Amazon state launches Zero Extinction Program for endangered species
February 22, 2008

The Brazilian state of Pará has launched the Zero Extinction Program, an initiative to prevent threatened species from going extinct by protecting their habitats.

Para has the highest area of forest loss of any Amazon state in Brazil: some 202,906 square kilometers of the Amazon's 679,899 square kilometers of cleared rainforest are in Pará. Deforestation has been linked to species loss.

As part of the program, Pará has compiled a "red list" of threatened species, which includes 91 vertebrates, 37 invertebrates and 53 plants.

"This red list, the first for a Brazilian Amazon state, differs from those in seven other Brazilian states in that it integrates both flora and fauna in a process which involved considerable consultation," said Pará Secretary for the Environment Valmir Ortega. "The decree also includes excellent management tools that will enable the government, research institutions and society to get mobilized to protect these species."

The Zero Extinction Program includes recovery plans for endangered species and recognizes Key Biodiversity Areas where listed species are found as priority regions for conservation efforts.

"These innovative measures rank Para's legislation on endangered species as one of the most progressive and complete in the world," said Adrian Antonio Garda, director of the Amazon Program at Conservation International, one of the partners who created the Zero Extinction Program. Other partners are Pará state's environment ministry and Goeldi's Museum, the oldest research institution in the Brazilian Amazon.

Para, which along with Mato Grosso are the states at the heart of Brazil's booming agricultural frontier, has seen a marked increase in deforestation since August of 2007. Analysts say rising grain prices are to blame for the upswing in forest clearing.

CITATION: (February 21, 2008).

Amazon state launches Zero Extinction Program for endangered species.