A framework for biological zoning of protected areas of the Brazilian Cerrado

Renata Dias Françoso, Ricardo B. Machado, Reuber Brandão


The zoning of protected areas is a fundamental step in planning for natural resources management and conservation. However, its development presents several challenging features. Sometimes, the biological aspects of the protected areas are poorly considered in the final zoning, which becomes a controversial issue, since the biological conservation is the main objective of these areas. Herein, we propose an index to evaluate the biological relevance of different landscape units (Biological Importance Value – BIV), specially tailored for the zoning of protected areas. We also present a case study where the BIV was used for zoning the Serra do Tombador Natural Reserve (RNST). A layer of spatial information was produced attributing a BIV value for each landscape entity. This layer was included in a weighted overlay framework with the vegetation types, hydrograph, and roads. We found eight different biological relevance levels in the RNST. These values composed the basis for the final reserve zoning. The BIV associated with the weighted overlay framework reflected the observed faunal distribution in the area and represents an important tool for the implementation of protected areas management practices.

Keywords: protected areas zoning, biological relevance index, weighted overlay, Serra do Tombador Natural Reserve.

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