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Integrating strict protection and sustainable use areas to preserve the Brazilian Pampa biome through conservation planning

Biodiversity conservation planning must be ecosystem-specific and take into account human needs as food production. The Pampa biome is a temperate grassland with high species richness and with an important role in food production in South America. Here we present the first formal Systematic Conservation Planning for the Brazilian part of the Pampa, which is the least protected biome in Brazil. We aimed to build conservation scenarios where at least 17 % of the biome area were protected, following the 11th Aichi target for terrestrial lands protection according to the Convention on Biological Diversity. Our conservation targets were the vegetation types of this biome. Three scenarios were built varying in their proportions of strict protection (SP) and sustainable use areas (SU): Permissive scenario (5 % SP, 12 % SU); Intermediate scenario (10 % SP, 7 % SU) and Restrictive scenario (15 % SP, 2 % SU). Urban and rural areas, as well as bovine and ovine density, were used as prioritization costs, aiming to minimize possible conservation conflicts. Four main clusters of priority areas to protect the vegetational diversity can be observed in all scenarios and should be considered when implementing future protected areas in this threatened biome. Sustainable use areas are suitable for low-density livestock raising, combining biodiversity protection and food production, but strictly protected areas are still important to species most affected by livestock. The combination of strict protection and sustainable use areas can be effective in similar biomes. It should be considered in future international negotiations, such as the 2020 Conference to be held in Beijing, opening new strategies to achieve the 17 % of land protection. We expect that this Systematic Conservation Planning reinforces the recently started scientific discussion regarding the conservation of nonforest ecosystems in Brazil.

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