Em um carta publicada hoje na revista Science, pesquisadores fazem uma comparação entre a Serra da Mantiqueira (um dos principais remanescentes de mata atlântica do Brasil, na divisa entre SP, RJ e MG) e a cordilheira Adirondack, que fica próxima à cidade de Nova York, chamando atenção para a importância dessas áreas e pedindo mais atenção à criação de um mosaico de áreas protegidas na Mantiqueira.
Um dos autores da carta é o biólogo brasileiro Gui Becker, que está fazendo doutorado na Universidade Cornell.
Abaixo, a íntegra da carta, em inglês:
The Brazilian Adirondacks?
The name of the Serra da Mantiqueira mountains, translated from the indigenous Tupí-Guaraní language as Weeping Mountains, underscores their historical importance as a source of water for southeastern Brazil. Mantiqueira harbors outstanding sociocultural history, and its high peaks form a key wildlife corridor within the Atlantic Forest Biodiversity Hotspot (1). The striking scenery and proximity to Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo (17.6 million inhabitants combined) offer an opportunity to consider new models in conservation and sustainability.
In 2006, the Brazilian Ministry of the Environment created the Mantiqueira Mosaic, a network of public and private conservation units, to enhance biological conservation and local welfare. However, the implementation of most conservation units has been delayed and many still lack a management plan. For instance, the creation of the largest park (Parque Nacional Altos da Mantiqueira), which will cover 86,000 hectares of high peaks (2), has been stalled since 2010. Brazil’s booming economy, and the 40% predicted increase in agricultural land use in the next decade (3), will pose serious threats to the remaining ~10% of the Brazilian Atlantic Forest (4).
In the 19th century, the Adirondack Mountains, adjacent to New York City and Albany (8.4 million inhabitants), faced a strikingly similar scenario due to logging and mining activities, leading to creation of the Adirondack Park in 1892 (5). Along with the Algonquin Provincial Park in Canada, the Adirondacks serve as a key wildlife corridor in North America (6). Adirondack Park successfully manages an integrated mosaic of private and publicly owned lands, supports sustainable land use, regulates recreational activities, and promotes ecotourism and education (5).
The conservation challenges for the Mantiqueira range and Adirondacks are similar, despite being proposed more than a century apart. The future of Brazil’s most prominent mountain chain as wilderness now depends on accelerated implementation of the conservation network by the Brazilian Federal Government so that the Mantiqueira Mosaic can promote biodiversity conservation and environmental stewardship through sustainable land use and citizen access.
C. Guilherme Becker, David Rodriguez, Kelly R. Zamudio
Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14850, USA.