Protection and integrated management of marine and coastal biodiversity – TerraMar

Project description

Title: Protection and integrated management of marine and coastal biodiversity – TerraMar
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU)
Country: Brazil
Lead executing agency: Ministério do Meio Ambiente (MMA)
Overall term: 2015 bis 2020


Brazil’s marine and coastal zone covers 3.5 million square kilometres, more than 40 per cent of the country’s land area. Extending for about 8,500 kilometres, Brazil’s coast is among the longest in the world; it also has extremely high levels of biodiversity. In addition to its extensive contiguous mangrove area, the coastline is also home to the only coral reef in the south Atlantic, a multitude of endemic species, and unique ecosystems such as dunes, lagoons, islands, sandbanks and estuaries.

These ecosystems are exposed to severe human impacts and intensive use. Nearly a quarter of the population, around 45 million people, live in the coastal area. More than half of Brazil’s economic output is generated here, and it is also the location of 16 of the country’s 28 metropolitan areas. Large-scale industrial plants, ports, the fisheries sector, oil and gas extraction and seabed mining have a heavy impact on marine and coastal ecosystems. The impacts of climate change – rising sea levels and the resulting coastal flooding, ocean acidification, and soil and groundwater salinisation – exacerbate these problems. With only around 3 per cent of the area currently under protection, the marine and coastal zone is one the country’s most at-risk regions.

There has been little progress towards a holistic view of the interactions between the ocean and coasts. This constitutes another crucial challenge in addition to the small proportion of the marine and coastal zone that has so far been placed under protection. Moreover, there is still insufficient cooperation on the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity among key political, civil society and private sector actors as well as stakeholders from other sectors, particularly fisheries, tourism, agriculture and transportation.


The conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity in the marine and coastal zone of the Costa dos Corais and Abrolhos regions have improved.


The project supports an integrated approach to environmental and spatial planning for the marine and coastal zone of the Costa dos Corais and Abrolhos regions. In addition, the project is implementing measures for the conservation and sustainable use of natural resources and developing monitoring strategies to assess environmental quality.Sustainable management capacities of local stakeholders are strengthened through training activities, institutional support, increased knowledge management and networks in the region applying a participatory approaches.

Experience gained throughout the project is disseminated nationally and internationally, thereby helping to strengthen the relevant national and local policies.

The two pilot regions were selected on the basis of their representative and typical use of coastal areas, as well as their high levels of biodiversity. Moreover, policy and spatial planning strategies are already in place in both regions, and can be built upon; these include integrated coastal zone management, marine protected areas and ecological-economic zoning.

On behalf of the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety (BMUB), GIZ is strengthening the skills and capacities of the partners as well as developing methodologies. In this way, GIZ is supporting Brazil towards achieving the global Aichi Biodiversity Targets, especially Target 6 (sustainable fisheries), 10 (reducing pressures on coral reefs) and 11 (expanding and strengthening the system of coastal and marine protected areas).

The partner institutions are the Brazilian Ministry of Environment and its national system of conservation units. Further significant participants include the states of Pernambuco, Alagoas, Bahia and Espirito Santo, as well as civil society actors, the academic community and the private sector. From 2015 to 2020, Germany and the Brazilian partners intend to invest in training as well as the development of methods for the protection and sustainable management of coastal and marine biodiversity.