Protecting Brazil’s marine and coastal biodiversity

Project description

Title: Protection and integrated management of marine and coastal biodiversity – TerraMar
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Nuclear Safety and Consumer Protection (BMUV)
Country: Brazil
Lead executing agency: Ministério do Meio Ambiente (MMA – Brazilian Ministry of the Environment)
Overall term: 2015 to 2024

Map showing coral reefs and coastal protected areas off Abrolhos and Costa dos Corais


Brazil has one of the world’s longest coastlines. In addition to the largest contiguous mangrove area in the world, the more than 8,500-kilometre-long coast is home to a unique variety of species and ecosystems, such as dunes, lagoons, sandbanks and estuaries. The marine zone comprises 40 per cent of Brazil’s national territory. It contains the only coral reefs in the South Atlantic, as well as numerous endemic species. Nevertheless, the Brazilian coast is one of the most threatened areas of the country.

Approximately 51 million people, about 27 per cent of the population, live in the coastal region. 16 of the 28 Brazilian metropolitan areas are located here and more than half of the gross domestic product (GDP) is generated here. However, intensive use by large industrial plants, conflicts over water and land use, waste disposed of in the sea and environmental planning difficulties, as well as the effects of climate change, threaten the quality of the environment and biodiversity in the Brazilian coastal strip.


The protection and environmentally friendly use of biodiversity in the coastal and marine zones in the Costa dos Corais and Abrolhos regions have been improved through integrated environmental spatial planning.

Mangrove clean-up event to combat marine litter in Tamandaré, Pernambuco. Photo: Pedro Caldas/SEMAS-PE


The project supports environmental spatial planning for the Brazilian coastal and marine zones. In doing so, it encourages the protection and environmentally friendly use of natural resources. It also promotes strategies for monitoring environmental quality. Regional networks are developing institutional support for relevant local actors, thematic education and training and a participatory approach. Since 2019, the project has also been addressing marine litter.

The project shares its lessons learned at both national and international level. In this way, it contributes to improving national and federal state policy. It is being implemented in the Costa dos Corais and Abrolhos coastal regions, which were selected due to their unique ecosystems and their importance for coastal and marine biodiversity.

Water catchment area, conservation area APA de Guadalupe, Pernambuco. Photo: Studio Lumix/GIZ

Last update: January 2023

Additional information