The Brazilian government has designated 952,000 hectares of remote public land in the Amazon as two new protected areas.
The two parks are located in the municipality of Maués, in the western part of the state of Amazonas. Parauarí covers 472,000 hectares, while Urupadí protects 480,000 hectares.
While the protected areas are far from major roads, the Brazilian government says the designation should help protect against deforestation in a region that is renowned for its high levels of biodiversity. Previously, the two areas had no legal designation, a status that leaves land more vulnerable to encroachment and deforestation.
According to the Brazilian government, there remain some 59 million ha of land without any legal allocation. Some 39 million ha of that area is forested.
Part of the government’s push to reduce deforestation includes getting a better handle on land use. Private landowners are now required to register their properties in order to quality for loans from state banks. The government believes the stipulation will make it easier to detect illegal forest clearing using its satellite-based deforestation monitoring system.
Since 2000, Brazil has rapidly expanded its protected area network, especially in the Amazon region. Some 2.2 million square kilometers (850,000 sq mi) of the Brazilian Amazon is now under some form of protection. Roughly half that area is represented by indigenous territories.
Overall Brazil has the largest extent of protected areas in the world.