By Arkady Petrov

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - In three decades, protected areas in the Amazon have lost vegetation territory equivalent to six cities the size of São Paulo.  A total of 953,000 hectares were deforested in Conservation Units (UCs), indigenous lands (TIs), and Quilombolas that should have remained fully preserved.

Surrounded by territories showing even higher rates of deforestation, these protected areas have not been unscathed by growing pressure on the biome, but have gained importance--today they are responsible for preserving more than half of the forest.

In 1985, they represented 47 percent of the natural forest . . .

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