Brazil designates privately owned nature reserve in the Pantanal



Brazil chooses Pantanal site for the Ramsar List

The Bureau of the Convention on Wetlands is delighted to announce that Brazil has designated a significant portion of the Pantanal in Mato Grosso State as a Wetland of International Importance, to complement the related 135,000-hectare Pantanal Matogrossense Ramsar site. An extraordinarily interesting feature of Brazil's 8th site is the fact that it is an extensive privately owned protected area, with government authorization, and includes such management aids as 5 fire control towers, an airplane, 6 boats, 6 all-terrain vehicles, and 26 professional staff and 16 trained rangers, and 1 airplane pilot. The separately-managed hotel employs 100 people, a 500-square-meter visitors' centre is in construction, and a nearby social ecotourism lodge on the other side of the Cuiabá River has 120 beds -- currently, around 10,000 visitors come to enjoy the reserve per year. The Serviço Nacional do Comercio (SESC) is a non-profit organization created by law and funded through an annual contribution from private enterprises, with branches in every state in the country. As a reserva particular de partimônio natural (RPPN), its legal status is said to differ from a national park only in terms of ownership; the owner could legally sell the area but, under the RPPN law, only if the objective of nature protection would not be altered.

Here is a brief description of the site drawn from the Ramsar Information Sheet by Ramsar's Julio Montes de Oca:

Reserva Particular do Patrimonio Natural SESC Pantanal. 06/12/02; Mato Grosso State; 87,871 ha; 16º39'S 056º15'W. Privately owned nature reserve. A significant and representative sample of the large Pantanal wetlands, known as Poconé's Pantanal, a private estate fully owned by the Serviço Nacional do Comercio (SESC) and established in 1998 as a reserve. The site, a mix of permanent rivers, seasonal streams, permanent and seasonal floodplain fresh water lakes, shrub-dominated wetlands, and seasonally flooded forests, satisfies all eight Ramsar criteria for designation as a Wetland of International Importance and is an excellent ecological complement to the Pantanal Matogrossense, already on the Ramsar List. The site contains several endangered species including hyacinth macaws Anodorhynchus hyacinthinus, giant otters Pteronura brasiliensis, and marsh deer Blastocerus dichotomus, as well as numerous nesting sites for the rare Jabiru Jabiru mycteria. Populations of over 20,000 cormorants Phalacrocorax brasiliensis and some of the Pantanal's healthiest nesting sites for wood stork Mycteria americana are also found within. Many of the 260 fish species in the Pantanal are also believed to be found in the Reserva, a good number having a high commercial value. Since sport and commercial fishing is prohibited inside, the reserve provides essential ecological refuge for fish in the Cuiabá and Sâo Lourenço rivers. The SESC administers this private reserve, under the supervision of the Brazilian Intitute for the Environment and Natural Renewable Resources (IBAMA), and is responsible for implementing its management plan and carrying out environmental education activities and non-intensive ecotourism at the site. Ramsar site no. 1270.

Reserva Particular do Patrimonio Natural SESC Pantanal. 06/12/02; estado de Mato Grosso; 87.871 ha; 16º39'S 056º15'O. Reserva natural privada. Propiedad privada del Serviço Nacional do Comercio (SESC), esta reserva establecida en 1998 es conocida tambien como Pantanal de Poconé, y representa una muestra significativa del Pantanal brasileño. El sitio contiene ríos y lagos permanentes y estacionales, pantanos con vegetación arbustiva y humedales boscosos inundados estacionalmente, y satisface los ocho criterios de Ramsar para designación como Humedal de Importancia Internacional, siendo un excelente complemento ecológico al Pantanal Matogrossense, ya incluido en la Lista Ramsar. El sitio contiene varias especies en peligro, incluyendo guacamayos jacintos Anodorhynchus hyacinthinus, lobos de río Pteronura brasiliensis y ciervos de los pantanos Blastocerus dichotomus, así como numerosos sitios de nidaje para la poco común ave Jabirú Jabiru mycteria. En el sitio se han observado también poblaciones de más de 20.000 cormoranes Phalacrocorax brasiliensis, así como algunos de los más saludables nidos de cigueña o tántalo americano Mycteria americana. Se cree que muchas de las 260 especies de peces presentes en el Pantanal también se encuentran en la Reserva, muchas de ellas con alto valor comercial. Al estar prohibida la pesca comercial o deportiva dentro del sitio, este proporciona un refugio ecológico esencial a estas especies en los ríos Cuiabá y Sâo Lourenço. El SESC administra esta reserva privada, bajo la supervisión del Intstituto Brasileño del Ambiente y Recursos Naturales Renovables (IBAMA), y es responsable por la implementación de su plan de manejo, así como de llevar a cabo actividades de educación ambiental y ecoturismo de baja intensidad dentro del sitio. Ramsar site no. 1270.

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