Area of Environmental Protection - APA Islands of Tinharé-Boipeba
The "APA" (Área de Proteção Ambiental - Area of Environmental Protection) of the Islands of Tinharé and Boipeba, created in 1992 (State Decree 1240), is located at the Southern coast of the Brazilian State of Bahia, between Ponta do Corral and the Costa do Dendê, and covers a total area of 43.300 ha of the municipality of Cairu. The area comprises a number of ecosystems of great environmental interest, with large mangrove forests and untouched beaches and a varied coastline seamed by hills, sandbanks and coral reefs. The installation of an environmental protection area aims at preserving these ecosystems and regulating human influence and the growing touristic activities in the region.
General Environmental Characteristics
The area is composed by a system of estuaries, navigable rivers, tidal canals, islands, mangrove areas of great fishing potential and important remainders of the Atlantic Rainforest, which together form the fragile habitat for a variety of rare fauna and flora. Villages like Morro de São Paulo, Boipeba, Gamboa and Garapuá and their idyllic beaches are easy to reach by boat and have come to enjoy an increasing popularity among tourists. Problems related to these developments are related to sanitation and civil construction.
The mangrove swamps and forests along the rivers and in the tidal zones of the area are among the largest and best preserved in the State of Bahia. An example of the specialized fauna in this ecosystem is the "mangrove cotton" (algodão-do-mangue, Hibiscus pernambucensis). The "Restinga", a biotic community classified as a sub-system of the Atlantic Rainforest, common in the vicinity of beaches, presents a suprizing variety of species that have specialized on hot and sandy soils. Dune vegetation, wetlands, ciliary forests constitute other specialized communities of the region. Forest stands, when intact, are of the "Ombrófila Densa" type evergreen humid forests. As for timber, the Pau d'Arco (Tabebuia sp) is of economical importance for the region.
Among the macrofauna found in the observed habitats, birds are most strongly represented, both in terms of number of species and number of individuals. This includes several species threatened by extinction, such as the Curió (Oryzoborus angolensis), a song bird much persued by man. Many other species of reptiles, mammals, fish and a large variety of shellfish and crabs form the basis of local economy.
The "APA" includes the two islands of Tinharé and Boipeba and their villages Morro de São Paulo, Gamboa, Garapuá, Canavieras, Galeão, Velha Boipeba, Moreré and Cova da Onça. The income of the local population is based on tourism, fishing as well as shrimp and crab cultivation, coconut, piaçava fibre and dendê oil. Some families still practice subsistence agriculture.
A serious problem in the APA is the lack of adequate sanitary installations to attend the increasing number of tourists visiting the area each year. The necessity of reforms has made itself clear. In the future, a continious lack of adequate solutions may compromise local hydric resources. Illegal domestic sewer pipes have become common and may lead to alterations in the composition of the local fauna and flora, in particular along rivers and estuaries.
Four different kinds of protection zones exist within the APA Ilhas de Tinharé/Boipeba, each with its own set of priorities and regulations.
It is important for touristic entrepreneurs to be aware of the existence of these standards.