Recovery of Cerrado under threatMonday May 5th, 2014
The Brazilian biomes, the Cerrado is what has the highest rate of deforestation. Known as the area of richest savanna in the world, with 5% of the planet’s biodiversity, and known to give rise to major river basins of the country, the Cerrado lost by 2010 almost half (48.5%) of its native vegetation .
Part of this vegetation recovery is in danger because of the interpretation of the articles of the new Forest Code. The controversy took the form of a strong lobby, led in Brasilia by the Agricultural Parliamentary Front. The aim of the lobby is exempt from areas deforested demand recovery in the share of legal reserve of rural properties in the Cerrado until 1989.
The device has already become law in Goiás and is discussed in the Environmental Regularization Program of. There is, as yet, this estimate of the impact on the passive interpretation of the calculation native vegetation to be restored or compensated in cerrado.
During the debate and the vote on the Forest Code in Congress, one of the concerns was not to make farmers in the Amazon were required to recover or offset up to 80% of the native vegetation in the total area of the property, they had cleared a higher percentage in time when the legislation required the preservation of only 50% of the native vegetation. This percentage of legal reserve of 80% took effect only from 1996 through interim measure.
Nearly two years after the Forest Code becomes law, lobbying representatives of farmers tried – unsuccessfully – to get the federal regulation of Environmental Regularization Program, published in the Official Gazette of May 5 Union, extend the same kind of benefit granted to the Amazon to the Cerrado, from the understanding that the law only began to demand legal reserve in the biome from 1989.
In fact, the name “Legal Reserve” only became part of the Brazilian legislation in 1989, when it was an approved a law requiring the registration area in the property registration as a way to curb a usual practice so far: the break up of these areas as autonomous properties, ensuring the advance of deforestation.
But before that, from the first Forest Code of 1934, the law has charged the protection of native vegetation on the properties, with different names, initially forests after natural forests. The percentage protection until 1966 was even higher than the current 20%.
The interpretation has become controversial law in Goiás, which has the third largest area of Cerrado among states, with almost 330,000 square kilometers of the biome. There, since July 2013, the owners are not required to restore, compensate or regenerate areas deforested before July 18, 1989.
And the same interpretation also gaining ground in São Paulo, through one of the bill’s articles of the Environmental Regularization Program (PRA) under discussion in the Legislative Assembly. According to the proposal, the areas deforested by 1989, farmers will only have to answer for the preservation percentage of forest area of their property.
In the property or possession medium containing cerrado vegetation, the demand for recovery is “0%” of what has been cleared up to 25 years ago, yet in accordance with the design. The interpretation in progress in the Legislative Assembly despite the opinion of the Attorney General of the State contrary to it. When responding to inquiries by the Secretary of the State for the Environment, Attorney Elival da Silva Ramos made it clear, in a document signed in May 2013: “It appears that the provisions of Article 68 of Law 12651-2012 [the Forest Code] It has no application to the State of São Paulo “. By majority vote among the prosecutors, the report estimates that only farmers in the Amazon biome should have the legal reserve liability calculated based on the current interpretation at the time of deforestation.
Questioned by the Observatory, the Secretariat of Environment of São Paulo reported that only manifest after the approval of the PRA project. If the dispute concerns environmentalists in Sao Paulo, with about 81 000 square kilometers of Cerrado, will have a much greater weight in states such as Mato Grosso and Minas Gerais that as Goiás, have more than 300 square kilometers of the biome each.
Raul do Valle, lawyer Socio-Environmental Institute (ISA), the interpretation advocated by the agribusiness lobby is “absurd.” Expert in environmental law, Valle says that the lobby is based on the thesis that the original Forest Code only protected forests in the strict sense, leaving unprotected non-forest biomes like Cerrado and Caatinga. “That’s not true. The law of 1934 has already said in its first article that its provisions would apply to all types of vegetation, not just forests. In addition, there are several instances of defined legal reserves before 1989 in areas of Cerrado. Based on these areas have been demarcated? “Causes.
In Brasilia, there is divergence in the interpretation of the controversial Article 68. This means that a gap in their application is characterized, so owners of rural properties or possessions begin the environmental compliance process, from enrollment in the Rural Environmental Registry. No chance of it ending up in court.
Although there is no impact estimates of the controversial interpretation of Article 68 of the Forestry Code in the Cerrado, the number will not help Brazil to fulfill commitments made in the National Plan on Climate Change. One of the goals of the Plan is to reduce the rate of deforestation in the Cerrado by 40% by 2020 as part of the strategy to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases.
Until 2002, the deforested area exceeded 890 000 km². Between 2002 and 2008, the biome has lost over 85,075 square kilometers of its native vegetation, making room for agriculture and livestock, as well as turning coal to feed the steel mills. The Cerrado dominates 24% of the country, and the biome properties follow two preservation percentage of their areas, as legal reserve. The percentage of 20% rises to 35% in property and possessions with Cerrado vegetation installed in the Amazon.
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