Brazil. An Overview from the REDD Countries Database
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 aproposal 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.