environmental agenda needs to be elevated to national priorityTuesday May 7th, 2013
One of the biggest environmental challenges in Brazil in the coming years will be the fulfillment of the new Forest Law. It is imperative that society – governments, NGOs, productive sector, academia – enter into an collaboration agreement and complementing actions that will allow not only the effective implementation of this law, but mostly greater harmonization between environmental conservation and agricultural production in our parents.
A year ago was published the Law 12,727 / 2012, as a measure of the conversion of Provisional result 571/2012, sent by the Planalto Palace to complement the law 12,561 devices that, among other purposes, repealed the Forest Code of 1965. Although the new legislation contains devices that imply losses in forest protection, the current situation requires the focus is back to its full implementation. It is necessary to prevent further damage to native vegetation and its environmental services, and achieve reverse the sense of impunity that prevails in the arena of environmental crimes.
In this sense, there are several challenges to be faced. In order to contribute to the public debate, Conservation International (CI-Brazil) proposes some points of debate to promote the protection and sustainable use of forests contained in the rural properties in the country.
1. Integration of actions: The first point refers to the fact that while in one strokepen has been reduced environmental liability volume of rural properties, there is still at least 21 million hectares to be recovered in the country (cf. Soares-Filho, 2013). The investment in this recovery is critical task for the coming years and will require coordinated and integrated action of different government and private segments:
- The federal government is up to develop a consistent forestry policy that actually stimulate the recovery of native vegetation, with attractive credit facilities, appropriately trained technical assistance, promote the formation of nurseries in strategic locations and funding for the agencies responsible, as well as an integrated coordination interministerial actions.
- State governments responsible for implementing the policy in the state, providing technical and logistical assistance, defining priority areas and granting subsidies and credits in a judicious manner.
- In the case of municipalities, new business opportunities could arise from the market of forest recovery and they will benefit if they adopt policies to attract investments and training of skilled labor appropriate to the activity.
- To universities and research centers fit test recovery models, syndication, scale restoration and even business models that are cost effective and comply with environmental purposes.
- Owners and squatters is up to policy implementation in their homes and the fulfillment of commitments to ecological restoration and maintenance of forest inventory, biodiversity and ecosystem services.
- Non-governmental organizations also play a crucial role in the process, from monitoring the implementation and political pressure to innovation and execution of projects that no longer statements and achieve scale, promoting the landscape planning.
- Entrepreneurs and financiers fit to engage in the process as they are important links in the production chain of forest restoration, with the potential to benecifiarem business opportunities that will arise with increasing demand for native forest plantations.
2- Strengthening forest schedule:Another opportunity, convergent with the strengthening of forest policy, is encouraging the planting of forests for economic purposes. Historically, planted forests in Brazil are formed by exotic species such as pine and eucalyptus. It is necessary to expand the sector’s performance spectrum, including the planting of native species for commercial purposes, in addition to the recovery efforts of the native vegetation. Although the consortium between exotic and native was under the previous legislation, in practice it did not happen, either for lack of stimulus economic, deficiency in scientific research, problems with logistics or inadequate public policies. Another opportunity lies in the consortium between tree species, whether exotic or native, with other agricultural practices, optimizing the use of soil, increasing the income in rural areas and improving environmental conservation in the properties. Bottlenecks to be overcome, being indispensable the coordination of actions with a view to the national territory continental influence and its peculiarities.
3- effective Register:The Rural Environmental Registry (CAR) is one of the measures of the new legislation with the potential to make effective the environmental control over the use of forests in rural properties and promote the landscape planning. However, for this, it is necessary to promote major investment with states, municipalities and private agents. The registration of the property shall only be seen as the first step of environmental regulation, and not the only one. The information in the National Rural Environmental Registry System (SICAR) and state systems must be fully integrated and public, enabling monitoring of society on the use of a common good. having noticed that this is a new instrument, we need to invest in knowledge management, identify lessons, correct mistakes and seek new approaches that reduce costs and ensure effectiveness. In that sense, CI-Brazil, with support from the Climate and Land Use Alliance (CLUA), is implementing the INOVACAR (Note Initiative, Verification and Learning CAR and Environmental Regularization), a project that goes in that direction.
4 Quota environmental reserve: The areas of native vegetation in surplus rural property owners can benefit by environmental easement mechanism, such as Environmental Reserve Quota (CRAs). The environmental easement may have been the only benefit of the new legislation given to those who, over the years, are complying with their obligations relating to forestry and therefore providing environmental services. It is essential that these mechanisms are actually implemented, considering in particular the situation of family farms and their homes. Initiatives such as the Green Grant of Rio de Janeiro (BVRio) should be strengthened and even supported by the government.
5- Prevention and Firefighting : Every year, the period from June to September recorded the highest number of fires and fire outbreaks. The new legislation sets a deadline meager for a national policy on prevention and control of fires and forest fires to be drawn up. Much more important than setting a deadline, isdevelop this new policy in a participatory manner, involving different levels of government and civil society, engaging these actors in the effective commitment to its implementation. Alternative agricultural models the use of fire already exist and have been tested, but are not widely adopted. The new policy needs to address the particularities of the various segments of the field, especially family farmers.
6- Funding:Another point relates to finance, both to state and local governments, and for landowners. This theme was not treated properly and it could establish itself as the main argument for the stagnation of the agenda. The states received new powers conferred by the forest legislation – CAR, Environmental Regularization Program (PRA) etc. – without the source of the funds for the fulfillment of these new responsibilities has been effectively discussed. Debates in Congress that reordered in part the federal pact such as ICMS, pre-salt resources, among others, took place without the necessary discussion on the topic of environmental funding. In this process, many windows have been closed. While others do not open, one possibility would be to discuss the role of environmental quotas so that, at least among private agents, the costs of environmental compliance are offset by market mechanisms. The solution to the conservation and sustainable use of natural ecosystems, in short, through the intensification of the environmental agenda, which involves raising it to the national priority. In the 2014 elections, it is expected that the company can charge its real candidates commitment to this agenda. Without the true engagement of political, nothing will prevent further attacks against forest law occur in the near future, jeopardizing development and food production capacity in a sustainable way in Brazil. through the intensification of the environmental agenda, which involves raising it to the national priority. In the 2014 elections, it is expected that the company can charge its real candidates commitment to this agenda. Without the true engagement of political, nothing will prevent further attacks against forest law occur in the near future, jeopardizing development and food production capacity in a sustainable way in Brazil. through the intensification of the environmental agenda, which involves raising it to the national priority. In the 2014 elections, it is expected that the company can charge its real candidates commitment to this agenda. Without the true engagement of political, nothing will prevent further attacks against forest law occur in the near future, jeopardizing development and food production capacity in a sustainable way in Brazil.
* Patricia Baiao’s Director of Institutional Relations of Conservation International – Brazil