Research Article 005. Pack, et al. 2016. Protected area downgrading, downsizing, and degazettement (PADDD) in the Amazon. Biological Conservation 197: 32-39.

Shalynn M. Pack, Mariana Napolitano Ferreira, Roopa Krithivasan, Jennifer Murrow, Enrico Bernard, Michael B. Mascia

Protected areas (PAs) are a cornerstone of biodiversity conservation. Brazil, home to one-third of the world's tropical forests and 12% of its PAs, is a global leader in PA creation and management. Despite this leadership, evidence suggests that Brazil is scaling back elements of its PA network through a process known as PA downgrading, downsizing and degazettement (PADDD). To examine PADDD in Brazil, we created a comprehensive spatial database and documented all enacted and proposed PADDD events since 1900. We identified 67 enacted PADDD events, which affected 112,477 km2 and eliminated 6% of Brazil's total potential terrestrial PA estate. Hydropower (39%) and rural human settlements (20%) were associated with most of these enacted PADDD events, which have increased in frequency since 2005. Another 27 active PADDD proposals currently threaten to eliminate 60,555 km2 of protected lands. We then compared short-term deforestation rates in Brazilian Amazon forests that experienced PADDD to deforestation rates in corresponding still-protected and never-protected forests. Contrary to previous research, we did not find a significant causal effect of enacted PADDD events on short-term deforestation rates; rather, short-term deforestation rates in PADDDed forests appear correlated with broader patterns of deforestation. These findings suggest the need for national policies governing PADDD that are analogous to policies governing the initial establishment of PAs, including public consultation, technical studies, compensatory measures, and visual representation and explanation of the proposed changes.