< Back to all Publications

Brazil’s New Forest Code: How to Navigate the Complexity

and

Published: November, 2015

The approval of Brazil’s new Forest Code in 2012 has brought the nation to a critical moment: in order to achieve its climate targets, Brazil must now implement and enforce the environmental protections outlined in its forestry laws, which will be a difficult task. Though it has promise as an effective tool against climate change and to promote efficient land use, the new Forest Code relies heavily on the Brazilian states and individual landowners to ensure its compliance and its success.

The Brazilian states must enact further legislation for the code’s implementation, and the Forest Code’s complicated system of regulations must be integrated at state and local levels. In addition, individual rural landholders are expected to understand the law and comply with its requirements by initiating the process of environmental compliance themselves.

To address these challenges, INPUT researchers at Climate Policy Initiative in Brazil have created the two in-depth policy overviews you can download here to facilitate understanding of and compliance with the new Forest Code.

KEY POINTS OF THE NEW FOREST CODE

 

  • The new Forest Code governs the use and protection of private lands in Brazil. It is one of the most important pieces of legislation with the potential to drive efficient land use in Brazil and become an effective tool against climate change.
  • The new Forest Code relies on two types of protection instruments for conservation on private lands: Permanent Preservation Areas and the Legal Forest Reserve.
  • The new Forest Code introduced an innovative database and environmental management tool called the Rural Environmental Registry, which provides a way to monitor and control deforestation in private landholdings.
  • The new Forest Code created a special regime that offers some rural landowners greater leniency; this special regime applies solely to rural properties where native vegetation was illegally clear-cut for agriculture or livestock breeding purposes prior to July 2008.
  • Special regime landowners can enroll in the Environmental Regularization Program in order to take full advantage of the benefits available to them and to help ensure compliance.
  • The new Forest Code will need to be implemented at state level, which provides states with flexibility to set their own rules and parameters but may further delay the implementation process. Effective and broad enforcement will remain critical to the code’s success.