THE RPPN AND THE NATIONAL PROTECTED AREAS SYSTEM (SNUC)
Pursuant to Rule 21 of the National Protected Areas System Act - SNUC, the Private Natural Heritage Reserve - RPPN is a private area, recorded with perpetuity, in order to conserve biological diversity. It is an area of private domain, and its owner does not lose property ownership. An RPPN´s guarantee of perpetuity consists in formalizing a request to the environmental agency to verify the existence of public interest in the protection of the area. This will be recorded in the property´s land title by the Public Real Estate Registry agency.
In an RPPN, the following activities are allowed: scientific research and visitation with touristic, recreational and educational goals. The benefits of creating a RPPN in one´s estate are the exemption from the Rural Land Tax - ITR over the area registered as RPPN; the priority in project analysis by the National Environment Fund - FNMA; possibilities of cooperation with private and public entities in the protection, management and handling of the RPPN; priority in the analysis of agricultural credit requests, for projects to be implemented on properties that contain an RPPN.
THE ATLANTIC FOREST
The Brazilian Atlantic Forest originally covered about 130 million hectares along the Atlantic coast. Currently, there is less than 3% of its original cover.
The rapid destruction in the last 50 years, the expansion of the agricultural frontier, industrialization, urban growth, hunting, illegal logging and other human threats have reduced the Atlantic Forest to less than 800,000 hectares in highly dispersed fragments. The Atlantic Forest has become a global hotspot, the second most threatened biome on the planet.
The importance of creating RPPNs for conservation is clear. RPPNs contribute to a rapid expansion of protected areas in the country; they are easily created in relation to the other storage units; they enable private sector participation in national conservation efforts and contribute to the protection of biodiversity of Brazilian biomes.
The strategy to promote nature conservation through private protected areas gained strength and importance at the national level in recent decades, requiring an appropriate legal instrument. In 1990, Decree No. 98.914 emerged, creating the Private Natural Heritage Reserves - RPPN. Later it was replaced by Decree No. 1,922 / 1996. In 2000, with the publication of Law No. 9.985 (the SNUC Law), establishing the National Protected Areas System (SNUC), RPPNs
became one of the categories of sustainable use protected areas.
Currently, in addition to the Federal Government, we have several states and municipalities that have regulated the creation of RPPNs through legislation, keeping the main objective of the RPPNs which is the conservation of biological diversity.
Despite intense human pressure, the Atlantic Forest is still the freshwater supply of 80% of the Brazilian population. And while we know little about its biodiversity, we do know that is one of the richest biomes in the world, with more than 3,500 animal species and 20,000 plant species known to science. Of these, over 500 animal species and over 8,000 plant species are endemic (they only exist in the Atlantic Forest).
Only 171 species are currently considered endangered by the Ministry of Environment. However, due to habitat loss, we can consider that all species of the Atlantic Forest are threatened with extinction. Eleven species have been officially declared extinct. New species, recently discovered by scientists, immediately become part of the Red List of threatened species, such as the golden-faced lion tamarin and the marsh antwren.
In 2003, the Brazilian government created a public policy for the protection of the Atlantic Forest fragments, providing for the implementation of biodiversity corridors in the two most important areas in Brazil for the protection of Atlantic Forest remnants: the Serra do Mar Biodiversity Corridor, in the States of Rio States de Janeiro and São Paulo, and the Central Corridor of the Atlantic Forest - CCMA, in South Bahia and the State of Espírito Santo.
These regions are home to huge biodiversity and endemism, but the implementation of the Corridors is at a very slow pace. The protection of the remnant forest fragments is inefficient, and deforestation, loss of water resources and biodiversity continue at dramatic levels .