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) (Brazilian Ministry of Environment)
Overall term: 2015 to 2020



Extending for more than 8,500 kilometres, the Brazilian coast is one of the longest in the world. Besides the world’s largest contiguous mangrove area, it is also home to a unique diversity of species and ecosystems such as dunes, lagoons, sandbanks and estuaries. The marine zone covers 3.6 million square kilometres (40 per cent of Brazilian territory) and shelters the only coral reefs in the South Atlantic as well as a multitude of endemic species. Despite its biodiversity, the Brazilian coast is one of the country’s most at-risk regions.

Some 51 million people, or roughly 27 per cent of the population, live in the coastal region. The region contains 16 of the country’s 28 metropolitan areas and accounts for more than half of Brazil’s gross domestic product (GDP). Intensive use by large-scale industrial plants and ports, activities such as oil and gas extraction, conflicts over water and land use, difficulties in environmental spatial planning and the impacts of climate change are threatening environmental quality and biodiversity conservation in the Brazilian coastal zone.


The conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity in marine and coastal zones in the regions of Costa dos Corais and Abrolhos have improved as a result of integrated environmental planning.



The project supports environmental planning for Brazil’s marine and coastal zone. It also promotes measures for the conservation and sustainable use of natural resources and strengthens strategies for monitoring environmental quality. Institutional support for relevant local stakeholders, targeted initial and continuing training and a participatory approach contribute to developing capacities and strengthening regional networks. Project experiences are disseminated at a national and international level and help to strengthen relevant national and federal policies. The project is being implemented in two coastal regions, Costa dos Corais and Abrolhos, which were chosen due to their unique ecosystems and significance for conservation and the sustainable use of marine and coastal biodiversity.

TerraMar implements project activities in the coastal regions in collaboration with the governments of the states of Alagoas, Pernambuco, Bahia and Espírito Santo as well as with municipalities, civil society organisations, the private sector and other stakeholders operating in the marine and coastal zone. TerraMar also cooperates closely with other coastal and marine conservation projects, especially with the Global Environment Facility (GEF) project for the expansion and consolidation of marine protected areas (GEF-Mar).


The project supports Brazil in meeting the Aichi Biodiversity Targets, particularly target 6 (sustainable fisheries), target 10 (minimising pressures on coral reefs) and target 11 (expanding and safeguarding ecosystems to conserve coastal and marine areas) and has achieved the following results to date:

  • More than 500 specialists of the protected area agency ICMBio, the Ministry of Environment, state and local governments have received training on environmental management in marine and coastal regions (including the development of national action plans for protecting endangered species (Planos de Ação Nacional – PAN), with a focus on coastal and marine biodiversity, sustainable management of fisheries, systematic planning for biodiversity conservation and municipal environmental management).
  • Processes to restructure and strengthen federal and state policies on sustainable fisheries management and on the protection of endangered species have been supported through continuing education, networking and the promotion of coordination processes.
  • The development and application of environmental spatial planning processes with an impact on coastal and marine biodiversity has been supported.
  • The Ministry of Environment’s environmental education campaign on the protection of beaches and coral reefs has been restructured.
  • The process of updating the policy on priority areas of biodiversity in coastal and marine zones has been supported.

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