A law that does not help the forests of São PauloSaturday November 8th, 2014
Roberto Resende – President Green Initiative*
No need to remember the water crisis in São Paulo, or the importance of forests for the conservation of water resources. Be the overall regulatory climate is the most local effects of watershed protection is evident the importance of vegetation in the hydrological cycle. Riparian forests do not produce water, but help regulate the flow of watercourses attenuating the peaks of floods and releasing water slowly into the soil and preventing the silting of reservoirs.
But the significance of forests does not always seem clear and obvious. A good example is the bill that is in the final phase of voting in the Legislative Assembly of São Paulo to regulate the implementation of the new Forest Code in the state can seriously hamper the necessary restoration of forests, which so needed now.
We can point out at least three points which mean a setback in this proposal:
1 – The cerrado also needs to be protected.
The PL strongly affect the legal protection of the Cerrado, Biome covering 12% of the state territory. The project supports a mistaken thesis in legal and environmental, the Cerrado, the Pantanal and the Caatinga were not protected by the Forest Code before 1989. So the recovery of legal reserves cleared before this date would anistiadas.
About it is important to remember that both the first Forest Code (Decree No. 23793, 1934) and the second (Federal Law 4771, 1965) protecting all forms of vegetation, including the Cerrado. The two previous versions of the Code (and current) are clear in stating that they apply to forests and other forms of vegetation.
2 – São Paulo can not export forests.
The PL releases the compensation of legal reserves that larger rural properties should be and can be “exported” to any region of the state that has the same biome (Atlantic, since, as we warned, dispenses with the recovery in the case of the Cerrado) and even outside the state.
The native vegetation of the state is low and poorly distributed, concentrated on the coast. Data from the Forestry Institute of São Paulo 2009 indicate that several river basins of São Paulo has few forests.
Table 1 – Native Vegetation cover for basins of São Paulo, IF, 2009:
|Ribeira de Iguape / South Coast||
|Paraiba do Sul||
|Tiete / Sorocaba||
|Piracicaba / Capivari / Jundiaí||
|Sapucai / Grande||
|Tiete / Jacaré||
|Pontal do Paranapanema||
|Turvo / Grande||
|Tiete / Battle||
|São José dos Dourados||
|Low Pardo / Grande||
native vegetation by basins of São Paulo, IF, 2009:
The law can not allow, without criteria, that the reserves due in regions with few forests are recovered out, perpetuating the imbalance of vegetation in São Paulo.
3 – conservation areas are also in the towns and beaches
The new Forest Code reaffirms that the Permanent Preservation Areas (PPAs) are in rural and urban areas. In part of the transitional provisions, which comes to regularize existing situations, guidelines are provided for two situations in urban areas for regularization of social interest or not.
The PL 219, presented as “specific and supplementary nature of the Environmental Regularization Program – PRA of farms and property” has in its end some not very clear articles dealing with PPAs in urban areas. This seems redundant and contradictory with the proposal of the Project, which would address the rural areas.
In addition, the bill proposes to introduce the concept of consolidated use for salt marshes, which does not exist in federal law.
To these inconsistencies adds to the speed of the PL analysis process that is voting point, almost without being discussed.
The project has passed the committees, and quickly, with the Special Rapporteur and with great chances of being approved this year.
* Agronomist, Master in Environmental Science at PROCAM / USP and President of Green Initiative