Private natural heritage reserve (Brazil)

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Feliciano Miguel Abdala Natural Reserve (former Caratinga Biological Station)

A private natural heritage reserve (Portuguese: Reserva Particular do Patrimônio Natural – RPPN) is a type of preservation area in Brazil. The land is owned privately and may be used for research, education, eco-tourism and recreation. However, this use must be compatible with the goals of preserving the environment and maintaining biodiversity. Although the private reserves have been criticized, they are a valuable complement to publicly owned reserves.[neutrality is disputed]


The concept of a private natural heritage reserve (RPPN) has its origin in the "Protective forest" defined in the Forest Code of 1934, an inalienable tax-exempt area that remained the property of its owner. The term was dropped from the Forest Code of 1965, and the tax exemptions dropped the next year. However, the Hunting Code of 1967 gave property owners the ability to prevent hunting on their property.[1] In 1977 the legal entity of a "Private Refuge for Native Animals" was introduced, in which hunting would be banned. This was replaced ten years later by "Private Fauna and Flora Reserve" to cover protection of flora and marine fauna in addition to wild animals. In 1990 the new name "Private Natural Heritage Reserve" was adopted with new rules, including the possibility of recognition of RPPN's by state environmental agencies, a more democratic and perhaps less bureaucratic process.[1] Finally, the concept of the RPPN was spelled out in Law No. 9.985 of 18 July 2000, which established the National System of Conservation Units (SNUC).[1]

As of January 2009 it was estimated that there were between 856 and 930 RPPN's in Brazil covering about 672,663 hectares (1,662,190 acres), including units recognized at the federal, state and municipal levels. As of September 2009 there were 532 federally-recognized RPPN's covering 486,423 hectares (1,201,980 acres). Various regional associations provide technical support to RPPN owners.[1]


Pardinho River waterfall in the Santa Cruz do Sul University RPPN

A private natural heritage reserve is a sustainable use conservation unit under SNUC. Such units allow sustained use of renewable environmental resources, maintaining biodiversity and other ecological attributes.[2] The reserves are established in private areas in perpetuity to preserve biodiversity. The owner is given incentives such as tax exemption. The SNUC specifies that sustainable use of the renewable environmental resources must be compatible with the essential ecological processes, maintaining biodiversity and ecological attributes. Sustainable use in this case includes scientific research and public visits for tourism, recreation and education.[3]


RPPN's have been criticized for failing to conform to an overall plan for conservation at a national or regional level, for being dependent on the will of the owners, for being too small to have any effect in such a huge country and for lack of monitoring of RPPN management or effectiveness.[1] On the other hand, RPPN's may have value due to their independence of political forces and their creation of additional protected areas on private land that may provide landscape connectivity, wildlife corridors and buffer zones around the other protected areas.[1] Private and public agencies can help protect, manage and monitor an RPPN. And an RPPN, which is created without expropriations and gives value to the owner, may create less conflict than publicly owned units and more community involvement and awareness of the value of environmental conservation, restoration and research.[1]


Name State Area (ha) Created Biome
Buraco das Araras Mato Grosso do Sul 29 2007 Cerrado
Cantidiano Valqueiro Barros Pernambuco 285 2003 Caatinga
Cisalpina Mato Grosso 3,858 2016 Cerrado
Engenho Gargaú Paraíba 1,059 1994 Atlantic Forest
Fazenda Pacatuba Paraíba 267 1995 Atlantic Forest
Feliciano Miguel Abdala Minas Gerais 958 2001 Atlantic Forest
Mata da Estrela Rio Grande do Norte 2,040 2000 Atlantic Forest
Mata do Jambreiro Minas Gerais 912 1979 Atlantic Forest
Maurício Dantas Pernambuco 1,485 1997 Caatinga
Mouth of the Aguapeí São Paulo 8,885 2010 Atlantic Forest
Rio das Furnas Santa Catarina 53.5 2002 Atlantic Forest
Rio das Lontras Santa Catarina 20 2005 Atlantic Forest
Salto Morato Paraná 2,340 1994 Atlantic Forest
Sebuí Paraná 400 1999 Atlantic Forest
Serra das Almas Ceará 5,845 2001 Caatinga
Sossego Forest Minas Gerais 134 1998 Atlantic Forest
Santa Cruz do Sul University Rio Grande do Sul 221 2009 Atlantic Forest



  • Áreas protegidas (in Portuguese), Apremavi - Associação de Preservação do Meio Ambiente e da Vida, archived from the original on 2016-05-02, retrieved 2016-05-08
  • Categorias (in Portuguese), Chico Mendes Institute for Biodiversity Conservation, retrieved 2016-05-08
  • Reserva Particular do Patrimônio Natural (in Portuguese), ISA: Instituto Socioambiental, retrieved 2016-05-10