Commitment to sustainable development
Approval of new Forest Code and reduction of deforested area in the Amazon confirm increased biodiversity preservation capacity
DEFORESTATION CONTINUES TO FALL IN THE AMAZON REGION
The deforested area in the Amazon region totaled 4,656 km² between August 2011 and July 2012, reflecting a 27% decline over the same period of 2010-2011. This corresponds to the smallest deforestation area since the first measurement performed by the National Institute for Space Research (Instituto Nacional de Pesquisas Espaciais - INPE) in 1988. It is also 83.2% lower than the deforestation recorded in 2004, when the Action Plan to Prevent and Control of Deforestation in the Amazon (Plano de Ação para Prevenção e Controle do Desmatamento na Amazônia Legal - PPCDAM) was established.
This decrease in deforestation evinces the progress of Brazilian initiatives to mitigate the effects of climate change. With this result, the country has reduced the deforested area by 76.27% vis-à-vis the annual deforestation average recorded between 1996 and 2005, and is now very close to fulfilling the commitment made in Copenhagen to reach a reduction of 80% in relation to that average by 2020.
THE NEW FOREST CODE
With the promulgation of the new Forest Code, Brazil now has clearer rules on land use in rural and urban areas. The Code also defines the roles of government, producers and citizens in preserving biodiversity, water, soil, and climate integrity.
An important guideline in the new Code is the differentiated treatment afforded to landowners according to the size of their property. No amnesty will be given to landowners and all of them will be under the obligation to recover degraded areas. However, specific conditions will benefit small producers and family farmers.
The new Code contains rules for restoring the Legal Reserve and Permanent Preservation Areas (Áreas de Preservação Permanente - APP), distinguishing those situations where deforestation occurred before or after 2008. It also provides for funding to recover deforested areas. As for the fines imposed by IBAMA, the Code provides for the suspension of such fines for producers who join the Environmental Recovery Program and, after full recovery of the area, it authorizes fines to be converted into the provision of environmental services.
The new code does not change land allocation or use as regards preservation requirements. The novelty is the establishment of rules to recover what has been degraded as a result of non-compliance with preservation rules.
The Permanent Preservation Area and the Legal Reserve should be different, with areas varying according to the size of the property and the biome where it is located. The only exception applies to the property aimed at family agriculture or small production, with areas that are less than four fiscal modules, where it will be possible to choose a single area that should not be less than 10% of the total area.
Permanent Preservation Areas (Áreas de Preservação Permanente - APP): their size varies according with the width of water courses.
For rural properties with areas consolidated into APP by 2008, landowners will be under the obligation to restore the marginal strip around water courses, with a minimum width according to the size of the property
Legal Reserve: should be maintained with native vegetation, with minimum limits varying according to the biome. In the Legal Amazon, producers are required to keep 80% of the forest standing. In the same region, 35% of the area should be preserved if the property is located in a Cerrado area, and 20% in the case of grassland. In the Cerrado biome, the reserve is 35%, and 20% in other regions 20%. Under the rules of the new Code, areas where vegetation has been suppressed in the Reserve should be restored regardless of the size of the property.
The new instruments
Three new instruments have been developed to regularize the situation of environmental properties:
Rural Environmental Registry ( Cadastro Ambiental Rural - CAR): a compulsory document for all landowners or squatters to have their land regularized. Through CAR, producers will inform the property boundaries, identifying the legal reserve and permanent preservation area.
Environmental Recovery Program (Programa de Recuperação Ambiental - PRA): will provide support and assistance to producers who are required to recover deforested areas. It will be implemented through partnerships between the federal government, states and municipalities.
Environmental Reserve Quota (Cota de Reserva Ambiental - CRA): will apply to special cases, when the area within the limits of the property is not preserved. It allows producers to purchase an area with native vegetation that is not an APP or a reserve, to replace the deforested are