Government Policies Responsible for Half of the Reduction in Deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon

Mar 26, 2012, 05:00 ET from Climate Policy Initiative

RIO DE JANEIRO, March 26, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Approximately half of the deforestation that was avoided in the Brazilian Amazon during 2005-2009 was the result of government conservation policies, according to analysis by Climate Policy Initiative (CPI) Rio. CPI's analysis isolated the effects of agricultural prices and other potential drivers of forest clearings to estimate the contribution of policies to the slowdown of deforestation in the Legal Amazon. Results showed that policies introduced in the second half of the 2000s helped avoid 62,000 km2 of deforested area between 2005 and 2009, equivalent to an avoided loss of approximately 620 million tons of stored CO2, which is valued at USD 3.1 billion at current prices.

Government policies to reduce deforestation included the Action Plan for the Prevention and Control of Deforestation in the Legal Amazon (PPCDAm), introduced in 2004 to coordinate efforts among federal, state, and municipal governments, and civil organizations. Such collaboration resulted in the implementation of innovative remote-sensing monitoring and the regular production of georeferenced digital maps, important tools for enforcement activities. In addition, starting in the mid-2000s, the government significantly increased protected land. In 2008, Presidential Decree 6.321 took effect, allowing government agencies to single out municipalities with very high deforestation rates for heightened monitoring and more stringent regulations. New credit policies introduced in 2008 made rural credit dependent on proof of the borrower's compliance with deforestation legislation and the legitimacy of land claims.

"Our study illustrates the importance of conservation policies in reducing deforestation in the Amazon," said Juliano Assuncao, director of CPI Rio and professor at the Department of Economics at the Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro (PUC-Rio). "Our next step is to determine which policies were the most effective." In 2012, CPI Rio plans to analyze the effect of specific policies and programs, including the change in rural credit requirements, the strengthening of enforcement and monitoring operations, and the increase in protected land.

Climate Policy Initiative (CPI) is a global policy effectiveness analysis and advisory organization.  Its mission is to assess, diagnose, and support nations' efforts to achieve low-carbon growth.  An independent, not-for-profit organization with long-term support from George Soros, CPI's headquarters are in San Francisco and regional offices are in Berlin, Beijing, Rio de Janeiro, and Venice. In Rio, CPI partners with PUC-Rio, one of Brazil's leading universities.

SOURCE Climate Policy Initiative