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What's a RESEX
In 2009 the Prainha do Canto Verde was declared a land and marine extractive reserve or RESEX (Reserva Extrativista )

1. Global protection of the sea

Starting in 2012, the international community, within the framework of the UN, had planned under the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) to declare ten percent of the world's total sea surface a Marine Protected Area. All geographically and biologically significant habitats and species were to be protected by way of example. The administration of these protected areas would be organised under legal global directives, and be subject to community-based management with state control. At present, this goal is still a long way off.

The reason for this is strong economic opposition from industrial fishing interests and, above all, the lack of legal enforcement mechanisms. States only have the legal power to protect an area covering up to 200 miles from the coast - the so-called Exclusive Economic Zone. Beyond that, the high seas begin. On it, all countries have the right to free navigation, free fishing, the freedom to research, and to conduct military exercises in peacetime.

In Brazil, the 1990s saw the start of the joint management of important natural resources by the state and its users. The first RESEX was established in 1990 in Amazonia, thanks to the international mobilisation of Chico Mendes, who represented rubber workers in the state of Acre. However, However, he was assassinated by large estate owners prior to implementation and, according to the latest reports, the Chico Mendes "RESEX" in Amazonia is also in danger of being dissolved. 

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All land declared as a RESEX reserve is now owned by the state, and is subject to strict environmental, retailing, building and administrative requirements.

2. Brazilian national legislation

According to the National Protected Areas Register, as of July 2015 there are 90 natural resource reserves in the country: 62 at the federal level and 28 at the state level. Examples of RESEX are the SerraReserva Extrativista Chico Mendes, the Reserva Extrativista Rio Xingu and the Reserva Extrativista Acaú-Goiana and Prainha do Canto Verde.


Extractivist marine and natural resource reserves (RESEX) are protected areas whose aim is to protect the livelihoods and culture of traditional populations and to ensure the sustainable use of the area's natural resources. The livelihoods of these populations are based on the extraction of raw materials and are supplemented by subsistence agriculture and small animal husbandry.


The RESEX areas are state property, but can be used exclusively by the traditional communities. Private land is expropriated by law. Visitors such as tourists are allowed, provided they are compatible with local interests and the development objective. Scientific research is also allowed and encouraged, provided it is approved by the competent environmental authority.

On the other hand, both amateur and professional hunting is prohibited in the area. Commercial exploitation of the timber resources may only take place on a sustainable basis, in exceptional cases and as a complement to the other activities in the reserve, and must comply with the regulations and the management plan.

The area is managed by an advisory council, (..) consisting of representatives of government agencies, civil organisations and the traditional population residing in the area, (..). This council approves the management plan for the assisted area.

As it is a sustainable use unit, the economy created in a Resex cannot be large-scale and competitive. Rather, it must be mindful of the sustainability of the traditional population residing there.


Natural resource reserves were created by Law 9.985/00 and are part of the National System of Conservation Units (SNUC). They are administered by the relevant environmental authority. If it is a federal law, the Chico Mendes Institute (ICMBio) is responsible; if it is a state or municipal law, the state or municipal environmental authority is responsible.

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