Millennium Ecosystem Assessment
Strengthening Capacity to Manage Ecosystems Sustainably for Human Well-Being

São Paulo City Green Belt Biosphere Reserve Assessment


The assessment will cover the São Paulo City Green Belt Biosphere Reserve, including the territorial portions that house water resources, forests, crops, and cultural aspects that are largely and clearly associated with the metropolitan daily life, while at the same time suffering from the outputs of the metropolitan area.

Lead institution

Forest Institute of Sao Paulo

Contact information:

  • Rodrigo A. Braga Moraes Victor
    São Paulo City Green Belt Biosphere Reserve
    Environment Secretariat, Forest Institute
    Rua do Horto, 931
    CEP 02377-000
    Sao Paulo, SP
    Phone: +55 11-6231-8555 x2013 / 2104
    Fax: 55 11-6232-3116

Focal issues

This assessment aims to incorporate the reality of urbanized areas and their surroundings into global environmental assessments. It will explore the importance of ecosystem goods and services provided by the Green Belt to the São Paulo megalopolis and how the drivers generated by urbanization threaten the continuity of these vital processes.

Ecosystem services being assessed

Water supply, climate regulation, flood control and stabilization of sensitive areas, carbon sequestration, biodiversity, food safety, recreation, cultural heritage, human health.

Key features of assessment

According to recent data from UNO, the percentage of people living in cities worldwide has increased in excess of 50%, and available information suggests that this trend will continue throughout the 21st Century. Generally speaking, this phenomenon is driving “consumers” of goods & services from planetary ecosystems to focus on specific “spots” of the Earth’s surface instead of opting for a more spaced and extensive distribution over the same surface. The consequences and linkages of this urban concentration are not yet fully known but, given that this process involves not only migration but population growth itself, it is the environments consisting of cities and metropolises that will surely demand the most world resources in the mid- to long run.

With 17.8 million inhabitants, the Metropolitan Region of Sao Paulo is the 4th largest metropolis in the world. This gigantism, materialized as a metropolis of great geopolitical importance and concentration of wealth, unmistakably comes with extreme poverty, social exclusion, unemployment and, of course, environmental degradation. The environmental reality of the megalopolis is of a senseless use of soil, large-scale environmental pollution, unsustainable use of energy and intensified aridity of urbanized areas contrast sharply with the surrounding zone. This zone is composed of large portions of forestland, cultivated areas, costal and marine strips, and virtually untouched areas with a wealth of environmental resources and services unique in the world.

Timeframe, budget

The seed funding amounts to US $50,000.