Brazil is starting a national program for conservation of caves this week. The Brazilian acting minister of Environment, Izabela Teixeira, signed an agreement on the matter. The idea is to adopt a national strategy for conservation of caves. According to estimates, Brazil has around 100,000 caves.
The program forecasts the creation of 30 federal conservation units, an inventory of cave assets in Brazil and the issuing of a publication on the matter. Brazil has a great number of caves due to the land being appropriate for Karst topography, geological relief whose characteristics include rock corrosion.
Despite estimates being for 100,000 caves in Brazil, there are just 6,034 registered in the National Center for Studies, Protection and Management of Caves (Cecav). Out of the total, 1,883 are within conservation areas. And of those in protected areas, just 25% are restricted to human presence.
The occupation of caves is a concern of environmentalists in Brazil, due to the pressure and degradation they suffer from human action. "We must define regulations for these activities. Apart from the society getting involved in actions for protection of Brazilian caves, alongside other sectors," explained Cecav head Jocy Brandão.
The Chico Mendes Institute for Conservation of Biodiversity (ICMBio) should coordinate the national program. For this reason, the organization should establish an advising committee, established by the Cecav, to help in the elaboration, implementation and monitoring of the program. The names to be included in the committee will be disclosed in 90 days.