The Instituto Estadual do Ambiente (INEA) is Rio de Janeiro’s State environmental institute, a government body which has overall responsibility the administration and licensing of large areas of protected land. These protected areas can become conservation units and can be found in many differing habitats – on the coast, at sea and inland. They take various forms, from reserves and scientific areas to state parks.
INEA has created nine large state parks in Rio de Janeiro to date, the largest being the Três Picos State Park created in 2002, named after the stunning three peaks that form part of the Serra dos Órgãos mountain range. This park, of almost 70,000 hectares, covers forested mountains in five municipalities.
It is not easy creating a park on previously private land and although the government wishes to guarantee the continual preservation of areas of high biodiversity, the act of licensing and protecting the land is never popular with land owners. Very often the financial means are not available to compensate the landowners but at least the decree translates to land use and a loose layer of protection.
Considering 80% of REGUA land overlaps the Três Picos State Park, REGUA has developed a strong working partnership with INEA on this land favouring protection, research and tourism – all non-impacting activities that ultimately contribute to the conservation of the land.
One such activity that the INEA encourages action is in Bird-watching and last weekend REGUA hosted a visit by members of the public in an activity sponsored by INEA. More than 25 people arrived including men, women and children, all carrying cameras and binoculars. Luana Bianquini, herself a great birder, helped organise the event and introduced the reserve to the public who walked the wetland trail to see the birds found here.
It was a successful event that left everyone very content and we hope to see them all again in the near future.