Funding deficits of protected areas in Brazil

José Maria Cardoso da Silva, Teresa Cristina Albuquerque de Castro Dias, Alan Cavalcanti da Cunha, Helenilza Ferreira Albuquerque Cunha

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Protected areas (PAs) are the most effective public policy instruments to protect natural ecosystems and the services these ecosystems provide. Nevertheless, several PAs present a funding deficit because governments allocate fewer financial resources than those required to cover PA management costs. The variation in funding deficits within countries is not well documented because information about PA public investments and management costs are seldom available. We describe the variation in funding deficits across Brazilian federal PAs and propose a model that explains such variation by using PAs' characteristics and their zones of influence as predictors. We estimated that the 282 Brazilian federal PAs needed US$ 468 million to cover their management costs in 2016. However, the Brazilian government allocated only 15.5 % of these costs. Approximately 76.5 % of the PAs had funding deficits. Our model showed that: (1) funding deficit is negatively associated with PA age and the human development index but positively associated with PA size, (2) PAs in the Atlantic Forest and the Savannas and Drylands have lower funding deficits than PAs in the Amazon, and (3) PAs in the Atlantic Forest have lower funding deficits than PAs in the Savannas and Drylands. We found that the proportion of PAs with a funding deficit in Brazil is high and is comparable to the high percentage of PAs (75 %–100 %) with a funding deficit found in sub-Saharan Africa. Moreover, there is evidence that the total annual funding deficit in the Brazilian PAs increased in the last decade. New policies, public-private partnerships, and innovative funding mechanisms need to be set to close the large funding gap in the Brazilian federal PA system.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number104926
JournalLand Use Policy
StatePublished - Jan 2021


  • Biodiversity
  • Conservation
  • Public policy
  • Sustainable development

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Forestry
  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Nature and Landscape Conservation
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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