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Protected Areas in the Amazon - Phase 2

Brazilian Biodiversity Fund (Funbio)

Project official website
Total project value
R$ 164,294,880.00
Total support amount
US$ 10,478,547.59



To provide support to create and consolidate the PAs in the Amazon Biome, so as to assure conservation of the biodiversity and maintain the ecological processes and services in the region


The populations residing in the protected areas (PA) and residents of the surrounding areas; workers and institutions responsible for management; management councils and municipalities involved in the territories of the
PAs that are served by the programme

Territorial scope

All the states in the Amazon Biome



There are protected areas (PAs) covering 26.6% of the Amazon biome. In addition to playing a fundamental role in biodiversity conservation and reducing deforestation, PAs also have an important role in terms of maintaining the cultural and social values of traditional people, preserving river systems and stabilizing regional and continental climates.

In 2000, the institution of the National System of Protected Areas (SNUC) established its current instruments for the creation and management of the PAs, as well as their categories. In the federal context, the Chico Mendes Biodiversity Conservation Institute (ICMBIO), created in 2007, is the main performer of SNUC activities. It is incumbent upon this institute to propose, implement, manage, protect, oversee and monitor the PAs instituted by the Brazilian Federation.

The Protected Areas in the Amazon (ARPA) programme is considered one of the world’s largest programme in the field of environmental conservation. The first phase of ARPA, conducted between 2002 and 2009, supported the creation and consolidation of 46 PAs, totalizing 23.4 million hectares, in addition to having already supported the consolidation of another 8.5 million hectares of previously created PAs. The creation and
implementation of the SISARPA – computerized system of coordination and management of the ARPA programme – was also supported, and 14 community projects were conducted in the surrounding areas of the fully protected PAs. Finally, there was capitalization process of the Protected Areas Fund (FAP), which was, until the beginning of the project, supported by R$ 51.2 million (US$ 29.6 million) from the Amazon Fund, in order to act as a mechanism to provide long-term financial sustainability for the PAs consolidated under the programme.


The main objective of the second phase of the ARPA programme, supported by the Amazon Fund, was to support (i) the creation of new PAs in areas of biogeographical representativeness and (ii) the consolidation of existing PAs, with the construction of basic infrastructure, signalling, protection and monitoring of the biodiversity, preparation of a management plan and training and maintenance of deliberative or advisory councils.

The project also supported the construction of a strategic plan for a group of PAs, along with a stimulation process to create management mosaics. Finally, as a way to ensure the financial sustainability of the PAs, the project formulated strategies to collect and preserve the capital from the fiduciary fund that was constituted in phase 1 of the programme (FAP) and the search for alternative revenue-generating mechanisms for the PAs in long term, which resulted in the construction of the ARPA for Life initiative, which constitutes phase 3 of the ARPA programme.


The project falls into the “land-use planning” (3) component of the logical framework of the Amazon Fund and has the following outcomes: “created or expanded protected areas (PA) within the ARPA programme” (3.1) and “existing consolidated protected areas (PA) within the ARPA programme (3.2)”.

Creating and maintaining the PAs is one of the main known strategies for conserving forests and their biodiversity, which directly contributes towards reducing deforestation and to the sustainable development of the Amazon region, in the case of sustainable-use PAs, in which nature conservation is reconciled with the sustainable use of a portion of their natural resources. Thus, the project’s outcomes directly contribute to the Amazon Fund’s impact: “reduce deforestation through sustainable development in the Amazon region”. 

Click on the following image to view its objectives tree, that is, how the project's outputs and linked to the expected outcomes and impact.



Date of approval 12.08.2009
Date of the contract 04.22.2010
Date of conclusion 12.31.2015
Disbursement period 60 months (from the date the contract was signed)


date amount
1º disbursements 10.27.2010 R$4,999,230.90
2º disbursements 01.26.2012 R$5,000,000.00
3º disbursements 11.21.2012 R$5,000,000.00
4º disbursements 08.27.2013 R$2,500,000.00
5º disbursements 09.26.2014 R$2,449,828.01
Total amount disbursed R$19,949,058.91

Total amount disbursed in relation to the Amazon Fund’s support



The 2010-2015 period saw the creation of the Alto Maués Ecological Station and the ‘Puranga-Conquista’ Sustainable Development Reserve (RDS),with 668,170 and 76,936 hectares, respectively*, as well as the expansion of the Médio Juruá extractive reserve, which currently has an area of 286,932 hectares (extended by 33,705 hectares).

The project also supported the consolidation of 94 PAs**, with an area of 52.7 million hectares, through the elaboration of management plans, the development and implementation of protection plans and the purchase of basic equipment for its management as well as meetings among PA management councils, among other actions. Furthermore, there was the consolidation of ten PAs at a basic level (Grade 1) and one PA at an advanced level (Grade 2). 

Grade 1 consolidation is defined as a consolidation that includes, among other aspects, the following referential characteristics: a technical team comprising of at least two employees; a previously created management plan; a constituted managing council (advisory or deliberative); signaling for the PA’s main access points; a developed protection plan and equipment to operationalize the available PAs.

Grade 2 consolidation comprises, among other aspects, the following referential characteristics: a technical team of at least five employees; a regularly working managing council (deliberative or advisory); a land ownership regulatory process that includes signed commitment terms for integral protection units or the granting of use rights for implemented sustainable use units and community projects.

With the objective of providing management training in protected areas, 84 people participated in technical courses in partnership with the ICMBIO, while 247 people participated in training courses to manage resources provided by the ARPA programme. Support was given for developing and adapting the content for the ARPA programme’s distance education project during the implementation phase.

The implementation of the 23-action plans aimed at strengthening the community and the sustainable use of natural resources was also supported; that was achieved with the assistance of the communities residing within the PAs or in their surrounding areas. 18 non-indigenous and five indigenous communities were the beneficiaries of this project.

In addition, there have been improvements to ARPA’s management tools, such as developing an offline version of the Programme Management System (SISARPA); implementing procedures to make the acquisition of outputs more efficient; developing studies to create regional contracts aimed at gaining economies of scale; reorganizing the financial management system; and updating ARPA programme’s web page to be available in
three languages (Portuguese, Spanish and English).

Finally, studies and cost projections were performed in order to consolidate and maintain the PAs, which led to a new strategy for the long-term financial sustainability of the programme being adopted, which was named the ARPA for Life Initiative and involved the creation of a private fund of US$ 60.2 million available at the end of 2015.

It is noteworthy that the Amazon Fund’s resources represent around 12% of the total resources allocated to the ARPA programme – phase 2.

* Due to the fact that the Puranga-Conquista RDS was created from areas that were already part of the Brazilian National System of Protected Areas (SNUC), only 6,376 hectares of this new RDS are being considered as the new area of PAs created for this project’s purposes. It should be mentioned that even this 6,376 hectares already received some degree of protection, as it is part of an Environmental Protection Area (APA), in which public land coexists with private land.
** It is worth mentioning that phase 2 of the ARPA involves supporting the consolidation of 95 PAs; one of which also achieved Grade 2 consolidation and was not considered for financial support purposes of the Amazon Fund. That is why it is an environmental transition area between the Hinterland Biome (Cerrado) and the Amazon forest, not formally classified as part of the Amazon biome.


Final Evaluation


The ARPA programme was successful in structuring an interinstitutional relationship agreement, which enabled actors with various positions and interests to interact in a balanced way compared with the existing alternatives for achieving the programme’s objectives. Important technical and financial partnerships were established with the Brazilian government; the German government – through KfW and GiZ; the World Bank – under the Global Environment Fund (GEF); the WWF-Brazil; the Brazilian Biodiversity Fund (FUNBIO); and the state governments in the Amazon – Amapá, Amazonas, Acre, Mato Grosso, Pará, Rondônia and Tocantins.
The organized civil society was also integrated into the programme’s institutional arrangement by means of participation in specific instances for its monitoring, control and management.

FUNBIO has a team of 73 employees, 62% of whom are women. 26 individuals of this number perform the role of coordinator, 81% of whom are women.



Outcome 3.1: Created or expanded protected areas (PA) within the ARPA programme

The process of creating a PA contains the following referential characteristics: public consultation, land ownership diagnosis, environmental diagnosis, socioeconomic diagnosis and diagnostic instrument of creation.

  • Created or expanded area of PAs with support from the project (impact indicator)

The target for this indicator was creating a total of 13.5 million hectares of new PAs. Between 2010 and 2015, 708,251 acres of created or expanded PAs were aggregated with the project’s implementation. However, when we consider the Nascentes do Lago Jari National Park, with 812,141 hectares, created in 2008, and account for phase 2 of the ARPA programme, the total area of newly created or expanded PAs amounts to 1,520,392 hectares.

The project also supported other PA creation processes, however not all fulfilled the requirements to create them. One of these processes, corresponding to an area of 126,302 hectares, had their studies completed by the end
of 2014 and is now waiting for the legal instrument for its creation to be published. Nine other PA creation processes should continue, which correspond to 1,981,076 hectares.

Outcome 3.2: Existing consolidated protected areas (PA) within the ARPA programme

  • Area of consolidated PAs at Grade 1 (impact indicator)

The established target for this indicator was 23 million hectares, and ten PAs were consolidated at Grade 1 with 4,904,649 acres. The poor performance of this indicator is due to the need to simultaneously adhere to all the required characteristics related to the desired consolidation grade. If we consider three PAs that only depend on allocating one more employee to their technical team, then there are 13 consolidated PAs at Grade 1, totalizing 5,571,028 hectares. 

In addition, 15 other PAs, with an area of 4,105,551 hectares, only depend on developing or revising their management plan (10 PAs) or implementing a protection plan (five PAs) in order to achieve Grade 1 consolidation.

Despite failing to reach the objective, there were considerable advances in several of the requirements for 57 PAs being supported to reach a Grade 1 consolidation. Examples of these advances are working management councils (deliberative or advisory, reached by 85% of the PAs), provision of basic equipment to implement the PAs (87% of the PAs) and signaling for the main entry points of these units (85% of the PAs).

  • Area of consolidated PAs at Grade 2 (impact indicator)

The established target for this indicator was the consolidation of 9 million hectares of PAs at Grade 2. In the Amazon biome, there was a PA consolidated at Grade 2 with 328,150 hectares, and, outside the biome, a second PA was consolidated with 100,413 acres, which, however, is not considered due to a lack of support from the Amazon Fund.

The poor performance of this indicator is due to the need to simultaneously adhere to all the required characteristics related to the desired consolidation grade, with an increased difficulty about meeting the PAs’ requirements, to conducting a biodiversity inventory and to creating a technical team with at least five employees.

Despite failing to reach the objective, there were considerable advances made in several of the requirements for the 38 PAs selected for consolidation at Grade 2, such as a regular working managing council of the PAs (reached by 92% of them), minimum facilities (66% of the PAs) and a land ownership survey (68% of the PAs).

  • Number of individuals trained to manage PAs (output indicator)

84 individuals were trained to manage PAs, while 247 people participated in training courses to manage resources provided by the ARPA programme.

  • Annual deforestation in the PAs supported by the ARPA programme (impact indicator) 

Based on data from the Instituto Nacional de Pesquisas Espaciais – INPE (National Institute for Space Research), Table 22 shows that there has been a 37% reduction in deforestation in the PAs supported by the project, when the average deforested area between 2011 and 2014 is compared to the baseline (2010).

Deforested area (km2)


UC Area









2014 x 2010




Average comparison

2011-2014 x

2010 Baseline

Deforestation ARPA PAs (excluding Cantão State Park)










Deforestation non-ARPA PAs (excluding Cantão State Park)










Source: BNDES, based on data from INPE

In order to qualify this indicator’s results, we sought to identify a similar universe to that of the PAs which had not benefited from project interventions, i.e., the remaining PAs in the Legal Amazon that had not received support from the project were selected. It is possible to consider this group as a control for comparison purposes, from which only an 8% reduction in deforested area was verified in the same period. In other words,
deforestation fell by a higher rate in PAs supported by the project (37%) than it did in the unsupported PAs (8%).

It is worth mentioning that the Cantão State Park is part of the group of PAs supported by phase 2 of the ARPA programme, however this park is not considered as part of the group of PAs supported by the project for the purposes of this analysis. That is why it is not within the Amazon biome according to the Brazilian Environment Ministry (MMA) Decree 96, March 27th, 2008, regardless of whether it is considered a transitional area
between the Hinterland Biome (Cerrado) and the Amazon rainforest.

Graph 9 shows that there was a reduction in the participation of PAs supported by the project in terms of total deforestation in the PAs from the Legal Amazon.  Funbio-Graph 9

  • Volume of financial resources capitalized for the FAP/Transition Fund (TF) of the ARPA for Life Initiative (impact indicator)

The project originally foresaw the FAP management support as a way to provide long-term financial sustainability for the PAs. However, this action was revised due to cost projections and models developed under the project’s scope, which indicated that the resources required to reach full consolidation and maintenance for all PAs supported by the ARPA programme would be unavailable, if the FAP in its format of a permanent capitalization fund were adopted (endowment fund).

Therefore, the FAP capitalization strategy was revised and replaced by the transition fund from the ARPA for Life Initiative, which is a financial mechanism that acts in a similar way to an amortization fund (sinking fund).

Based on this new definition, the resources were transferred from FAP to the TF of the ARPA for Life Initiative, with nine new funding initiatives being conducted for this new fund. At the beginning of the project’s execution, the FAP had R$ 51.2 million (US$ 29.6 million) available. On December 31st, 2015, the TF of the ARPA for Life Initiative contained R$ 235.4 million (US$ 60.2 million) in cash and cash equivalents, i.e., there was an increase of US$ 30.6 million, which was slightly below the target of US$ 46 million in additional capitalization that was originally established for FAP.

It is likely to conclude that the project achieved meaningful results based on the creation, expansion and consolidation of PAs, deforestation rate in the supported PAs and performance of the TF of the ARPA for Life Initiative; however, these results were below the initial forecasts. Despite only partially reaching the established targets, the data showing the deforestation reduction in the 94 PAs involved in the project are extremely positive, which demonstrate the project’s success in terms of its contribution to the Amazon Fund’s impact on reducing deforestation.


The relevant challenges and lessons for the ARPA programme – phase 2 were indicated. The following deserve highlighting: (i) the shortage of resources and, above all, of personnel to manage of PAs is structural and has an impact on any initiative to improve its working; (ii) by allocating a greater number of public servants to coordinate the ARPA programme, it was possible to ensure that the governments had a significant involvement during its critical management periods, essential to properly implement the project; (iii) the huge liability in agrarian land owning regulation makes it possible for unauthorized individuals to develop activities that are incompatible with the objectives of the PAs, generating conflicts regarding the use of land and natural resources; and (iv) during the programme’s implementation, simplifying the protocols to monitor biodiversity
proved to be a necessary task, which allowed a significant improvement in its implementation, an essential aspect for managing PAs and evaluating the effectiveness of conservation efforts based on a representative sample of the biodiversity.


Preserving the ARPA programme’s achievements depends on a number of variables, including: the need for additional human resources in government agencies responsible to manage the PAs and a guarantee that there will be continued financial resources provided as well as new investment.

With regards to the ARPA programme’s financial sustainability, based on studies and cost projections designed to consolidate and maintain the PAs, a new strategy was drafted and implemented, called the ARPA for Life Initiative, which took the form of a private fund (Transition Fund) and had a balance of R$ 235.4 million (US$ 60.2 million) at the end of 2015.

This fund should provide the necessary resources to fund the ARPA programme on a long-term basis, whose costs will decrease with time, since there is an expected elevation in government contribution over the next 25 years, moving towards the programme’s costs being fully covered by the government themselves.