. Moreover, a recent study that took place in the Mata Atlântica has shown that defaunation has the potential to significantly erode tropical forest carbon storage4.
It is important to highlight that around 72% of the Brazilian population, more than 149 million people, live in the Mata Atlântica biome. Deforestation and urban occupation have largely contributed for the biome fragmentation.
The ecosystem services provided by the tropical forest benefit millions of people, from those inhabiting portions of the State of São Paulo and its metropolis – São Paulo, in addition to coastal cities of the States of Paraná and Santa Catarina.
“There is a clear sense of urgency to act in order to guarantee the conservation of the largest Mata Atlântica continuous remnants for their capacity to maintain larger wildlife populations and for their better prospects for sustaining wild species”.
“The Mata Atlântica is one the most threatened biomes on Earth. We are looking at very last chances for saving significant, ecologically viable remnants of this biome that harbors a significant number of endemic and endangered species”.
ENDEMISM IN THE MATA ATLÂNTICA
SAVING THE MATA ATLÂNTICA: CONNECTING PUBLIC AND PRIVATE PROTECTED AREAS
The National Protected Areas System (SNUC) is the legal instrument that regulates the creation, the implementation and the management of protected areas in Brazil.
SNUC divides the protected areas into two groups:
– Full Protection: such as national parks, wildlife refuges, Private Natural Heritage Reserves among others;
– Sustainable Use: national forest, extractive reserves, Environmental Protection Area (EPA), among others.
SPVS has been working in this area with a focus on the Guaraqueçaba Environmental Protected Area since 1991.
In the heart of the largest continuous remnant of the Mata Atlântica
Protecting continuous natural areas such as the Guaraqueçaba EPA – approximately 300.000 ha – is a day-to-day challenge. The Guaraqueçaba EPA encompasses several other categories of protected areas such as Bom Jesus Biological Reserve, Superagui National Park and several private natural heritage reserves.
There is a need to ensure that the large forest fragments as a conservation priority.
In order to have a better understanding of the region, in 1991 an interdisciplinary team led by SPVS developed a study to analyze the Guaraqueçaba region working on two fundamental issues:
1.) evaluating the conservation of the area ́s natural resources and the standard of living of its local communities, and
2.) gathering social, political, economic, legal, physical and biological data. In addition to reviewing existing publications focused on this area, different methods were used to identify the area ́s main challenges, detect their causes and define their scope, implications and interrelations. Not surprisingly, the lack of protected areas management plans implementation was already detected in the study.
Despite strict legal regulations to preserve the area, activities, which are either illegal or at least not effectively regulated, have continued due to weaknesses in controlling and enforcing the regulations. These activities include predatory fishing that range from large scale commercial to subsistence activities. Other threats include the illegal harvesting and commerce of heart of palm (Euterpe edulis), caxeta wood (Tabebuia cassinoides) harvesting, the removal of non-timber forest products, hunting and endangered species trafficking, in addition to incompatible land use and construction.
SPVS PRIVATE NATURAL HERITAGE RESERVES
Since 1999, SPVS has maintained three Private Reserves in the Guaraqueçaba EPA totaling up 18.700 ha.
Conservation work in these areas is undertaken through Management Plans aimed at enforcement, at the restoration of degraded sites, monitoring wildlife, implementing public use, Education for Conservation and developing the neighboring local communities. These actions are linked to a wider strategy pertaining to the consolidation of the Lagamar protected areas mosaic along the coasts of the States of São Paulo and Paraná.
THREATENED FAUNA AND FLORA IN SPVS RESERVES
Sample of threatened Flora species
Peroba – Aspidospermaramiflorum Müll. Arg.
Goerana – Malouetiaarborea Miers
Ipê-roxo – Tabebuia heptaphylla (Vell.) Toleado
Sample of threatened animal species:
Jacutinga – Pipile jacutinga
Macuco – Tinamussolitarius
Bicudinho-do-brejo – Stynphalornisacutirostris
Muçurana – Glanidium Clelia bicolor
Bugio – Alouatta guariba
Onça-pintada – Pantheraonca
Cachorro-vinagre – Speothosvenaticus
Queixada – Tayassu pecari
Lontra – Lontra longicaudis
Onça-parda – Puma concolor
Jaguarundi – Herpailurusyaguarondi
Jaguatirica – Leoparduspardalis
Uruçu-amarela – Meliponaru fiventris
Guaraipo negra – Melipona bicolor
More than 60 wildlife surveys (fish, soil fauna, mammals, bees, birds, amphibians) as well as botanical research and ecological studies were undertaken in the SPVS Private Reserves, most of which resulted in Ph.D. theses and M.Sc. dissertations.