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Set aside for wildlife, ecological services and people’s livelihoods

On a map of South America, they look like a multitude of patches - some tiny, others big - sprinkled like confetti across the tropical belt of the continent.
The bold aim of these spaces, set up after painstaking efforts by a range of stakeholders, is to ensure that important places in the Amazon get the protection they critically need.

Over the decades, WWF has played a major role in helping to set aside natural areas for conservation and to support communities, local governments and other stakeholders to manage these places in the long-term.

The Protected Areas Initiative

WWF's efforts in the region are part of one of our most critical works-in-progress globally - the Protected Areas Initiative. This effort seeks to:
  • Promote the creation of new forest protected areas using WWF "Gifts to the Earth" as a major potential tool.
  • Improve management effectiveness of existing protected areas by developing, carrying out and supporting the implementation of key results of protected area management assessments.
  • Develop a practical tool for systematic conservation planning.
  • Lobby for improved protected area networks at key international events
  • Explore alternative methods for site-based biodiversity conservation.

Considering the complex legal, political and socioeconomic situation present in many protected areas in the Amazon, WWF helps to coordinate their management with the economic activities of the communities, aware that the local inhabitant is the main conservation actor for sustainable development.

Next [Establishing protected areas across the Amazon] >>

Amboró National Park, Bolivia. 
© WWF – Marco ZAUGG
Amboró National Park, Bolivia.
© WWF – Marco ZAUGG

The world’s largest tropical forest conservation programme

The Amazon Region Protected Areas (ARPA) - created in 2002 by the Brazilian government in partnership with WWF, Brazilian Biodiversity Fund, German Development Bank, Global Environment Facility and World Bank - is a 10-year programme aimed increasing protection of the Amazon.

By 2008, 25.3 million hectares of new parks and reserves were created in the Brazilian Amazon under ARPA, among them the 3.88 million-hectare Tumucumaque Mountains National Park, one of the world's largest national parks. In its second phase from 2009 to 2012, ARPA expects to create another 20 million hectares of new protected areas.

Building on the success of ARPA, WWF is also looking to help establish a Pan-Amazonian protected area programme that will extend the network of protected areas into the other Amazonian countries: Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, French Guiana, Guyana, Peru, Suriname and Venezuela.