Brazil is the largest country in South America, and shares common boundaries with every South American country except Chile and Ecuador. Deforestation in Amazon Basin destroys habitat and endangers a multitude of plant and animal species indigenous to the area. There is a lucrative illegal wildlife trade. Air and water pollution in Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo, and several other large cities is an issue. Elsewhere land degradation and water pollution is caused by improper mining activities, wetland degradation, and severe oil spills. The United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED), also known as the Rio Summit, Rio Conference, Earth Summit (referred to as “ECO-92” in Portuguese) was a major United Nations conference held in Rio de Janeiro from in June 1992. In 2012, the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development was also held in Rio, and is also commonly called Rio+20 or Rio Earth Summit 2012. Brazil’s Green Party is called Partido Verde, in which the notorious Fernando Gabeira has been a prominent figure. Oliver Hillel is a Brazilian biologist and has been a prominent expert on sustainable tourism development for the United Nations.

Wikipedia maintains an overview of Conservation in Brazil, including an English language explanation of the protected area scheme in toto, called SNUC or “National System of Conservation Units“. ParksWatch also provides a useful high-level overview of the protected areas of Brazil. The Nature Conservancy has had a hand in protecting a number of areas in Brazil too. IBAMA (Instituto Brasileiro do Meio Ambiente e dos Recursos Naturais Renováveis), the “Brazilian Institute of Environment and Renewable Natural Resources“, is the governmental entity in charge of Brazil’s national parks. (See the Wikipedia List of national parks of Brazil.) The “program of Amazonian protected areas” is called ARPA (Programa de Áreas Protegidas da Amazônia). The Brazilian government maintains an influential “National Institute of Amazonian Research” (Instituto Nacional de Pesquisas da Amazônia or INPA) in Manuas. Friends of the Earth – Brazilian Amazon (Amigos da Terra – Amazônia Brasileira) is another good source on Amazon-specific activism. Charles A. Munn’s Jaguar Research Center located in the Pantanal region offers the finest Jaguar viewing in Latin America. In addition to the well known Amazon rainforest, the Atlantic Forest or “Mata Atlântica” is an important region of tropical and subtropical moist forest, tropical dry forest, tropical savanna, semi-deciduous forest and mangrove forests which extends along the Atlantic coast of Brazil. The Brazilian NGO SOS Mata Atlântica has been at the forefront of promoting conservation the Atlantic Forest, such as the innovative – click to plant trees in Brazil.

WWF-Brasil has had a “program of tourism and environment” (Programa de Turismo e Meio Ambiente), which coordinates the “Brazilian council on sustainable tourism”, Conselho Brasileiro de Turismo Sustentável (CBTS). For many years, Sérgio Salazar Salvati of WWF-Brasil moderated the “Brazilian ecotourism network” Yahoo! group, Rede Brasileira de Ecoturismo (RBE). Also, the “Brazilian ecotourism society” (Sociedade Brasileira de Ecoturismo) is a focal point for ecotourism development in Brazil. In the Amazon region, “health and happiness”, Saúde e Alegria of Santarém, works with “community-based ecotourism” in four counties in western Pará. Biosfera Brasil is an agency based in São Paulo specializing in “eco-social tourism” experiences. The annual Adventure Sports Fair in São Paulo is one of the major venues for the outdoor industry in Brazil. The Ariau Amazon Towers Hotel near Manaus is one of the most famous ecolodges in Brazil. Based outside Manaus, Tropical Tree Climbing is an ecotourism and adventure travel company specializing in recreational tree climbing and wildlife photography. It is even possible to take camel tours in the northeastern state of Rio Grande do Norte with Dromedunas of Natal.

Biosphere reserves:

  • Mata Atlântica (including Sao Paulo Green Belt) 1993 2002
  • Cerrado 1993 2001
  • Pantanal 2000
  • Caatinga 2001
  • Central Amazon 2001

IUCN members:


Following three centuries under the rule of Portugal, Brazil became an independent nation in 1822. By far the largest and most populous country in South America, Brazil has overcome more than half a century of military intervention in the governance of the country to pursue industrial and agricultural growth and development of the interior. Exploiting vast natural resources and a large labor pool, Brazil is today South America’s leading economic power and a regional leader. Highly unequal income distribution remains a pressing problem.

CIMI (Conselho Indigenista Missionário) is a good source for updates on issues effecting indigenous people in Brazil. The Instituto Socioambiental also has a long history of working with issues effecting indigenous people in Brazil, including issues related to indigenous tourism. (It should be noted that in principle, “ayahuasca tourism” per se is not officially approved of in Brazil.) Instituto EcoBrasil has been a notable force in community based tourism development, known in Brazil as “turismo comunitário”. Projeto Bagagem provides good examples of grassroots, community based tourism experiences in Brazil. The Prainha do Canto Verde project, on the northeast coast of Brazil, outside Fortaleza, Ceara, is another good example of community based tourism development. The “Brazilian rural tourism association”, Associação Brasileira de Turismo Rural (ABTR), promotes rural tourism development, as does the “rural tourism development institute”, Instituto de Desenvolvimento do Turismo Rural (IDESTUR). Hostelling International Brasil is a good place to start looking for affordable places to stay throughout Brazil. Inge Niefer, a long time sustainable tourism advocate, operates the ecolodge Pousada Sobre as Ondas or “Inn On the Waves” on the island of Superagui, northern Paraná.

There is a significant permaculture movement (Permacultura no Brasil) active in Brazil, offering many workshops and volunteer opportunities. is an alternative network in Brazil associated with the Brazilian association of Aquarian communities, ABRASCA (Associação Brasileira de Comunidades Aquarianas) and their annual national gathering of Aquarian communities, ENCA (Encontro Nacional das Comunidade Aquarianas). In terms of cultural tourism, Brazil is famous for its musical and festival culture, such as the Carnaval of Brazil. Also, the dance culture of Brazil, including the martial art of Capoeira, draws many visitors. Bill Hinchberger’s “hip guide to Brazil”, BrazilMax, is a great English language starting point for Brazilian culture. So-called “favela tourism” or shanty town tours are organized in Rio de Janiero by Exotic Tours.

World Heritage:

  • Historic Town of Ouro Preto (1980)
  • Historic Centre of the Town of Olinda (1982)
  • Jesuit Missions of the Guaranis: San Ignacio Mini, Santa Ana, Nuestra Señora de Loreto and Santa Maria Mayor (Argentina), Ruins of Sao Miguel das Missoes (Brazil) (1983, 1984) *
  • Historic Centre of Salvador de Bahia (1985)
  • Sanctuary of Bom Jesus do Congonhas (1985)
  • Iguaçu National Park (1986)
  • Brasilia (1987)
  • Serra da Capivara National Park (1991)
  • Historic Centre of São Luis (1997)
  • Historic Centre of the Town of Diamantina (1999)
  • Discovery Coast Atlantic Forest Reserves (1999)
  • Atlantic Forest Southeast Reserves (1999)
  • Central Amazon Conservation Complex (2000, 2003)
  • Pantanal Conservation Area (2000)
  • Brazilian Atlantic Islands: Fernando de Noronha and Atol das Rocas Reserves (2001)
  • Cerrado Protected Areas: Chapada dos Veadeiros and Emas National Parks (2001)
  • Historic Centre of the Town of Goiás (2001)

ICCROM members:


  • An exploration of a mini-guide programme: Training local children in sea turtle conservation and ecotourism in Brazil by F Pegas, A Coghlan, V Rocha, 2012
  • Birds of conservation concern in eastern Acre, Brazil: distributional records, occupancy estimates, human-caused mortality, and opportunities for ecotourism by JJ DeLuca, 2012
  • Effect of ecotourism activities on richness and abundance of species of medium and large mammals in the Cristalino region, Mato Grosso, Brazil by EC Rocha, E Silva, JC Dalponte, GML Giúdice, 2012
  • Human factors that influence the success or failure of environmentally sustainable tourism: public perception of managers of the Pólo Costa das Dunas do Rio Grande do Norte-Brazil by RF Macedo, VCFA Medeiros, WT Enders, 2012
  • Sustainable Tourism and Eradication of Poverty (Step): impact assessment of a tourism development program in Brazil by MC Neri, WL Soares, 2012
  • The Potential of Community-based Tourism for Local Development: Networking for Sustainable Alternatives in Brazil by R Schärer, 2012
  • Ecotourism in the city Brejo Grande (Brazil) alternative for sustainable development: prospects of the local community by EA Melo, JS Pinheiro, AB Andrade, 2011
  • Ecotourism, social and human capitals, and identity valorization: the communities of Tapajós (PA), Brazil by IB Lima, AM d’Hauteserre, 2011
  • Environmental education contributions for sustainable tourism in the Environmental Protection Area (APA) in Maracanã, São Luís (Maranhão, Brazil) by SR Santos, PC Santos, 2011
  • Ethno-knowledge practices in participatory management for sustainable tourism at Amazonia: Tapanagem Quilombo (Oriximina/Pará State, Brazil) by LG Campos, CP Mattos, 2011
  • From Myth to Reality: The Experience of Sustainable Tourism in The Vale Encantado Community in Tijuca Forest, Rio de Janeiro by OA Barros, ME Melo, 2011
  • Scientific ecotourism in the São Paulo state, southernmost coastal plain, Brazil by JR Almeida, K Suguio, 2011
  • Developing sustainable tourism in the Amazon rainforest of Brazil–premises, actions, challenges by VLR de Jesus, 2010
  • Ecotourism and sea turtle harvesting in a fishing village of Bahia, Brazil by A Stronza, 2010
  • Ecotourism in Brazil: geographical perspectives of development in protected areas by NMC da Costa, VC da Costa, 2010
  • Ecotourism in Brazil–Case Study of the “Legal Amazon” by LM Kunkel, 2010
  • Local variation in bird communities composition at Carlos Botelho State Park, São Miguel Arcanjo–SP, Southeastern Brazil and proposals for monitoring the impact of ecotourism by BG da SILVA, AZ ANTUNES, 2010
  • Occurrence of sand flies (Diptera, Psychodidae) in leishmaniasis foci in an ecotourism area around the Lençóis Maranhenses National Park, Brazil by JMM Rebêlo, AN Assunção Júnior, 2010
  • Proposal for integrated monitoring of environmental education and ecotourism in conservation areas in Sergipe, Brazil by CE Silva, 2010
  • Sustainable Management of a Family Business -A Study of Case Focused on Indigenous Ecotourism, Managed by Paiter Surui`s People in Cacoal Region, Rondonia State, Brasil- by F De Sao Pedro Filho, 2010
  • Conservation and Ecotourism in Brazil and México: The Development Impact by DI Fleischer, 2009
  • Ecotourism, Sea Turtles, and Livelihoods: Adaptation and Resistance to Development and Conservation in Mexico and Brazil by DIR Fleischer, 2009
  • Tourism development: sustainable or sustained? Intercultural reflections on the case of Praia do Forte-Bahia, Brazil by S Alvesi, AVG de Hilalii, 2009
  • Tourism, environment and sustainable development. Local strategies for improving rural livelihoods in Bahia (Brazil) and Goa (India) by N Lourenço, C Russo Machado, R Jorge, 2009
  • Ecotourism and conservation: Two cases from Brazil and Peru by A Stronza, F Pegas, 2008
  • Intestinal parasites in ecotourism region of the state of Paraná, Brazil by DLM Falavigna, AA Almeida, RS Iwazaki, 2008
  • Relationship among tourism, ownership of land and heritage: a contribution to the planning of sustainable tourism in Bahia, Brazil by NR Bomfim, DS Argolo, 2008
  • Schistosomiasis in an ecotourism area in Minas Gerais State, Brazil by CL Massara, GL Amaral, RL Caldeira, 2008
  • Sustainable Tourism: focusing on the local craft in the city of Santo Antônio do Pinhal, São Paulo, Brazil by R Sant’Ana, F Ricci, 2008
  • Sustainable tourism in Brazil: utopia or possible way? by SS Bacal, AJ de Souza Melo, GM Widmer, 2008
  • The Micro Geopolitics of (Eco) Tourism: Competing Discourses in New Zealand and Brazil by IB Lima, 2008
  • Ecotourism at Jericoacoara National Park, Brazil: possibilities to involvement of the population by VSF Selva, MFA Lima, MJ Heckmann, VSF Selva, 2007
  • Ecotourism as a Tool for the Conservation of Endangered Species in the Coastal Region of Santa Catarina, Brazil by O Carvalho, 2006
  • Ecotourism in extractive reserves in Brazil by M Borges, S Richardson, 2006
  • Welcome to Brazil, Amazon Region, the green center of the world: a strategy for sustainable tourism and eco-tourism by MC Tojeiro, 2006
  • Ecotourism in the north Pantanal, Brazil: regional bases and subjects for sustainable development by H MARUYAMA, T NIHEI, Y NISHIWAKI, 2005
  • Ecotourism And Environmental Impacts In Peripheral Area Of Petar – Alto Do Ribeira State Tourist Park – São Paulo – Brazil by LL GIATTI, AA ROCHA, MDC DE OLIVEIRA DÓRIA, FA DOS SANTOS, 2004
  • Analysis of the visitors’ profile of the islands “Ilha do Superagüi” e “Ilha do Mel”, Brazil: Marketing as an instrument for sustainable tourism by IA Niefer, 2003
  • Ecotourism: diagnosis, potential and action possibilities in the Ribeira Valley, São Paulo State, Brazil by DA Romão, RHV Petti, A Monteiro, 2003
  • Ecotourism, rural development and local community in developing countries: the case of the village of Conceição do Ibitipoca in Brazil by B Gennaro, A Fantini, CGO Rodrigues, 2002
  • An evaluation of ecolodges in the brazilian amazon by Luciana Coelho Marques, 2000
  • The inter-relationship between nature based tourism in a community and nearby lodges in the brazilian amazon by Sherre Prince Nelson, 2000
  • Global ecotourism: a report on ‘World Ecotour’ 97′, the First World Congress and Exhibition on Ecotourism, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 15–18 December 1997 by RK Dowling, 1998
  • Analysis of the potential for ecotourism in northern littoral of Paraná, brazil: project summary by E Sills, D Riggsbee, O Erin, V Müller, VY Müller, 1997
  • The Potential Demand for Ecotourism in the Tapajós National Forest, Pará, Brazil by JB Tanner, TP Holmes, EO Sills, SS da Silva, 1997
  • The Use of Geo-Information System to Ecotourism and Conservation Planning in Guaraqueçaba Protected Area, South Brazil by MAFB Antunes, 1997
  • An evaluation of ecotourism in Amazonas, Brazil by GN Wallace, SM Pierce, 1996

Brazil Data