Centro De Investigaciones Biologicas del Noroeste: Mangroves
Conservation of arid mangrove ecosystems in Baja California Sur, Mexico

First conservation of mangroves from the 18th century in Brazil

Portuse text of decree Decree imposed by Don Jose, King of Portugal, on the 10th of July of 1760, making unlawful in Brazil the felling of mangrove trees for firewood without the use of the bark for tanneries. The decree was a result of widespread cutting of trees for firewood in Rio de Janeiro, Pernambuko, Santos, Paraiba, Rio Grande, and Cearz, Brazil. There was a reasonable fear in the colonial authorities of Brazil that within a few years bark for the tannin industry could become scarce. The decree imposed a penalty of 50,000 reis and a jail term of three months for cutting trees.

Text of decree:
I, the King, declare with my word which is the law, that I have been informed that the propriaters of the factories of Sola in Atanados in the captain states of Rio de Janeiro and Pernambuco, also Santos, Paraíba, Rio Grande and Seará, cut and devasted trees called Mangroves, with the sole purpose of selling them as firewood, being the bark of these trees the only one in Brazil with which hides for Atanados can be tanned. Resultingly, bark prices have risen excessively, creating the well-founded concern that within few years there will be a total lack of this material so necessary for the continuation of these factories. For the benefit of the market and the common benefit of my subjects, especially the manufacturers and factories, I proclaim that henceforth it is prohibited to cut mangrove trees which have not lost their bark, under the penalty of a 50,000 real fine and 3 months in prison, with double the penalty for recurrances. In order to more easily discover and punish offenders, secret denouncements will be accepted, but if the denouncement be false the denouncer will incur the same penalty. Fines collected will be used for the Congress. If this is not obeyed, I will be obliged to punish any person who sells mangrove bark to the factories of Atanado and other factories in any Captaincy. These shameful persons shall be put before the Chiefs of Inspection so that they may carry out this, my Royal Determination.

Thusly I command the Council of Paço, Claims Chief, Royal Council of Overseas Revenue, Council of Concience, Senate, Commercial Union of the Kingdom and Domains, Viceroyal of the State of Brasil, Governors and General Captains, judges and the populace of my Kingdom, obey and serve this law and all it contains. Futhermore, I declare this law to be in force for more than one year, and this Law will be displayed in every place with my laws registered there. The original document has been sent to the Tower of Tombo. At the palace of Our Lady of Ajuda, July 9, 1760.


Count of Oeyras

By the power of the law with which His Majesty has prohibited that in the Captaincies of Rio de Janeiro, Pernambuco, Santos, Paraíba, Rio Grande and Seará, mangroves be cut which have not previously lost their bark, under penalties therein defined, all in form as affirmed and declared.

Go to the page of proposals for mangrove conservation

Comments on page content: Dr. Yoav Bashan
Design & production: Larry Miller
Version: February 2005