At just over 519 million hectares, Brazil has the largest remaining area of tropical forest in the world. The Brazilian Amazon covers an area of 41o million hectares, accounting for 48% of the country’s total area. Although Brazil has several other large forest biomes including the Atlantic Forest, the “Cerrado” (savannah), the “Caatinga” (common vegetation in arid zones), the Brazilian Amazon is often used as a proxy for Brazil’s tropical forests. The rate of deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon is among the highest globally. In recent years, however, its deforestation rates have dropped from around 1.9 million hectares per year in 2005 (equivalent to 0.46% per year) to 0.6 million hectares per year in 2010 (~0.15% per year).
In 2008, at the fourteenth Conference of the Parties (COP 14) in Poznan, Poland, Brazil announced a voluntary deforestation reduction target by 71% below the average rate of deforestation between 1996-2005 (1.95 million hectares) by 2017, as outlined in the National Plan on Climate Change. At COP15 in Copenhagen, Brazil announced its National Policy for Climate Change (NPCC) that established a national commitment to reduce GHG emissions below business-as-usual levels by 2020. Subsequently, it was voted into law by the National Congress and turned into a Decree by President Lula in December, 2009. The NPCC establishes a nation-wide emissions reduction of 36.1% to 38.9% below 2005 levels by 2020 (equivalent to 15 to 17% below 1990 levels). Most of these reductions will be achieved through an 80% reduction in deforestation in the Amazon region (which is largely achieved already), a 40% reduction in savannah woodland clearing in the Cerrado region, and reductions in emissions from the 200 million cattle in Brazil. Additionally, the Ministry of Agriculture Livestock and Supply recently announced a USD 1.4 billion program of low-interest agricultural loans intended to favour farmers and ranchers who are lowering their GHG emissions and the National Congress approved the bill to create the National Fund on Climate Change.
Brazil is neither a member of the UN-REDD nor FCPF programmes, but it has recently been approved to become a pilot country under the Forest Investment Programme (FIP) of the World Bank. In 2007, Brazil submitted a proposal to the UNFCCC for a voluntary mechanism to compensate developing countries that demonstrate real reductions in deforestation rates, which was later implemented nationally with the launch of the Amazon Fund in 2008. The Fund was the first of its type to be implemented globally. The Amazon Fund received a grant of USD 1 billion from Norway, to be paid over 7 years. More recently, the German government donated USD 29 million to the Fund. The Fund is now supporting projects to control and reduce forest destruction rates across a range of activities at the same time as promoting the preservation and sustainable uses of the Amazon Biome. At the national level, Brazil does not yet have a framework that regulates REDD activities. In 2010, there were two relevant processes that advanced on this discussion: one was the Law Project 5.586/2009, that aimed at the creation of a National System for REDD+, now back on the table as Law Project 195/2011. The other was the creation of a set of working groups to debate the elements of a national REDD strategy that had wide participation from both governmental and non-governmental institutions, including support for NGOs to bring new proposals for debate.
At the subnational level, many Amazon states are designing their own legal and institutional frameworks for REDD. The state of Amazonas was the first state in Brazil to create a state-level policy on REDD and environmental services, and to have a validated REDD+ Project. Recently the state of Acre also approved a law that foresees a state program to provide incentives for environmental services, with a strong focus on REDD activities, and the state of Mato Grosso is building its own legislation for REDD. In parallel, five of the nine Brazilian Amazon states are also part of the Governors' Climate and Forests Task Force that aims to generate incentives to help states in their efforts to develop their subnational systems. Brazil is also developing many projects at the subnational level, with several of them already in the implementation phase.
Management and coordination
There are currently several governmental agencies engaged in the design and implementation of Brazil’s REDD strategy that are operating at different levels and with different roles. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Environment and the Ministry of Science and Technology are leading the REDD agenda in Brazil. At the state level, many Brazilian Amazon states are now designing or implementing programs to prevent deforestation that include the establishment of state level targets to reduce deforestation. Since 2008, seven of nine Amazon states - Amazonas, Para, Mato Grosso, Acre, Tocantins, Rondonia and Amapa - have initiated plans for reducing deforestation and the states of Amazonas, Para, Mato Grosso, and Acre have established their own voluntary targets for reducing deforestation. In 2010, the Ministry of Environment led a process to formulate recommendations for the construction of a National REDD Strategy. The discussions were divided into themes on institutional arrangements, mechanisms of benefit distribution, safeguards and financial mechanisms. The goal of this process was to gather recommendations from civil society that could be presented to the government and in the future, integrated into a future national REDD Regime.
Stakeholder engagement and participation
Brazil has coordinated several processes at the national level to engage stakeholders in the national REDD agenda. Of particular interest is a multi-stakeholder dialogue initiated in July 2010 to discuss possible pathways for a Brazilian REDD regime. The main objective of this process was to create a set of recommendations from different sectors of Brazilian society to the government across various themes including mechanisms of benefit distribution and safeguards, financing and institutional arrangements to feed into the design and implementation of Brazil’s National REDD regime. The process was coordinated by the Ministry of Environment and had wide participation from civil society. Another process involving Brazilian civil society organisations was conducted from 2009 to 2010, led by representatives from indigenous groups, rubber tappers and traditional communities, as well as small households in settlement projects. The result was the creation of “Social and Environmental Principles and Criteria for REDD” that sets out guidelines to minimize the risk in the design and implementation of REDD projects and programmes, and to help them to effectively reduce deforestation, conserve biodiversity, increase social benefits and respect indigenous peoples’, traditional communities’ and local farmers’ rights. Following this process, an institutional arrangement, called “Observatório do REDD” was created in August 2010, that aims to track and monitor public policies and REDD initiatives, both at the federal level - with a focus on the Amazon Fund, and at the sub-national level - focussing on state programs and projects under private and public initiatives of limited scale (Gomes et al. 2010).
Rights and tenure
Brazil has a complex land tenure framework that includes public land (federal, state and municipal), protected areas, private and indigenous lands that are owned by the federal government but have possession and usufruct rights by the indigenous populations, other private lands, quilombolas (recognized by traditional populations), and military lands. Currently, whilst there aren’t any specific regulations in Brazil that address rights and tenure, there are ongoing discussions to address this issue. For example, the Terra Legal Programme, which aims to facilitate the registration of private properties up to a size of 15 fiscal modules is making some progress on the registration of private possessions. The programme establishes five phases: registration of possessions, georeferencing, surveying (in some cases required by law), granting of titles and monitoring following land titling. In the first year of the program whilst challenges remain in georeferencing, surveying and land titling, many lessons have been learnt that should expedite the process in future years.
Compliance (incentives and enforcement)
The Brazilian Forest Code stipulates that landholders in the Brazilian Amazon forest region must maintain 80% of their land as forest, those in the Cerrado must maintain 20% as native vegetation, and those in the Atlantic Coastal Forest are prohibited from clearing any forest on their land. Compliance with the Code is low, especially in the Amazon region where the requirement was raised in 1996 from 50 to 80% of the total area of the property. This has been raised as one of the principal arguments for the necessity of changing that Code in recent years. This has become a polemic debate, as many environmental organizations claim that some of the changes proposed have the potential to significantly increase deforestation in some areas and generate other environmental negative impacts.
The Plan for Prevention and Control of Deforestation in the Amazon (PPCD-Am), for the period 2004 - 2007, was initially comprised of 13 federal ministries, the federal police, federal highway police and armed forces that aimed amongst other things to improve the enforcement capacity in the Amazon (Moutinho and Lima, 2009). The plan continues, under the direct coordination of the Chief of Staff from the Presidency of Republic. Under the PPCD-Am, 148 new protected areas were created covering 640,000 km2 (Soares et al. 2010) and over 700 people - including government employees - were imprisoned for illegal logging. Steps were also taken to restrict the market in illegally occupied public lands. The PPCD-Am further aimed to improve the technology of remote monitoring of deforestation. Investments in environmental education, improvement of infrastructure and capacity building of institutions, among others, are also being implemented in Brazil as means to improve the compliance with existing forest policies.
The Sustainable Amazon Plan (PAS), established by the federal government in partnership with the Amazon states, was established to define guidelines for sustainable development in the Brazilian Amazon, emphasizing the environmental potential of the region. The Plan promotes the creation of new jobs and a reduction of social inequalities for local populations living in the forest through the implementation of new and sustainable economic activities in the region. The Plan has five lines of action: sustainable production with innovation and competitiveness, environmental management and land-use planning, governance, social inclusion and citizenship, implementation of infrastructure for development, and the establishment of a new economic standard. These goals aim collectively to construct a technical and economic basis for sustainable development, whilst solving the territorial irregularities existing in various parts of the Amazon. The Plan also aims to treat regions with forests and savannah within the Amazon differently by establishing Ecological and Economic Zoning (ZEE). The Plan currently encompasses several projects under the co-ordination of the Ministry of Environment that include participation from states, municipalities, NGOs and local communities. The projects in progress include: the Regional Sustainable Development Plan for the Area of Influence of the BR-163, the Sustainable Land-use Development Plan for the island of Marajo, and the Regional Sustainable Development Plan of Xingu.
Brazil’s National Plan on Climate Change uses a rolling average historical deforestation rate for the national reference level. This average is calculated using deforestation rates over a 10-year period and is updated every five years. Using this approach the average deforestation rate for the first reference period in the Amazon (from 1996 – 2005) is 1,95 million hectares per year. In the next period, the deforestation rates for the years 2001 to 2010 will be used to form the reference level to be adopted for the next 5 years (2011-2015), and so on for further periods. The Amazon Fund has also adopted this methodology. At the project and state level, reference levels based on both projected and historical rates of deforestation are being used. The majority of state-level programmes use a historical reference level, some of them choosing to use a development adjustment factor for subsequent periods. For example the states of Mato Grosso and Para State present a progressive cut on the deforestation rate for each period of the plan. At the project level a variety of reference levels including both projected and historical baselines are used. The Juma Project, for example, in the state of Amazonas uses a projected baseline based on the SimAmazonia I model (Soares et al 2006) to predict the deforestation rate over the next 44 years. This model incorporates assumptions such as population growth, infrastructure improvements and other parameters to estimate future deforestation rates for the project area.
Brazil does not yet have a common or formal system for addressing safeguards at the national or state level. The Ministry of Environment, however, recently organised a series of working groups to engage civil society and other governmental agencies to establish criteria for the implementation of safeguards. Many of the projects and activities being developed subnationally aim to deliver additional environmental and social benefits and are using voluntary standards such as the CCB Standards to guarantee that their projects deliver more than just climate benefits. Civil society organizations have presented to the Ministry of Environment the Social and Environmental Principles and Criteria for REDD+ as a minimum requirement that public and private REDD activities should comply with. Due to the broad consultation process and multi- stakeholder involvement, the Ministry of Environment was receptive to include the principles and criteria as part of the National REDD Regime under development.
Brazil’s capacity to monitor deforestation is advanced. The National Institute for Space Research (INPE), through its Brazilian Amazon Forest Monitoring Program (PRODES), has been monitoring and producing annual data on deforestation rates in the Brazilian Amazon since 1989. The main objective of PRODES is to monitor human interferences in the Brazilian Amazon and to calculate annual rates of deforestation. This information is then made freely available alongside maps and other relevant information on deforestation through their website. The images generated by PRODES are widely used by many private institutions and NGOs that work with deforestation issues; for example, Imazon has developed a technique to detect, quantify and monitor deforestation, forest degradation by logging and other forms of anthropogenic pressures through the analysis of satellite imagery. Other research groups (e.g. IPAM in collaboration with Stanford University) are able to now detect forest degradation by fire (Costa et al. 2010). Amazon States, especially Mato Grosso, Acre, Amazonas, Pará and Amapá, are also investing in their capacity for MRV as a support for policy development planning, land tenure regulation and for REDD purposes.
Brazil holds about one-third of the world's remaining rainforests, including a majority of the Amazon rainforest. It is also overwhelmingly the most biodiverse country on Earth, with more than 56,000 described species of plants, 1,700 species of birds, 695 amphibians, 578 mammals, and 651 reptiles. Due to the vastness of the Amazon rainforest, Brazil's average loss of 3.46 million hectares of primary forest per year between 2000 and 2005 represents only about 0.8 percent of its forest cover. Nevertheless, deforestation in Brazil is one of the most important global environmental issues today. The bulk of Brazil's forest cover is found in the Amazon Basin, a mosaic of ecosystems and vegetation types including rainforests (the vast majority), seasonal forests, deciduous forests, flooded forests, and savannas. This region has experienced an exceptional extent of forest loss over the past two generations—an area almost certainly exceeding 6o million hectares, or about 15 percent of its total surface area of 400 million hectares has been cleared in the Amazon since 1970, when only 2.4 percent of the Amazon's forests had been lost. The increase in Amazon deforestation in the early 1970s coincided with the construction of the Trans-Amazonian Highway, which opened large forest areas to development by settlers and commercial interests. In more recent years, growing populations in the Amazon region, combined with increased viability of agricultural operations, have caused a further rise in deforestation rates. Since the close of the 1990s, deforestation rates of primary forest cover in Brazil have climbed by 35 percent.
The Ministry of Environment is one of the key governmental agencies in Brazil and together with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Science and Technology is responsible for forming Brazil's national and international REDD policy. The National Institute on Space Research (INPE), through the PRODES project, is responsible for the monitoring and annual reporting of deforestation rates and statistics for the Brazilian Amazon Biome. The Amazon Fund, which was launched in 2008 with an initial donation from the government of Norway, is the main funding institution in Brazil and is already funding projects that are helping to reach the goal of reducing deforestation and promoting sustainable development on the region. At the subnational level, there are many state institutions developing subnational REDD policies and activities, some of them in coordination with civil society, and these institutions are also involved in the construction of policy at the national level. There are also a wide number of NGOs involved in the REDD process at all scales - subnational, national and international. Many of them are engaged in the development and implementation of REDD subnational activities, as well as supporting subnational governments on the construction of state policies related to REDD.
The National Policy on Climate Change, established in 2009, is Brazil’s most significant climate change law. The policy sets out general guidelines for reducing emissions across different sectors in Brazil and sets a future emission reduction target for Brazil. The National Policy has also established a series of mechanisms and instruments including the National Plan on Climate Change, the Plan for Prevention and Control of Deforestation in the Amazon, the Plan for Prevention and Control of Deforestation in Cerrado and other plans for the agricultural sector, the energy sector and the metallurgical sector (e.g. replacing coal with deforestation from planted forests). Law Project 195/2011 which supersedes Law Project 5.586/2009 is currently being discussed at the Deputy House and is the only such law that aims to institute a national system for REDD.
At the international level Brazil is a Party to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and it engages with the United Nations Forum on Forests (UNFF). Brazil has played a leading role in many conventions relating to climate and biodiversity, for example by setting voluntary targets to reduce emissions under the UNFCCC. In addition Brazil has signed and ratified the Kyoto Protocol and the Nagoya Protocol and adopted a number of declarations and agreements relating to climate change and sustainable development e.g. the Millennium Development Goals, Agenda 21, the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development, the Statement of principles for the Sustainable Management of Forests, and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP).
Plans and policies
Brazil has initiated three national plans that are relevant for REDD. The National Plan on Climate Change sets - amongst other things - a sectorial emissions reduction target for Brazil to reduce deforestation in the Amazon by 80% by 2020. The National Plan on Climate Change was established under the National Policy on Climate Chang. The Plan for Prevention and Control of Deforestation in the Amazon (PPCD-Am) and The Plan for Prevention and Control of Deforestation in Cerrado are examples of mechanisms to achieve this goal and lay out a plan to reduce deforestation rates across the Amazon and Cerrado through a set of integrated actions. At the subnational level almost all of the Brazilian Amazon states have completed state plans for control and prevention of deforestation, aligned with the guidelines established by the national plan. The completion of a state plan for deforestation is one of the requirements for a seat on the board of the Amazon Fund.
There are a relatively large number of ongoing REDD activities in Brazil. At the subnational level, Brazil has several state-led activities, including the Bolsa Floresta Programme, launched in the State of Amazonas in 2007; and the recently created Program for Incentives of Environmental Services, that was outlined in the State of Acre’s System for Environmental Services' Incentives. Around ten REDD projects are also being implemented in Brazil, several of these are already delivering emissions reductions e.g. the Juma Reserve Project and have been certified by standards such as the Climate Community and Biodiversity standards, in the State of Amazonas, whereas others are in an advanced phase of design.
The majority of finance for REDD in Brazil has been delivered through bilateral sources or federal government resources. Domestic Brazilian public finance from non-carbon market activities, includes general debt financing and tax revenues to support domestic REDD policies, such as low-interest loans proposed by the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Supply (MAPA) (EPRI, 2010). Another key source of finance for climate change in general is the National Fund for Climate Change which generates around USD 150 million per year. In 2008, Brazil received a pledge of USD 1 billion from Norway for the Amazon Fund to be disbursed over 7 years, according to its performance in reducing the deforestation rates. In its first year, the Amazon Fund contracted six projects collectively worth around USD 50 million. In early 2011, nine projects had been contracted and a further five approved by the fund. Brazil is not engaged with either the UN-REDD or FCPF programmes but has recently been approved to become a pilot country under the Forest Investment Program (FIP). Brazil can receive up to USD 70 million from FIP to finance REDD implementation phase. Most governmental programs, both national- and state-level, are funded domestically with some occasional assistance coming through development agencies such as GTZ. Subnational projects are being developed with a variety of funding sources, including private foundations, and other private organisations that are either purchasing emission reductions or investing in the project development.