Expansion of Protected Area Ensures Long-Term Water Security for at least 800,000 people

Três Picos (Three Peaks) State Park.  © Christian Steinhauser
We are pleased to announce the expansion of the Três Picos State Park (Three Peaks State Park), located at the Serra do Mar Biodiversity Corridor, in the state of Rio de Janeiro, in southeastern Brazil.

The park, which protects headwaters of important river basins that are the major freshwater sources for the densely populated state, was expanded from 46,350 hectares (114,533 acres) to 58,790 hectares (145,273 acres), an increase of 21 percent. To put the region’s fresh water importance into perspective, a single portion of the park’s headwaters was estimated to provide water for more than 800,000 people.

With support from the Global Conservation Fund, CI-Brazil and the Conservation Strategy Fund have been working towards the development of a scheme for payment for ecosystem services provided by the park’s freshwater sourcing potential, including the design of the necessary institutional framework for its implementation.

At the same time, CI-Brazil and its partners have been collaborating with the Environmental State Agencies of Brazil’s southeastern Region (Minas Gerais, São Paulo; Espírito Santo and Rio de Janeiro) to design policy frameworks for the tapping of ecosystem services provided by protected areas, a possibility established under Brazil’s National Protected Areas System law.

The expansion of this park is a joint initiative of the Rio de Janeiro Environment Agency and the Atlantic Forest Protected Area Initiative (AFPAI) – a partnership between CI-Brazil, SOS Mata Atlântica Foundation and The Nature Conservancy.

Luiz Paulo de Souza Pinto is the Atlantic Forest Program Director at Conservation International

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