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Researchers question evaluation methods for protected areas in the Amazon
Date:3/26/2013

protected area and used satellite imagery to calculate the deforestation rate that was occurring on them.

They used this deforestation rate to estimate how much deforestation would have occurred in each protected area had it not been protected. Protected areas were then grouped according to the success rate of countering the deforestation pressure they faced. The RAPPAM scores for each group were then compared to each other.

The researchers did find one indicator from the RAPPAM that did have a strong association with avoiding deforestation: the absence of land tenure conflicts. When there was no unsettled land tenure dispute, the success at avoiding deforestation was higher.

This suggests that land tenure conflicts may be such an important factor in shaping deforestation success that it overshadows the potential importance of other factors.

Furthermore, it highlights the need for the Brazilian government to rapidly solve conflicts in order to conserve protected areas.

"The government has to act promptly," said co-author of the study Paulo Barreto from IMAZON. "They must evict illegal occupants, compensate any occupants who have legal rights, and re-draw boundaries when occupants have inalienable land rights. If conflicts are not solved, new occupations may occur, which will significantly hinder the effort to protect the land."


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Contact: Michael Bishop
michael.bishop@iop.org
01-179-301-032
Institute of Physics
Source:Eurekalert

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