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 2021



Extending for more than 8,500 kilometres, the Brazilian coast is among the longest in the world, sheltering unique biodiversity and a significant variety of ecosystems. In addition to the world’s most extensive continuous mangroves, the Brazilian coast also contains exceptional ecosystems such as dunes, lagoons, islands, sandbanks and estuaries. The marine area covers 3.6 million square kilometres, which is equivalent to 40 per cent of the Brazilian territory. It shelters numerous endemic species as well as the only coral reef in the South Atlantic. Despite its biodiversity, the Brazilian coast is considered to be one of the most threatened regions in the country. 

Approximately 51 million people (27 per cent of the population) live along the Brazilian coast, 16 of the country’s 28 metropolises are located here and more than half of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is produced here. This intense human occupation, as well as industrial installations and ports, gas and petroleum extraction, land and water use conflicts and lack of integrated coastal and marine management threaten environmental quality and biodiversity conservation on the Brazilian coast. 


The conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity has improved in the regions Costa dos Corais and Abrolhos as a result of integrated coastal and marine management. 



The project adopts an integrated approach to environmental planning for coastal and marine areas, implements measures for the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity and promotes monitoring strategies to analyse environmental quality. In addition, the project supports institutional development by promoting trainings and other capacity-development measures, as well as by strengthening regional networks. Lessons learned and project experiences are disseminated nationally and internationally to strengthen and improve relevant national and state policies. Since 2019, TerraMar has been developing an action strategy to help prevent and reduce marine litter.

The project is implemented in two coastal regions, Costa dos Corais and Abrolhos. These regions were selected based on their unique ecosystems as well as their importance for the conservation and sustainable use of coastal and marine biodiversity. 

TerraMar implements project activities 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 GEF-Mar, a Global Environment Facility project for the expansion of marine protected areas.



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

  • More than 500 specialists from the environmental agency ICMBio, the Ministry of Environment, states and local governments as well as civil society have received training related to environmental management in marine and coastal regions
  • Support for processes of restructuring and strengthening national and state policies on sustainably fishery and conservation of endangered species
  • Assistance in the development and implementation of instruments for environmental planning with impacts on coastal and marine biodiversity  
  • Restructuring the Ministry of Environment’s environmental campaign on the protection of corals and beaches
  • Support in updating the Brazilian Policy on Priority Areas for the Conservation, Sustainable Use and Repatriation of Biodiversity Benefits, with focus on coastal and marine areas
  • Strengthening networks between government institutions, civil society, traditional communities, academia and the private sector in the Project regions 

Last Update: September 2020

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