Protecting Brazil’s 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 the Environment)
Overall term: 2015 to 2022

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


Brazil has one of the world’s longest coastlines, which stretches over 8,500 kilometres. In addition to the largest contiguous mangrove forest in the world, it is also home to a unique wealth of species and ecosystems such as dunes, lagoons, sandbars and river deltas. It contains the only coral reefs in the South Atlantic as well as numerous endemic species.

Around 51 million people, some 27 per cent of the population, live in the coastal region, and 16 of the 28 Brazilian metropolises are located here. Over half the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) is generated in the region. However, the environment and biodiversity of the Brazilian coastline are threatened by water and land use conflicts, difficulties in environmental planning, the effects of climate change and intensive industrial use.


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

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


The project supports environmental planning for the Brazilian coastal and marine zone. It promotes the conservation and long-term use of natural resources as well as the monitoring of environmental quality. Assistance for local stakeholders, topic-specific training and further education and participatory approaches strengthen regional networks.

The project has also focused on the issue of marine litter since 2019. It contributes to political solutions by disseminating its experiences at national and international level. It is being implemented in the two coastal regions of Costa dos Corais and Abrolhos, which were selected due to their unique ecosystems and their significance for coastal and marine biodiversity.

Partners of the project include the state governments in Alagoas, Pernambuco, Bahia and Espírito Santo. It also cooperates with municipalities, civil society organisations, the private sector and other relevant stakeholders.

Last update: August 2021

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

Additional information