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A biodiversity Vision for the upper Paraná Atlantic Forest Ecoregion

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Appendix 1

Upper Paraná Atlantic Forest

Ecoregion Action Plan


WWF Target Driven Programs

The Upper Paraná Atlantic Forest ecoregion Biodiversity Vision (Biodiversity Landscape Design and Conservation Targets) prioritizes actions that will contribute significantly to the achievement of targets for two WWF Global Target Driven Programs (TDPs) – Forests for Life and the Living Waters Campaign. The following is a list of the relevant TDP targets with explanations of how the Upper Paraná Atlantic Forest Ecoregion Action Plan relates to them.

Forests for Life

Target 1: (Protect)

The establishment and maintenance of viable representative networks of protected areas in the world’s threatened and most biologically significant forest regions, by 2010

The completion of a gap and threat analyses for all focal forest ecoregions by 2002

Gap and threat analyses were conducted as part of the development of the Biodiversity Vision for this ecoregion.

Identification and mapping of target Protected Area sites to enhance representation of Protected Area systems in focal forest ecoregions by 2004

The Biodiversity Vision includes a Biodiversity Conservation Landscape designed to increase the representation of biodiversity under protection as well as to protect forest blocks large enough to be resilient and capable of maintaining viable populations of umbrella species and healthy ecological processes. The Ecoregion Action Plan targets the fine-scale landscape design of Core Areas and corridors to identify specific sites for the creation of new protected areas.

Management improved in 50 million ha of existing forest Protected Areas by 2005

The Ecoregion Action Plan targets:

  • Improved management of 791,775 ha of existing strictly protected areas (IUCN Categories I-III) by 2010.

  • Improved management of 1,413,991 ha of existing Sustainable Use Areas (IUCN Categories IV-VI) by 2010.

50 million ha of new forest Protected Areas created in focal forest ecoregions by 2005

The Ecoregion Action Plan targets:

  • Creation of 728,025 ha of new strictly protected areas (in Core Areas and Potential Core Areas) by 2010.

  • Creation of 2,589,309 ha of new Sustainable Use Areas by 2050.

Target 2: (Manage)

100 million ha of certified forests by 2005, distributed in a balanced manner among regions, forest types, and land tenure regimes.

New working groups or national standards recognized by FSC in at least 20 countries by 2004.

The Ecoregion Action Plan targets viability studies and initiatives developed for forest certification under FSC as an alternative economic activity targeting critical areas of the Biodiversity Conservation Landscape by 2010. Brazil already has a national working group, viability studies are currently underway for Paraguay, and a national FSC working group was recently established in Argentina.

High Conservation Value Forests national protocols in place in at least 20 countries by 2005

Argentina has established a commission to develop standards for the Atlantic Forest and Brazil has recently established standards for the Atlantic Forest. Our Ecoregion Action Plan targets this for Paraguay, aiming to reduce the rate of Atlantic Forest conversion to soybean cultivation.

Community forest management protocols in place in at least 20 countries that can lead to, or maintain, community forest certification by 2005

We are evaluating the economic and biological viability of community forest management for Sustainable Use Areas in Paraguay.

Target 3: (Restore)

By 2005, at least 20 forest landscape restoration initiatives underway in the world’s threatened, deforested or degraded forest regions to enhance ecological integrity and human well-being.

A gap and threat analysis of priority conservation landscapes in all focal forest ecoregions by 2002.

The Biodiversity Vision includes gap and threat analyses.

Socioeconomic and ecological criteria and indicators for tracking progress with forest landscape restoration developed by 2002

We are developing ecological indicators as a part of the process to develop a monitoring mechanism for the Biodiversity Vision.

At least 10 forest landscape restoration initiatives underway in the world’s threatened, deforested or degraded forest regions by 2003

Over the next 50 years, the Biodiversity Conservation Landscape identifies 2,606,678 ha requiring native forest restoration. We plan to have a Forest Landscape Restoration Plot Project underway in the Capanema-Andresito area of the Iguaçu/Iguazú River Basin and Main Corridor by 2005. Funding proposals have already been developed in 2003. The project could begin as soon as funding is obtained.

The elimination of at least one economic, financial and/or policy incentive that contributes to forest loss and/or degradation by 2004

We are working to establish effective enforcement of the forest law in Paraguay by 2005. In addition, we are working to establish economic incentives to soy producers in Paraguay and Brazil and wood producers in Argentina to reduce the rate of native forest conversion and to encourage native forest restoration according to our Biodiversity Landscape Design.

Living Waters

Target 1: (Water Infrastructure Development)

Ecological processes are maintained or restored in at least 50 large catchment areas of high biodiversity importance by 2010

1. Sustainable water or river basin management initiatives that promote conservation and restoration of ecological processes of high priority freshwater ecosystems are adopted by 2004 in at least 10 countries or international processes.

Our Ecoregion Action Plan includes the development of a conservation strategy to maintain ecological processes (watershed; catchment) for three watersheds: the Iguassu River Basin (Brazil and Argentina), the Jejui River Basin (Paraguay), and the Ilhas & Varzeas do Rio Paraná APA portion of the Upper Paraná River Basin (Brazil and Paraguay). These river basins are included in the Upper Paraná Global 200 Freshwater Ecoregion as well as the terrestrial Upper Paraná Atlantic Forest ecoregion.

The Conservation Landscape Design calls for the fine-scale design and implementation of biological forest corridors along rivers and streams in these watersheds to connect Core Areas both surrounded by Sustainable Use Areas to maintain a minimum forest cover of 20% to maintain ecological processes (watersheds; catchments). To achieve these fine-scale landscape designs, we will need to develop and implement social and legal mechanisms to ensure effective participatory management.
By 2004 work is underway at key locations that results in cessation or reorientation to of at least 10 water infrastructure developments that threaten high priority freshwater ecosystems by 2007.

Although systematic data on hydroelectric initiatives planned for the Upper Paraná Atlantic Forest ecoregion was not available for our Biodiversity Vision analysis, we know that there are a significant number of dam projects under consideration for all three countries, mainly to supply electricity to the heavily-populated Rio de Janeiro - São Paulo region. We intend to monitor the plans for and construction of these new dams to minimize the threat they pose to both terrestrial and freshwater biodiversity. We view the existing dams in the region as potential opportunities to join watershed and biodiversity conservation efforts. The Itaipú Binational Dam (Paraguay and Brazil) is the largest in the world. We are establishing a technical partnership with Itaipú for implementation of the Biodiversity Vision in the dam’s area of influence—right in the heart of the Biodiversity Conservation Landscape.

1 The Atlantic Forests Global 200 Ecoregion is actually not one Ecoregion but a set of 15 terrestrial ecoregions characterized by tropical or subtropical forests. These 15 ecoregions form continuous tropical and subtropical forests that share a common biogeographic history and have many species in common, and for this reason WWF has considered them together as one Global 200 ecoregion.

2 Original (or originally) refers to the time when the area was mostly covered by pristine native forest vegetation. That time roughly corresponds to the late 15th and early 16th centuries, coinciding with the arrival of the first European immigrants and the beginning of the rapid process of transformation of the forest into agricultural land. Prior to this time, native people likely impacted the ecoregion as a whole to a relatively small or medium degree.

3 Individual plant communities of the Upper Paraná Atlantic Forest ecoregion are characterized by different soil types and the dominant tree species. In the Upper Paraná Atlantic Forest, some of the typical communities include: palmito (Euterpe edulis) and palo rosa (Aspidosperma polyneuron) forests, bamboo forests (four species of bamboo are common in the ecoregion and are the dominant species in some areas), laurel forests (several species of trees within the genus Nectandra and Ocotea are common in this forest type). However, no detailed vegetation map exists for the entire ecoregion and there is not complete agreement on the nomenclature used for the different forest communities.

4 See Acknowledgements.

5 A landscape unit is a parcel of land of any size that is fairly uniform in certain characteristics (e.g., soil type, vegetation, land use, etc.) and differs from other such portions of land. In this particular analysis, we identified different landscape units based on abiotic characteristics (altitude, topography, rainfall, and seasonality) considered to be important determinants of biodiversity distribution. See Landscape Units Analysis in Chapter 4 for details on how we identified landscape units.

6 The term buffer zone is used in this document with two different meanings. Sometimes, as is used here and in GIS analyses, a buffer zone is an area of arbitrary size that surrounds any focal area: a city, a forest fragment, or an ecoregion. In other cases, we will use the term buffer zone as it is typically used in conservation biology: a transitional area that ameliorates the negative effects of human impacts on surroundings of a natural ecosystem, usually a strictly protected area.

7 Umbrella species are those with very large area requirements. These species can be used as target species for conservation planning under the assumption that if we are able to preserve viable populations of them, we will preserve enough habitat for many other species with smaller area requirements. For a critical review of the umbrella species concept see Noss et al. 1997.

8 Stakeholder—any person, group, or institution that affects or is affected by (either positively or negatively) a particular issue or outcome.

9 See footnote 2

10 Small forest fragments usually preclude the existence of a source-sink dynamics which may allow sustainable hunting (see Novaro et al. 1999).

11 Most tropical and subtropical forests support less wildlife, especially ungulates and other large game animals, than tropical grasslands and savannas, because in the former, most productivity is located in the canopy (see Bennett & Robinson 2001, Bennett et al. 2002)

12 See footnote 5 on page 3 and Landscape Units Analysis on Chapter 4.

13 Although umbrella species remain in these large forest blocks, this is not an indication of their long-term survival in the forest remnant. Most of these forest blocks need to be connected to other forest remnants for the long term viability of these populations.

14 See footnote 17.

16 For example, in the Biodiversity Visions for the Southwestern Amazon Ecoregion, the Northern Andes Ecoregion, and the Madagascar Spiny Thicket Ecoregion.

17 PROBIO is a project of the Ministry of Environment of Brazil for the Conservation and Sustainable Use of Biodiversity. PROBIO identified priority areas and priority actions for the conservation of the Atlantic Forest (Conservation International of Brazil 2000).

18 Our Ecoregion Action Plan includes field surveys to test the validity of the landscape units identified in this analysis and to assess whether there are Atlantic Forest species that are unique to the landscape units not represented in the Biodiversity Conservation Landscape. If there are, and these species do not require a large area to have a viable population (e.g., small vertebrate), the conservation of forest fragments in these landscape units could become part of the Biodiversity Conservation Landscape. See Chapter 6.

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