Guilherme Dutra is director for coastal and marine strategy at Conservation International-Brazil. Less than 2 percent of Brazil’s marine ecosystems are protected, but as part of the Convention on Biological Diversity, a global treaty addressing the conservation of biodiversity, the country agreed to protect at least 10 percent of its waters by 2020. One part of those waters, the Abrolhos region, is considered the richest area of marine biodiversity in the South Atlantic.
Dutra’s Pew fellowship project contributed to Brazil’s goal by supporting the expansion of the Abrolhos Marine Protected Area (MPA) Network, which will include a mix of no-take reserves and multiple-use MPAs that allow for the sustainability of the region. The project sought to increase the no-take reserves from 88,250 hectares to 1 million hectares (340 to 3,861 square miles) and the multiple-use MPAs from approximately 380,000 hectares to 8.5 million hectares (1,467 to 32,818 square miles).
To accomplish these objectives, Dutra developed an action plan, obtained high-quality images of spectacular but remote marine habitats, and supported strong communication efforts directed at decision-makers and the Brazilian public. He and his team worked with the Brazilian government and a group of partners to build a comprehensive proposal for expansion of the MPAs. This network was designed to ally biodiversity conservation with sustainable human uses in the region, with special attention to such activities as fishing and tourism.
Dutra used the Abrolhos expansion process as a model for similar marine planning approaches in other areas and to advance conservation planning in Brazil.
To learn more about Dutra, visit http://www.conservation.org/global/brasil/quem-somos/Pages/guilherme-dutra.aspx.