Brazil's Success in Reducing Deforestation

Boucher, Doug; Roquemore, Sarah; Fitzhugh, Estrellita
November 2013
Tropical Conservation Science;2013 Special Issue, Vol. 6 Issue 5, p426
Academic Journal
Over the past several years, the rate of deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon has dropped by more than two-thirds. This reduction has been achieved despite high beef and soy prices, which in previous years had pushed deforestation upward, and during the same time that Brazil made important social progress in reducing poverty, hunger and inequality. The reduction in global warming pollution that this represents is the largest contribution so far by any country, rich or poor. Several factors are responsible for this accomplishment. They include: government policies and enforcement actions by prosecutors, on both the federal and state levels; the incentive created by Norway's pledge of up to $1 billion in results-based compensation through the Amazon Fund; the strong and concerted pressure exerted by Brazilian civil society on the government and the soy and beef industries; and the positive response by those industries, resulting in the 2006 soy and 2009 beef moratoria. Political leaders, such as President Luis Inácio Lula da Silva and especially Minister of the Environment/2010 Green Party presidential candidate Marina Silva, can also claim an important share of the credit. While success is by no means assured, what has been achieved so far is already quite impressive, and makes it possible to envision the reduction of Amazon deforestation and forest degradation to zero within the next decade.


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