Araguaia River Biodiversity Corridor Project
Located along one of the largest rivers in central Brazil, this project aims to implement a biodiversity corridor that preserves the biological, cultural, social and economic riches of the Araguaia River.
Beginning in the Cerrado near Emas National Park and ending in the Amazon forest, the Araguaia River spans 1800 km and is the third largest river in Brazil outside of the Amazon River Basin. It is one of the most well-preserved rivers in Brazil, rich in biodiversity, and also important in terms of cultural diversity, and tourism and socioeconomic activities. Wildlife species that require large tracts of native habitat, such as the jaguar, count on the Araguaia River for hunting, breeding and dispersal. Considering the Araguaia River as a feasible biodiversity corridor, this project aims to establish a long-term habitat management program that preserves the river’s ecological, social, and economic richness.
Developed together with the Brazilian Environmental Agency (IBAMA) and Earthwatch Institute, the project began in early 2008. The first phase of this project, still in progress, is to map the anthropic and environmental aspects of the corridor area, a 20 km-wide strip of land alongside each river bank. In addition, the distributions of five focal species are being mapped: the jaguar (Araguaia – Jaguar Corridor), giant river otter (Ecology and Conservation of giant river otter in the mid-Araguaia river), black caiman, Amazon River dolphin, and the piraíba catfish. These species are top predators occupying different ecological niches, and thus can be used as indicators of environmental quality in the region. This phase will be finalized by a diagnosis of the current status of the Araguaia River and the creation of a management plan with concrete actions to conserve the river. The Araguaia River Biodiversity Corridor will be implemented together with the management plan. The Corridor will be monitored over the long-term, mainly through the previously mentioned indicator species, to guarantee its functionality and quality for local human and wildlife populations.