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A pathway to zero deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon


Abstract and Figures

Ending deforestation in the Amazon would bring environmental and social benefits to Brazil and the World. In this document, we demonstrate that it is feasible to quickly end deforestation based on experience already developed in the country.
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Content may be subject to copyright.
A Pathway to Zero
Deforestation in the
Brazilian Amazon
© Fábio Nascimento / Greenpeace
© Greenpeace / Daniel Beltrá
A Pathway to Zero
Deforestation in the
Brazilian Amazon
© Fábio Nascimento / Greenpeace
Executive Summary 4
1 Introduction 6
2 What do we know about deforestation in the Amazon? 7
2.1 Deforestation is unnecessary for the growth of Brazil 8
2.2 Deforestation generates short and long-term losses 11
3 What worked against deforestation 13
4 Why does deforestation persist and why can it increase? 15
5 How do we eliminate deforestation from the Amazon? 18
5.1 Effective public policies 22
5.1.1 Increase the efficiency of surveillance and curb illegal land grabbing 22
5.1.2 Create and ensure the implementation of protected areas 23
5.1.3 Increase the ambition and coordination of state and federal policies 24
5.2 Support sustainable forest use and improved agricultural practices 24
5.2.1 Potentiate a forest economy 26
5.2.2 Favor better agricultural practices 26
5.3 Reducing the Market to products associated with deforestation 29
5.4 The role of society, voters, consumers, and investors 31
Notes 32
References 33
A Pathway to Zero Deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon | 4
Brazil has no reason to deforest anymore
In the Amazon alone, the area of forest lost is twice
the size of Germany. Of this deforested total, 65%
is used for low-efciency pastures - less than one
cow per hectare. The additional contribution of each
year of deforestation to the economy is insignicant:
between 2007 and 2016 (7,502 km²/year) it had the
potential of contributing only 0.013% of the Brazilian
GDP annually.
Agriculture can continue contributing to
the economy by producing in areas that
have already been deforested
In the Amazon alone, there are 10 million hectares
of abandoned or poorly used pastures, which could
be used to expand the production of beef and grains.
Since 2006, for example, the area planted with soy
has increased almost fourfold in the Amazon, due to
expansion over pastures.
Deforestation is bad for health
and climate
Every year, hundreds of early deaths occur in the
Amazon due to the pollution generated by the res.
Deforestation is also damaging the global climate
- land use changes accounted for 51% of Brazil's
greenhouse gas emissions in 2016 and have kept
the country as the seventh largest polluter in the
world. Temperatures in the Xingu basin have risen
0.5oC as a result of forest loss in recent years, and
this may be due to droughts that have hampered
production in the region. Deforesting the Amazon is
destroying the agriculture’s irrigator, causing damage
to agribusiness.
Brazil already knows the path towards
zero deforestation.
Measures implemented in recent years (2005-2012)
have cut deforestation rates in the region by about
70% and indicate that the elements needed to
achieve ZD are present.
Ending deforestation in
the Amazon would bring
environmental and social
benefits to Brazil and the
world. In this document, we
demonstrate that it is feasible
to quickly end deforestation
based on experiences already
developed in the country.
| 5
But deforestation persists and
may increase
The average rate between 2013 and 2017 was
38% higher than in 2012, the year with the lowest
rate recorded. The increase recorded since 2012
- and is likely to continue - is due to impunity for
environmental crimes, setbacks in environmental
policies, failures in livestock production agreements,
encouragement of illegal grabbing of public land and
the resumption of large infrastructure projects. In
addition, Brazil's goal of zeroing illegal deforestation
in the Amazon only in 2030 is insufcient.
Uncontrolled, the rate of deforestation could reach
annual levels between 9,391 km2 and 13,789 km2
until 2027, if the same historical relation between
cattle herd and total deforested area is maintained
- considering that cattle farming is one of the main
drivers of deforestation.
In order to end deforestation in the
Amazon, we will need to adopt for
lines of action
1 | the implementation of effective and perennial
environmental public policies;
2 | support for sustainable forest uses and
improved agricultural practices
3 | the drastic restriction of the market for
products associated with new deforestation
4 | the engagement of voters, consumers and
investors in efforts to eliminate deforestation
One of the most urgent actions is to curb
illegal grabbing of public land
In 2016, at least 24% of deforestation was
concentrated in public areas that had not been
allocated for use. Today there are 70 million hectares
not allocated in the Amazon, which need to be
converted into indigenous lands and conservation
units to curb speculative deforestation.
Incentives for a forest economy
through government programs also
need to be expanded
Extraction of forest products yielded an average R$ 3
billion between 2015 and 2016, of which R$ 1.8 billion
comes from logging and 537 million açaí extraction.
Ending deforestation requires
improvements in cattle ranching
Assuming an average rate of 11,600 km2 deforested
in future projections of cattle herd growth, it would be
necessary to produce R$ 700 million of gross revenue
per year in the Amazon to avoid deforestation of new
areas. This could be achieved by increasing livestock
productivity from 80 kg to 300 kg per hectare per
year, restoring 391 thousand hectares of pasture
annually. The investment needed would be equivalent
to 15% of the R$ 5 billion that the government offers
in rural credit for livestock annually. In addition,
permanently ending deforestation also involves
reducing animal protein consumption and food waste.
The global commodities Market
has already been pushing for
deforestation-free supply chains.
The policies adopted by the companies have a
signicant impact in the ght against deforestation.
To get an idea, about 100 companies account for 93%
of cattle slaughter in the Amazon. By restricting the
purchase of products from deforested areas, many
companies have already contributed to the reduction
of deforestation, however, it is still essential to
overcome the challenges faced in the implementation
of current agreements and to guarantee the adhesion
of all companies to commitments with ZD. Ending
deforestation also depends on the engagement of
consumers and civil society, exposing companies
that disregard government agreements and policies,
stimulating the purchase of products and supporting
sustainable policies, and electing politicians
committed to ending deforestation.
A Pathway to Zero Deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon | 6
© Bruno Kelly / Greenpeace
There are several ways to answer why Brazil needs to
achieve zero deforestation (ZD) urgently. The simplest
answer is: because this is the right thing to do. There
is no longer any justication for the destruction of
the native vegetation of the country. Continuing
devastation results in an imbalance in global and
national climate, affects biodiversity and water
resources, and undermines the health and well-being
of the population. In addition, deforestation does not
help the competitiveness of agriculture and livestock;
on the contrary, it puts it at risk. To extinguish illegal and
legal deforestation once and for all is, in the end, an
ethical imperative - a debt that the current generation
has with itself and with the next generations.
The Brazilian Amazon has been, paradoxically, the icon
of control and lack of control of tropical deforestation.
It is there that there are experiences that demonstrate
that environmental destruction can be overcome, but
it is also there that this destruction continues at a
frightening speed and explodes under any distraction,
victimizing the people of the Amazon, the country and
the world.
This document indicates the possible ways to end
deforestation in the region, with environmental,
economic and social benets for the country. Prepared
by the Zero Deforestation Working Group - composed
of experts from the organizations Greenpeace Brazil,
ICV, Imaora, Imazon, IPAM, Instituto Socioambiental,
WWF Brazil and TNC Brazil -, it has the most current
scientic literature on forests, climate and agriculture.
In the following sections, the main reasons why ZD is,
more than possible, an inescapable need.
| 7
The only country in the world with the name of a tree
has treated its forests poorly: no other nation has
cleared as much as Brazil. There were 55 million
hectares cleared between 1990 and 2010, more than
double Indonesia, ranked secondI. Altogether, in the
Amazon alone, 780,000 km² of native vegetation has
been lost, an area more than twice the size of the
territory of Germany. The rate of destruction over the
last two decades has been 170 times faster than that
registered in the Atlantic Rainforest during Colonial
BrazilII. The loss was accelerated between 1990 and
2000 (Figure 1), with an average of 18.6 thousand
km2 deforested per year, and between 2000 and
2010, with 19.1 thousand km2 lost annually and 6
thousand km2 between 2012 and 2017. About 20%
of the original forest was already cut down without
generating signicant benets for Brazilians and for
the development of the region.
On the contrary, there are several losses. Pollution from
res, for example, each year causes deaths, increased
cases of respiratory diseases and changes in the
regional climate that can bring great risk to productivity
in the eld. The government itself, through its research
agencies, already indicates that it is unnecessary
to continue deforestation of the Amazon, since it
estimates that it is possible to shelter all agricultural
production in the areas that are already open. Several
Amazon governors agree.
The recent past conrms this thesis. Measures
implemented between 2005 and 2012 have cut
deforestation rates in the region by about 70% and
indicate that the elements needed to achieve ZD
are present. Among them are the agreements to end
deforestation in agricultural production, increase the
efciency of livestock farming in the areas already
cleared, the creation of protected areas (Conservation
Units and indigenous lands) and compliance with the
Forest Code. These policies, several of which are
addressed in this document, if applied not only to the
Amazon but also to other biomes, would be able to
produce, well before 2030, the end of deforestation in
the country.
What do we know about
deforestation in the Amazon?
Figure 1. Total area deforested and deforestation rate in the Brazilian Amazon
Source: Satellite Monitoring Project for the Amazon Forest (PRODES) (INPE/PRODES 2017)
Deforestation rate (km2/year)
Total area deforested (km2)
Deforestation rate Total area deforested
A Pathway to Zero Deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon | 8
It is clear that deforestation did not generate wealth
for most Amazon inhabitants. The municipalities
of the Amazon are among the lowest HDI (Human
Development Index) and SPI (Social Progress Index)
of the country. They follow the so-called "boom-
collapse" logicIII: at rst, easy access to natural
resources produces an explosion of wealth in the
municipality. This wealth, however, is concentrated
in the hands of few and runs out in a few years. The
end result is swollen cities, with poor infrastructure, no
quality jobsIV, and a concentrated income.
The additional contribution of each year of deforestation
to the economy is negligible. The average area cleared
per year between 2007 and 2016 (7,502 km2) has
the potential to add about R$453 million annually in
gross value of agricultural production1 (i.e. production
volume multiplied by the price of products). This gure
represented only 0.013% of the average Brazilian
GDP between 2007 and 20162,3.
The old argument that it is necessary to clear new
areas of forest to increase agricultural production does
not hold up. There is already a huge deforested area
that has been poorly used. Much of it is degraded
pasture. According to the Brazilian government
(Inpe/EmbrapaV), in 2014 there were 10 million
hectares of degraded pastures and pastures with
forest regeneration in the Amazon. In the country,
70% of the total pasture area is degraded or in the
process of degradationVI. In fact, when measures
against deforestation were more effective, agricultural
production continued to grow, as farmers invested in
increasing land productivity (Figure 2). For example,
ten years after the Soy Moratorium - which began
blocking farmers who planted in newly deforested
areas - in 2006, planted area increased from 1.2
million hectares to 4.5 million hectares due to planting
in pasture areasVII.
The large amount of poorly exploited areas in the
region results to a large extent from deforestation
from land grabbing (grilagem), through the invasion
of public lands, often using labor that is degrading or
analogous to slave labor. In 2016, for example, at least
24% of deforestation occurred in public forests not yet
earmarked and in areas with no information (Table
This land grabbing is also linked to very low-efciency
cattle ranching: 65% of the deforested area in the region
is occupied by pastures, with an average stocking rate
of less than one head of cattle per hectare. Therefore,
the alleged economic imperative of deforestation is a
false matter.
Deforestation is unnecessary for the growth of Brazil
© Valdemir Cunha / Greenpeace
| 9
Source: Deforestation data from the National Space Research Institute (INPE 2016) and PRODES (INPE/PRODES 2016); FPA and SPA data from
Insituto Socioambiental (ISA 2015); RS data from INCRA (INCRA 2015); PFL and SPL data from the Brazilian Forest Service (SFB 2013); PP data
from the Rural Environmental Registry (SEMA-MT, 2013, SEMA-PA, 2013; Government of the State of Acre, 2010); WIs are undefined polygons.
Figure 2. The GDP for the agricultural sector in the Amazon increased in the years that the deforestation rate
Table 1. Deforestation rate (km2) in the Brazilian Amazon per land-tenure category between 2010 and 20165
LAND TENURE CATEGORIES 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016
Indigenous Lands 305 227 168 170 71 62 88
Federal Protected Areas (FPA) 179 131 175 187 120 184 201
State Protected Areas (SPA) 126 150 117 175 174 233 322
Permanent Protection Areas (APP) 265 209 124 228 202 245 207
Rural Settlements (RS) 1,851 1,766 1,239 1,518 1,269 1,437 1,986
Private Properties (PP) 1,502 1,355 986 1,009 883 1,113 2,462
Public Federal Lands (PFL) 690 698 574 743 584 670 855
State Public Lands (SPL) 64 30 15 31 0 7 59
Areas Without Information (WI) 1,497 1,072 982 1,222 1,047 1,306 758
TOTAL 6,479 5,638 4,380 5,283 4,350 5,257 6,938
Yearly deforestation
Value of agricultural production
Production value (BRL billion)
Km2 deforested/year
A Pathway to Zero Deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon | 10
Box 1.
The possibility of producing
without clearing is recognized
by politicians, specialists, and
agribusiness representatives
Politicians, agribusiness representatives and experts
declared on October 31, 2017 to the Folha de São Paulo
newspaper that it is possible to expand Agribusiness
without deforesting. See excerpts from the statements:
In Pará, we have about 23 million hectares of anthropic areas (whose
characteristics have been altered by man), of which more than 16
million are pastures, some of them with very low productivity. Therefore,
it is possible to increase production without advancing over the forest.
Simão Jatene, Governor of Pará State (PSDB political party)
Absolutely possible, this is an agreement that we are building in
coalition with the environmental sector.
Congressman Nilson Leitão (PSDB-MT), leader of the rural caucus
Yes, because there is still a lot of deforested area, especially in the
Amazon region, which can be used to increase production.
Roberto Rodrigues, former minister of Agriculture (2003-2006)
and agribusiness coordinator FGV
Yes. Brazil can double grain production by 2025 by occupying half of the 74 million hectares
of degraded pastures that are not being used by extensive livestock grazing. Technologies
that are available are also allies for increase productivity and allow for agricultural expansion
without clearing new areas.
Marcos da Rosa, president of the Brazilian Association of Soy Producers
| 11
If the economic benets of deforestation in the Amazon
are questionable, their socio-environmental and
economic losses (Figure 3) are not. For example, air
pollution from forest res, coupled with deforestation,
has the potential to cause hundreds of early deaths
each year. The drop in the number of res between
2001 and 2012, the period in which Brazil most reduced
the rate of deforestation, resulted in a decrease in air
pollution and may have prevented the early death of
400 to 1,700 people per year in South America6.
Not only from a health point of view, but also from
an economic point of view, forest res resulting from
deforestation can cause serious damage. In 1998
alone, a year under strong El Niño effects, Amazon
states sourced a loss of almost US$ 5 billion (9% of
Amazon’s GDP)IX. The Public Health System of Brazil
(SUS) alone had expenses with respiratory health
treatment in the order of US$ 11 million. Agriculture
in the region, that year, suffered a loss of US$ 45
million. Zeroing deforestation, therefore, also means
saving lives, reducing government expenditures, and
mitigating private economic losses.
Deforestation also enhances rural violence and loss of
public assets, exposes Brazil to the risks of commercial
boycotts and is the main source of greenhouse gas
emissions in Brazil - deforestation in the Amazon alone
contributed with about 26% in 2016X.
The end of deforestation in the Amazon, in addition
to contributing to the ght against climate change
worldwide, will be fundamental for agricultural
productivity in the future. There is increasing evidence
that climate, not only regional or global, but mainly
local, depends on the forest intact. In a grain-producing
region or in areas with large settlements, the existence
of forests (private or public) is necessary to dictate the
future path of agricultural production.
A good example of forests as "irrigators" of agricultural
production comes from the upper Xingu region of Mato
Grosso. Over the past few years, clearing of the forest
around the Xingu Indigenous Park resulted in a local
temperature rise of around 0.5°C (Figure 3). This may
be behind the severe droughts that hit the region. Were
it not for the existence of the Xingu Park, this increase
in temperature and drought would be even greater.
Therefore, maintaining a mosaic of forests keeps the
irrigation system running.
Deforestation generates short and long-term losses
© Greenpeace / Rodrigo Baleia
A Pathway to Zero Deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon | 12
Pollution from fires associated with deforestation causes
premature diseases and deaths. The reduction of
deforestation/forest fires in the Amazon averaged from
400 to 1,700 early deaths from respiratory diseases per
year between 2001 and 2012 in Latin America. The decline
in deforestation has reduced the rate of premature births
and underweight infants.
Land grabbers deforest to demonstrate possession of public
lands. Illegal land grabbing affects approximately 7 million
hectares, valued at R$ 21.2 billion.
Up until August 2017, a thousand areas with land conflicts
have already been recorded, affecting close to 94 thousand
families and resulting in 47 murders in the Legal Amazon.
The total number of murders in the Amazon in 2017 has
already surpassed that recorded in all of 2016.
Environmental campaigns led companies to establish the Soy
Moratorium, which boycotts purchases of deforested areas after
2006. And boycotts may increase. France, for example, has already
announced that it will phase out imports of commodities that
contribute to deforestation in the world, including the Amazon.
Deforestation in the Amazon accounted for 26% of greenhouse
gas emissions in 2016. With every 10% reduction in forest
cover, the Xingu basin, for example, has a 50mm reduction
in evapotranspiration and a 0.5oC increase in temperature.
The worsening climate change can lead to a reduction of 1.3%
of national GDP in 2035 and up to 2.5% in 2050. The loss of
agricultural GDP would be even more serious: between 1.7% and
2.9% in 2035 and from 2.5% to 4.5% in 2050.
Figure 3.
Losses from
© Greenpeace / Daniel Beltrá
| 13
The country has successfully tested and implemented
measures to control deforestation in the Amazon (Figure
4). Since the creation of the Plan for Prevention and
Control of Deforestation in the Amazon (PPCDAm) in
2004, the rate of deforestation has fallen by about 80%
up to 2012 - something that was previously considered
by some decision makers as an impossible task. For
example, based on the monitoring of deforestation
by "real-time" satellites - through the Deter and SAD
systems – the government focused, during this period,
on policies in critical areasXI.
The government created protected areas in regions
targeted for illegal land grabbing. Between 2002
and 2009, for example, almost 709 thousand square
kilometers of protected areas were created, contributing
to the decline in deforestation in subsequent yearsXII.
The National Monetary Council established credit
denial to properties embargoed due to illegal
deforestationXIII. Credit restriction, as of 2008, helped
to curb deforestation, especially in municipalities of
livestock productionXIV. However, much still needs to
be done to readjust the credit criteria to stimulate good
In addition, environmental campaigns, market
restrictions and lawsuits have stimulated companies'
commitments against deforestation associated with
the production of soy and beef.
What worked against
© Rogério Assis / Greenpeace
A Pathway to Zero Deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon | 14
The expansion of protected areas in the Amazon by 59.6 million hectares resulted, in this period, in the reduction of
deforestation. It is estimated that 37% of the reduction observed between 2004 and 2006 occurred due to protected areas.
2008 | Surveillance directed towards municipalities that most deforest
The intensication of surveillance in the 43 municipalities listed among those that most deforest avoided the
deforestation of 355,100 hectares per year between 2009 and 2011.
Some of the slaughterhouses pressured
by environmental campaigns and legal
processes stopped buying from farms that
cleared illegally (cattle agreement and
TAC) and deforestation fell by 6% on farms
that registered immediately in the Rural
Environmental Registry (CAR).
2006 | Soy Moratorium
The voluntary agreement of the industry against the commercialization of soy associated with deforestation in the Amazon
resulted in a reduction of deforestation area for soy cultivation. In 2004, up to 30% of soy planted in the Amazon came from recent
deforestation. Today, that gure is only 1.5%.
2008 | Credit restriction
Researchers estimate that R$ 2.9 billion (US$ 1.4 billion) in
rural credit was not allocated between 2008 and 2011 due
to the restrictions imposed by Resolution 3545, approved by
the National Monetary Council, in order to reduce nancial
incentives for deforestation.
2008 | More efcient penalties
The application of immediate penalties, such as seizure of assets and embargo of activities,
has a greater deterrent effect than the imposition of nes. In addition, the list of embargoed
areas was used as reference by the Public Prosecutor’s Ofce (Livestock Adjustment
Agreement, TAC), Central Bank and markets in the ght against deforestation.
Deforestation was
10% lower in property
registered in CAR
in Pará and Mato
Grosso in relation to
the period prior to the
existence of CAR.
Hectares deforested (Km2)
7.464 7.000 6.418
5.891 5.012
Figure 4.
Measures that contributed to the decrease
in deforestation between 2004-2012
| 15
Unfortunately, the decline in forest destruction rates
observed between 2005 and 2012 has been halted.
The average rate of deforestation between 2013 and
2017 was 38% higher than in 2012, the year with the
lowest rate since the beginning of the measurements
(Figure 5). This increase in deforestation after 2012
occurred due to high impunity for environmental
crimes, setbacks in socio-environmental policies,
aws in cattle agreements, encouragement of land
grabbing of public land and the resumption of large
infrastructure projects (Figure 5).
The scenario ahead does not point to signicant
reductions in this rate for the coming years. Currently,
there are several measures to weaken forest protection
approved or proposed in the Executive Branch and in
the National Congress, including approved amnesty
for land grabbers, and the reduction of protected
areas, the weakening of environmental licensing, as
well as the halting of the demarcation of indigenous
and quilombola lands. In addition, if additional
measures are not taken, deforestation can remain high
in the next decade, driven by demands for agricultural
products and lack of political commitment (Table 1)
and government and market inefciency to enforce the
necessary control (Figure 6). The rate of deforestation
could reach levels between 9,391 km2 and 13,789 km2
until 2027 if the same historical relation between cattle
herd and total deforested area is maintainedXV.
Why does deforestation persist
and why can it increase?
Box 2. Zero Deforestation and efforts in Brazil to fight against climate change
In 2015, Brazil presented to the United
Nations its plan to combat climate change, the
so-called Nationally Determined Contribution
intended for the Paris Climate Agreement
(INDC). There it proposed a goal of reducing
its greenhouse gas emissions by 37% in 2025
compared to 2005 levels. Among these goals
is one dedicated exclusively to the Amazon: to
achieve zero illegal deforestation in the region
by 2030. Taken literally, Brazil's international
commitment is merely a matter of complying
with the law (within 15 years) and refers to only
one biome. The Cerrado, the target of large
deforestation, was not included in the current
NDC. In addition, the fragile commitment
validates the belief in impunity and reduces
the credibility of the Brazilian commitment.
In other words, the past message is that the
illegality of deforestation has a deadline, but
the stance should be zero tolerance for illegal
Furthermore, analyzes of the Brazilian
proposalXVI (which became a national
commitment, or NDC, after the ratification of
the Paris Agreement in 2016) have suggested
that for the country to fulfill its promise, it is
fundamental that the government establish
the goal of definitively zeroing deforestation
in less than a decade. And in all biomes. The
deforestation rate of 2017, of 6,624 km2, does
not even put us in the path of complying with
the National Policy on Climate Change, the
Brazilian climate law, which set the goal of
reducing the rate to 3,900 km2 by 2020.
Desmatamento zero na Amazônia: como e por que chegar lá | 16
Impunity for environmental crimes is still high
The risks of punishment and losses associated with the crime of deforestation are still low, making enforcement
ineffective: between August 2008 and July 2013 only 18% of the total deforested area was embargoed - in the same
period approximately 95% of the deforestation in the Amazon was illegal. The judgment of the infractions is slow and
most of the nes applied are not paid.
Flaws in cattle agreements
Half of the slaughterhouses, responsible for about 30% of the slaughter capacity in the
Legal Amazon, did not sign the agreements. In addition, companies that have signed the
agreements have no control over indirect producers (breeding and rearing). Delays in audits
facilitate fraud to cover illegal deforestation on farms.
Environmental policy setbacks
With the new Forest Code, Congress and government conceded amnesty to 47 million hectares illegally
deforested in 2012; reduced 2.9 million hectares of Conservation Units between 2005-2012; reduced the number
of environmental analysts allocated to the Amazon by 40% in ICMBio (2010-2016) and 33% in Ibama (2009-2015).
Grabbing of public lands continues to be lucrative
The government does not reclaim invaded public lands and approved laws to facilitate
regularization of lands invaded. Under Law No. 13,465/2017, subsidy for illegal land
grabbing in the Amazon could reach R$ 21 billion.
The average rate (6,325 km2) of
deforestation between 2013 and 2017
was 38% larger than in 2012, when
the lowest rate since the beginning of
measurements was recorded
4.571 5.012
Figure 5.
Measures that enabled the increase in
deforestation between 2012 and 2016
© Marizilda Cruppe / Greenpeace
Large infrastructure
projects speed up threats
Deforestation increases in the surroundings
of large infrastructure projects because
it increases immigration. Risks are
underestimated and/or mitigating measures
are not designed and/or implemented. This
was the case of the Belo Monte Hydroelectric
Plant: in a hydroelectric construction scenario
and with high immigration in the region,
mitigating measures in the surroundings were
not implemented.
| 17
Proposals under
discussion or approved
by the government and
the National Congress
will lead to more
> Law 13,465/2017
(Provisional Measure
759/2016): Extends term
to regularize irregular
occupations of up to 2,500
hectares occupied until
2011. Increases discounts
of the amount to be paid
by irregular occupants,
totaling a prot of 19 billion
for the land grabbers
> Draft Law 8,107/2017 and
previously Provisional
Measures 756 and 758:
Attempts to reduce the
Jamanxim National Forest
and other Conservation
Units in the region.
> Draft Law 3,729/2004:
Proposal to reduce strict
environmental licensing.
> Proposals that weaken
indigenous rights and
propose the opening
of their territories to
agribusiness and mining.
Fragile commitment
to end illegal
deforestation only in
> One of the goals
contained in Brazil's
Nationally Determined
Contribution (NDC) -
the country's climate
commitment to the UN - is
to halt illegal deforestation
by 2030, and only in the
Amazon. That is, the goal
does not foresee the end
of deforestation and still
tolerates illegality for more
than a decade.
Figure 6. Factors that may motivate deforestation
Temperature maps indicating a greater tendency towards
deforestation in the period from 2017 to 2027 (a) and its
overlap with slaughterhouses (b) (Barreto 2017, unp.).
Cattle herd tends to increase and pressure for deforestation as well
Correlation between deforestation and cattle herd growth in the
Amazon between 1998 and 2016 (Barreto 2017, unp.)
© Paulo Pereira/Greenpeace
Very low
Very high
risks density
risk between
2017 and 2027
Ocial road
1000 km² accumulated deforestation by 2016)
___ Power (1.000 km² accumulated deforestation by 2016)
Millions of cattle heads
Million km2 deforested
20 25 30 35 40 45 50 55 60 65 70 75 80 85
A Pathway to Zero Deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon | 18
© Valdemir Cunha / Greenpeace
| 19
After decades of trials and errors, successes and
failures, advances and setbacks, there is enough
knowledge in Brazil about how to achieve ZD with
social, economic and political responsibility. It is
necessary to discourage deforestation and at the
same time support the sustainable use of the forest,
seek recognition and positive incentives for forest
conservation and compensate best agricultural
practices. The implementation of this vision depends
on the government, businesses, rural producers,
and also on manifestations of society, which elects
representatives, demands and nances public policies
and buys and invests in companies (Figure 7).
How do we eliminate
deforestation from
the Amazon?
The end of deforestation in
the Amazon will result from
four short-term actions:
A Pathway to Zero Deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon | |
20 21
expected from
these actions
on rural
producers and
illegal land
1 | Increasing costs
and risks associated
with speculative
(illegal grabbing of
public land)
2 | Reduction of market
and revenues
for products
associated with new
3 | Increased capacity to
increase productivity
in areas already
4 | Increased support
from entrepreneurs
and politicians for
zero deforestation,
given the support
of more sustainable
Figure 7. How to get there: summary of the proposals
What do we win with Zero Deforestation?
1 | Reduction of
greenhouse gas
emissions in Brazil,
contributing to
the NDC
3 | Reducing the risk of
climate change and
consequent impacts on
agricultural production
7 | Reduction
of income
and violence
in the eld
associated with
land grabbing
2 | Reduction of
diseases and
deaths from re
6 | Diversication of
revenue sources in
protected forests
(tourism, timber,
non-timber products,
4 | Opening new
commodity markets
and sustaining more
demanding markets
8 | Reduction of
slave labor
5 | Reduction of
legal risk for
companies and
rural producers
(nes, embargos)
9 | Preservation
of rights of
traditional and
SOCIETY | Action towards government SOCIETY | Actions towards the private sector
1 | Demand the
end of public
subsidies for
1 | Invest and buy from
companies that avoid
3 | Demand
support for
2 | Demand
protection of
public lands
2 | Carry out and support
campaigns against companies
that promote deforestation
4 | Mobilize against
that increase
5 | Vote on
who support
1 | Effective and perennial public policies
Increase the effectiveness of environmental
Curb illegal land grabbing (Allocate public forests for
conservation, monitor payment of Rural Territorial Tax,
ght irregular settlement occupations)
Resume the creation of Conservation Units and the
demarcation of Indigenous Lands
Do not reduce area or degree of protection of
Conservation Units
Adopt an end to deforestation in its goals and act in
coordination with the States
Promote total and active transparency of data that
helps in the control of productive chains
2 | Support sustainable forest use and best
farming practices
Strengthen plans that increase income associated with
forest conservation
Create programs that compensate the producer who conserves
areas beyond what is required by legislation
Increase nancial transfers to municipalities and states that
reduce deforestation and maintain greater forest stock
Prioritize rural credit to municipalities that have reduced
Establish that in a maximum of ten years, all rural credit will go to
low carbon agriculture
Supervise compliance with the resolution to grant rural credit only
to legal producers
Support capacity building to increase productivity in areas
already deforested
1 | Monitor product origin
Demand from governments transparency of
socio-environmental data that are fundamental to
the monitoring of supply chains
Slaughterhouses and supermarkets already
committed should monitor the entire cattle supply
chain - including indirect suppliers
Committed supermarkets should intensify the
implementation of the agreements, including also
the monitoring of indirect slaughterhouse suppliers
2 | Boycott producers that deforest
Supermarkets should require slaughterhouses to
commit to controlling deforestation
Supermarkets and slaughterhouses not yet
involved in agreements should immediately
commit to zero deforestation
Commitments for the end of deforestation
should be extended to the Cerrado
3 | Strengthen production without
Support producers in environmental
regularization and increase in productivity
4 | Publicly report the results
of audits and progress in
the implementation of zero
deforestation agreements
5 | Corporate consumers and
countries that invest in Brazil have
to establish criteria aligned with
ZD and environmental compliance,
observing respect for local
A Pathway to Zero Deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon | 22
Reducing deforestation in a context of scarce public
resources will depend, to a large extent, on increasing
the effectiveness of punishment for environmental
crimes. The current Director of the Department of
Forests and Deforestation Control in the Ministry of
the Environment, in his doctoral thesis, has already
proposed more effective procedures. Some are
already in practice and have already generated
positive results, such as the increase in the number
of legal notices and embargoes applied by IBAMA,
especially through remote actions. The legal notices
are sent by mail after crossing maps of deforestation
detected by satellite images, the maps of real estate
obtained from the Rural Environmental Registry
(CAR) and authorizations for deforestation. The cost
of each remote legal notice (R$ 600) is 4.66 times
lower than that based on eld surveillance (R$ 2,800).
This measure may increase the likelihood of a crime
being notied by 192%, according to Jair Schimitt. The
government can use satellite imagery to monitor if the
embargoed areas are being used and, thus, prosecute
anyone who persists in the crime.
To reduce trial time, it is still necessary to adopt
automated administrative processes, as is already
done in some Courts of Justice. Such a measure
would increase the likelihood of cases going to trial by
169%, according to Schimitt. The effective collection
of nes would generate a large volume of resources
to intensify the surveillance and implementation of
protected areas.
It is even more important that the government broaden
and strengthen the punishment of companies buying
and nancing products from illegally deforested areas.
After all, it is more effective to punish a few companies
than the thousands of farmers they nance or source
from. A good example was the Shoyo operation, which
ned Santander Bank R$ 47.5 million for nancing the
planting of soybeans in embargoed areas.
Another was the Carne Fria (literally “Cold Meat”)
operation, which investigated 15 slaughterhouses and
an exporter of live cattle that bought from embargoed
areas on 24 farms. Ibama crossed public information of
the animal transit guides (GTA) with the embargoesXVII.
Intervention by the Federal Public Prosecutor´s Ofce
was necessary for the government of Pará to release
the GTA dataXVIII. Even after that, the Pará government
continues to hamper access to such data7. Therefore,
states truly committed to combating deforestation
should provide full data transparency (see section 5.3).
Meanwhile, after Operation Cold Meat, the Minister
of the Environment apologized to the producers and
declared that the operation was inopportune8 and
that the acting superintendent of Ibama in Pará,
who participated in the set-up of the operation, was
dismissed9. These reactions reinforce the importance
of society shielding the environmental organs from
political inuence, as indicated in section 5.4.
One of the key roles of surveillance is to curb the
theft of public lands. As already seen, at least 24%
of the deforestation veried today has its origin in
land grabbing of public lands. Public authorities must
intensify operations against organized squatters, who,
in addition to destroying forests, carry out other crimes,
such as money laundering, which provide for harsher
penalties than violations against the environment10.
Another strategy to combat illegal land grabbing and
the speculative deforestation of potential efciency
would be the effective collection of the Rural Territorial
Tax (ITR). Such a tax was created in the 1970s to curb
speculation in unproductive land. The collection could
increase 100 times based on analysis done in Pará
(from about R$ 5 million to R$ 500 million per year)
using rural real estate maps (CAR) and satellite images
to identify land use. ITR's revenues could be reinvested
primarily in rural areas in the form of incentives for forest
conservation and the adoption of better agricultural
practices in areas already deforested.By closing the
frontier for illegal occupation and collecting the ITR
Effective public policies
5.1.1 Increase the efficiency of surveillance and curb illegal land grabbing
| 23
effectively, the public authority would also signal to
farmers that the increase in production should occur
in areas that are already deforested. In addition to the
environmental benet, combating illegal land grabbing
would help reduce conicts that occur over dispute for
public lands.
In the Amazon there are about 70 million hectares of
public forests that have not been destined yet to a
specic use , part of which has been cleared by illegal
land squatters. It is essential that public authorities
create protected areas on these public lands, including
indigenous lands and Conservation Units for various
uses such as tourism, scientic research and use of
forest products (e.g. extractive reserves). Where the
type of public land allocation still needs to be better
studied, the government should institute Areas under
Provisional Administrative Limitation (ALAP), while
conducting studies to decide future allocation. The
creation of ALAP, which prevents any use of the areas,
is especially relevant around regions that will receive
infrastructure projects that quickly attract immigrants
and illegal land squatters.
If the creation of new protected areas results in a
decrease of deforestation, the opposite is true. Ending
forest protection, as a result of actions to reduce
the size of protected areas, can motivate illegal
deforestation. In the Jamanxim National Forest in
Pará, the announcement of the federal government’s
decision to reduce the protected area could result in
a signicant increase in deforestation in the coming
yearsXIX. Therefore, public authorities should not
reduce the size or degree of protection of Conservation
5.1.2 Create and ensure the implementation of protected areas
© Otávio Almeida/Greenpeace
A Pathway to Zero Deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon | 24
The urgency of eliminating deforestation requires that
federal and state governments have bold goals and
coordinate their activities. Some states have already
set targets to reduce deforestation that are bolder
than that of the federal government. For example,
the governor of Pará declared that the state could
eliminate net deforestation by 2020. And Mato Grosso,
in a strategy that unites efforts from the government,
companies and civil society support, has set the goal
of eliminating illegal deforestation by 202011. However,
just as at the federal level, the implementation of these
state plans falls short of what is needed due to political
resistance12 and budget constraints. Deforestation in
Mato Grosso in recent years is still high. The federal
government should revise its goals, include an end
to deforestation, and act in coordination with states
to avoid the sense that illegal deforestation will
be tolerated until 2030, considering NDC's goal of
eliminating illegal deforestation by 2030.
5.1.3 Increase the ambition and coordination of state and federal policies
Extraction of forest products yielded an average R$ 3
billion based on 2015 and 2016, according to IBGE,
of which R$ 1.8 billion came from logging and R$ 537
million from açaí13 extraction. However, this potential is
poorly explored regionally, since much of the production
is exported to other regions instead of being processed
in the Amazon. Production is also often associated
with predatory practices (for example, about half
of the logging is illegal). It is therefore essential to
support best practices in producing these products
by strengthening and improving the quality of existing
programs and plans to reduce deforestation and
increase income associated with forest conservation,
including the National Plan for Biodiversity Products
Supply Chain and General Policy for Minimum Price for
Biodiversity Products (PGPMBio), National Program
for Strengthening Family Agriculture (PRONAF) and
the National Policy for Technical Assistance and Rural
Extension (PNATer).
These programs have the potential to serve populations
in Conservation Units such as extractive reserves and
Agrarian Reform settlement projects (See Table 2).
Such programs should be linked to centers of scientic
research and development as is done with other
products of national agriculture (such as Embrapa
Grape and Wine, Embrapa Beef Cattle and Embrapa
Milk Cattle)14.
In addition, infrastructure planning for the Amazon
needs to be articulated with local development plans,
with the objective of stimulating sustainable production
Support sustainable forest use and improved agricultural practices
5.2.1 Potentiate a forest economy
| 25
chains that are already underway. Infrastructure plans
in the Amazon are currently focused on large energy
and transport projects that have little positive impact
on local development plans and contribute to the
expansion of the agricultural frontier and real estate
speculation that stimulate deforestation.
Policies to support forest conservation could be
strengthened with state and municipal resources that
reward forest conservation. The Green ICMS Tax,
implemented by Pará and Mato Grosso, transfers
additional tax resources to municipalities with better
conservation performance15. These experiences could
be adopted by other states.
State governments also have the power to inuence
the allocation of more resources to conservation in
private areas. They can, for example, accelerate the
application of the Forest Code, which provides for the
offsetting of forest liabilities in the same biome, creating
an Environmental Reserve Quota (CRA) market. By
this system, the rural property that conserves forest
beyond the legal minimum (Legal Reserve) can sell
conservation quotas for those that need to compensate
for the excessive deforestation in other properties. This
quota market can reach R$ 5.8 billion in Mato Grosso
CRAs could guarantee protection of up to 3.6 million
hectares if the entire Amazon Legal Reserve decit
were offset by them. However, a study by Esalq and
Imaora points out that there are 12 million hectares
of forests on private land that are not protected by
the Forest Code (i.e. in addition to the required Legal
Reserve and Permanent Protection Area). Thus,
discounting the potential of CRAs, there are still
8.4 million unprotected hectares. To encourage the
protection of these areas it would be advisable to
create means of payment for environmental services
for landowners who conserve forests beyond legal
Given that conservation of the Amazon contributes to
the country's climate balance, therefore, for agricultural
production and energy generation, it is fair to allocate
additional federal resources to the region. One way
to do this would be to increase allocations from the
Participation Funds to states and municipalities.
Today, the federal government transfers R$ 50 billion a
year to the states through the FPE (State Participation
Funds). If only 2% of the FPE resources were
distributed according to a forest protection criterion
(states with more protected areas would receive an
additional one), about R$ 1 billion would be allocated
to forest conservation. Of these, approximately R$ 770
million would be destined to the Amazon biome, which
hosts 77% of the continental area of the Brazilian
Conservation Units16. This approach is consistent with
the new PPCDAm approach, which provides for the
elaboration of economic, scal and tax standards and
© Paulo Pereira/Greenpeace
A Pathway to Zero Deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon | 26
Box 3. The importance of the agrarian reform settlements for forest conservation
The 2,220 land reform settlements
georeferenced and recorded in the National
Institute of Colonization and Agrarian Reform
(INCRA) database amount to 34.5 million
hectares, of which 22 million are forests that
hold about 8 billion tons of CO2, equivalent
to four years of total national emissions
of greenhouse gases. The proportional
contribution of settlements to deforestation
in the Amazon was almost 30% (Table 1) for
the period 2003 to 2014. Deforestation has
been concentrated (2.6% of settlements
account for 72% of deforestation), indicating
focus on critical areasxxiii. Recent studies
supported by the Amazon Fund indicate that
the combination of adequate agricultural
technical assistance, intensification and
diversification of production and payments
for environmental services in settlements in
Pará reduced deforestation by almost 80% and
increased the income per family by 60%xxIV.
In addition to conservation support, it will be
necessary to combat the irregular occupation
of settlements by people who do not fit the
profile of land reform beneficiaries, including
middle and large-scale landowners, who have
great potential to increase deforestation in
these areas.
Increasing production and efciency of the activities
in the deforested areas will allow to maintain the
socioeconomic contribution of this sector without
new deforestation. Some progress has already been
made, but cattle ranching in the country continues to
be extensive and low in productivity. For example, its
potential does not reach 34%. If it rose to 52% (which
would still be low), livestock would meet the demand
for beef and, consequently, grain, by 2040 without the
need for additional forest conversion and still avoid the
emission of 14 billion tons of CO2
XXV. See in Box 4 a
simulation of how to grow the agricultural economy in
the Amazon without deforestation.
The most powerful policy to support the adoption of
best agricultural practices is the rural credit and other
subsidies of the federal government's Agriculture and
Livestock Plan, which is nanced with taxes from all
Brazilians. In 2017/2018, this plan totaled around
R$ 200 billion17. However, only 1.1% of rural credit
is earmarked exclusively for low carbon agriculture
through the ABC (Low Carbon Agriculture) Program. To
encourage a more rapid adoption of more sustainable
practices, the federal government needs to adopt two
main measures:
1. prioritize rural credit only for municipalities
that reduce deforestation and thus encourage
rural producers, mayors and governors to engage
against deforestation;
2. establish a transition goal (for example, a
maximum of 10 years) so that all rural credit is
allocated to ABC alone. In doing so, the taxpayer
would encourage that the entire system of research,
development, and technical assistance focus on
techniques compatible with reducing deforestation
and increasing production with low greenhouse gas
Irrespective of promoting more efcient use of the
cleared areas, to reduce deforestation globally we will
need to reduce food waste and change food practices
(Box 5).
5.2.2 Favor better agricultural practices
| 27
The most obvious way to continue increasing
agricultural income without deforestation
would be to increase production in areas
already deforested, especially in areas for
cattle farming, whose productivity is very low.
Here we exemplify this potential.
How much of gross revenue would be
required to produce in areas already
cleared to offset the revenue that would
be generated from production in newly
deforested areas? We estimate that they
would be around R$ 700 million per year,
assuming the average deforestation rate of
the scenarios projected for the next ten years
(1.16 million hectares per year) and the average
gross revenue of R$ 604 per deforested
hectare in the region.
How can we produce another R$ 700 million
per year in areas already cleared for
pasture? It would be possible to increase the
average productivity of livestock from 80kg to
300kg per hectare per year with the adoption
of an average level of technology (Barreto &
Silva, 2013). This would result in an additional
annual gain of approximately R$ 1,790/ha,
considering the value of the cattle in 2016 in
important livestock production municipalities
of the region (R$ 8.13 per kiloXXVI).
Thus, by dividing the additional gross revenue
to be produced without deforestation
(R$ 700 million per year) by the revenue gain
with productivity increase (R$ 1,790/ha), we
found that it would be necessary to improve
productivity by about 391 thousand hectares
of pasture per year. This area represents
only 4% of pasture with the best potential
for productivity improvement in the region
(about 10 million hectares). Thus, it would
be possible to continue to increase livestock
production for 26 years with only a moderate
increase in productivity in this area (10 million
hectares/391 thousand hectares to be
restored per year).
How much would it take to invest to
reform the pastures? Approximately R$ 778
million per year, considering an investment
of R$ 1,989/ha18 for the pasture reform (391
thousand hectares multiplied by R$ 1,989/ha).
This investment would be equivalent to 2.8% of
gross cattle and dairy income and 15% of rural
credit granted by the federal government for
investment in livestock (R$ 5 billion) in the
states of the Legal Amazon in 2016. This shows
that the sector itself generates resources and
receives enough public investments to afford
the productivity gains needed to compensate
for the elimination of deforestation. Thus,
it would be possible to clear deforestation
without socioeconomic losses, only improving
cattle ranching.
Box 4. How to grow the agricultural economy without deforestation?
A Pathway to Zero Deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon | 28
Up to 14 percent of the emissions generated by
agriculture in 2050 could be avoided by better
managing the use and distribution of food,
according to a new study by the Potsdam Institute
for Climate Impact Research (PIK). Between 30%
and 40% of all food produced on the planet is never
consumed, because it deteriorates after being
harvested and during transportation or because it is
thrown away by traders and consumers19.
Irrespective of the increase in production only in
areas already deforested, it will also be necessary to
reduce the consumption of animal protein globally.
As the world population grows and productivity
rates of agricultural production reach the limit,
a greater amount of land would be required to
produce if current conditions of production
and consumption are maintained. This model is
unsustainable, and experts (including the FAO,
UN Food and Agriculture Organization) have
recommended more efficient use of agricultural
products and food with a greater emphasis on
the use of plants (instead of animal protein) and
alternative sources of animal protein (e.g., edible
insects need six times less feed to produce the same
amount of bovine protein)20 .
A 2015 study by Imaflora illustrates the Brazilian
case of the nutritional inefficiency of production. In
2006, agriculture produced 35 times more protein
than cattle production did, although pastures
occupy 2.6 times more area than agriculture. The
2006 harvest would meet the protein needs of 2.1
billion people, while meat production would feed
only 85 millionXXVII. In addition, today, much of this
land used for agriculture is intended to provide
food to fatten animals for human consumption and
not eat the vegetable protein itself.
The shift to diets less dependent on animal protein
and more sustainable production systems is
necessary and requires the promotion of a just
transition from the current model of production
and consumption respecting the social, economic
and cultural differences of each country.
Box 5. Zero deforestation worldwide requires less food waste and changes in production and consumption
© Valdemir Cunha / Greenpeace
| 29
Companies that buy or nance agricultural products
should reduce the market for products associated
with deforestation and support the adoption of better
agricultural practices. They may do so voluntarily
or because of nancial risks, market blockages, or
legal pressures from investors or consumers, which
are becoming more and more common (Box 6). The
various initiatives to monitor corporate commitments
and legal action against buyers and nanciers of
deforestation mean that risks are increasing and will
increase further as many commitments have targets
for 2020.
Recent experiences show that when companies
monitor the origin of products and boycott purchases
from deforested areas, producers stop deforestingXXVIII.
Therefore, companies that claim to be committed to
zero (absolute or liquid) deforestation - whether they
are processors, such as slaughterhouses, retailers,
supermarkets, or industries such as leather - must
trace the source of all their products that can be
associated with deforestation, such as meat, milk, soy,
corn, cocoa and palm oil, among others. For example,
in the case of the Amazon, slaughterhouses and
supermarkets must trace the cattle from the breeding
and raising farms that supply the nishing farms from
which they buy. Likewise, supermarkets that have
announced policies aligned with zero deforestation in
the acquisition of beef also need to implement their
systems and monitor the indirect suppliers (farms) of
the slaughterhouses (where calves are produced).
Pilot projects show the technical and nancial feasibility
of this complete tracking of livestock - for example, the
total cost would be around ten cents per kilo of meat for
the nal consumer. This type of initiative could scale up
with the participation of more public and private actors,
as happened with the successful program to combat
foot-and-mouth diseaseXXIX.
Buyers should also demand that half of the
slaughterhouses that haven’t committed against
deforestation - with slaughtering capacity equivalent
to 30% of the total Amazon region - engage in the
agreements, and that supermarkets that have not yet
published policies to control deforestation associated
with cattle production, such as large Amazon networks
like DB, Líder and Cencosud, do so immediately. This
would reduce unfair competition from those who are
already restricting purchases from deforested areas.
The adhesion of producers will be as big as the
support of the supply chain of their business. Thus,
companies should broaden their initiatives to support
environmental regularization and increase productivity.
For example, governments and companies in the
livestock supply chain could help train about 2,000
people needed to improve livestock productivityXXX.
The government also plays a crucial role in
strengthening company agreements by providing
public information to help monitor farms and other
land uses. The livestock supply chain, for example,
could be freed from deforestation if the Ministries
of Agriculture and Livestock (MAPA) and the
Environment (MMA) and the state health defense
agencies made the CAR data available (in the case
of MMA) and the animal transit guides (in the case
of states). Slaughterhouses, supermarket chains and
other interested parties could crosscheck this data to
identify the origin and destination of the livestock. It
is likely that governments will release this data only
after more pressure from consumers and companies
committed to forest conservation, as there is resistance
in the rural sector against increased surveillance and
transparency, as was evident in the reactions against
the dissemination of CAR data and against IBAMA’s
Operation Cold Meat.
The total and active transparency of other data
generated by governments (municipal, state and
federal) is also fundamental in monitoring supply
chains that act as potential drivers of deforestation
and forest degradation. Among this information are
the Forest Origin Documents and/or Forest Transport
Guides and the Mapping of Forest Degradation in the
Brazilian Amazon (DEGRAD).
Reducing the Market to products associated with deforestation
A Pathway to Zero Deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon | 30
Box 6. International commitments to end of deforestation
Box 7. Deforestation in the Cerrado should also be eliminated
Zero deforestation is, increasingly, a global
commitment. Due to growing recognition of
the diverse benefits of forests for climate and
food production, the goal of zero deforestation
is being pursued by several international
agreements. In September 2014, for example,
179 entities, including governments,
companies, movements and NGOs, signed the
New York Declaration on Forests to eradicate
tropical deforestation by 2030. Brazil was the
only country in the group that did not sign the
document, initially claiming that it was
not invited.
The New York Declaration gave a clear
message to commodity markets worldwide:
the destruction of forests is no longer
tolerated by global society. Thus, countries
that do not adopt policies aimed at eliminating
deforestation will certainly lose market and
competitiveness. Along the same lines, in 2010,
the Consumer Goods Forum, an alliance of 400
multinational companies with revenues of US$
4 trillion, had already committed to eliminate
deforestation in its production chains by
202021. Finally, in 2015, the UN adopted the
Sustainable Development Objectives for 2030,
which have among their goals "to promote the
implementation of sustainable management of
all types of forests by 2020, halt deforestation,
restore degraded forests and substantially
increase afforestation and reforestation."22
In 2017, it was the turn of the president of
France, Emmanuel Macron, to announce
plans to block the importation of commodities
produced from deforestation.
Market commitments for zero deforestation
in Brazil are focused on the Amazon. But
the private sector needs to go one step
further and include the protection of other
threatened biomes. In the Cerrado, for
example, destruction has occurred at an even
greater speed than in the Amazon: between
2013 and 2015, about 19,000 km² of forest were
destroyed. Due to the gravity of the situation
in the biome, environmental organizations
came together and launched in September
2017 a manifesto: In the hands of the market,
the future of the Cerrado: we need to stop
deforestation (in Portuguese “Nas mãos
do mercado, o futuro do cerrado: é preciso
interromper o desmatamento“)23.
The main cause of the destruction of the
Cerrado is the expansion of agribusiness over
native vegetation. Therefore, in the manifesto
it is requested that the companies that buy
soy and beef from the Cerrado, as well as
the investors that work in these sectors,
adopt policies and effective commitments
to eliminate deforestation and to disconnect
their productive chains from recently
deforested areas. The organizations also warn
that compliance with the law alone is not
enough, as it authorizes that another
40 million hectares be legally deforested in the
biome. They also demand that the government
and the private sector develop incentives and
economic instruments to reward producers
who conserve areas of native vegetation. The
document was recently supported by a group
of leading international companies (including
Carrefour, McDonald's, Nestlé, Unilever and
Walmart) and Prince Charles.
| 31
Box 8. Zero Deforestation, a bill to defend the forests
After a broad mobilization by society, in 2015 a
bill was passed in the National Congress that
defends the end of deforestation in Brazilian
forests. The project was supported by more
than 1.4 million Brazilians and is still being
processed in the Chamber and Senate. It is
essential that society remain mobilized so that
the project is discussed and the actions that
build this path become a reality.
Opinion polls show that most Brazilians support
forest conservation24 and, in fact, at various times
society’s participation and pressure have favored
the conservation of the Amazon, including recent
campaigns against policies that facilitate destruction25.
However, systemic political corruption and the lack of
prioritization of environmental issues by governments
make it difcult for the population’s demands to be
metXXXI. In this context, social pressure must be even
stronger and continuous against attempts to weaken
forest protection, such as easing environmental
licensing, reducing the protection of Conservation
Units, halting the demarcation of Indigenous Lands and
extending the term in order to legalize land grabbing.
However, it is not enough to reject destructive policies;
it is necessary to support projects that promote the
sustainable development of the region - for example,
the Sustainable Amazon Plan, launched in May
2008, which provides for the valorization of socio-
cultural and ecological diversity and the reduction
of regional inequalities. The population may also
demand that their taxes be used only for policies
that favor conservation and best practices, such as
those described in previous sections. In addition,
to give political sustainability to conservation,
citizens should elect politicians who understand the
value of forests to the well-being of the population
and the economic development of the country.
Every Brazilian and a global citizen, as a consumer,
can help transform companies into conservation allies
through purchases and investments (several of which
are listed on stock exchanges and others nanced
by public resources). Corporate markets also play an
important role. The Soy Moratorium has shown that rural
producers changed rapidly when European soybean
consumers announced that they would not buy soy from
deforested areas. In addition to ceasing deforestation,
they began to invest in production in areas already
deforested. In the last decade, the pressure of the
national and international market, which, even buying
less than what is consumed internally, also managed
to push the largest companies to adopt systems of
socio-environmental control for livestock production.
Also under pressure from civil society, the largest retail
chains had to adopt policies for sourcing cattle aligned
with zero deforestation. Thus, initiatives that assess
and bring visibility to commitments to conservation are
essential to channel attention from society and promote
changes in policy and business. Along the same path,
it is essential that countries investing in the country and
in their businesses also demand criteria aligned with
zero deforestation and respect for local communities.
The role of society, voters, consumers, and investors
A Pathway to Zero Deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon | 32
© Fabio Nascimento / Greenpeace
1 We estimate that each hectare deforested in the Amazon states
produced an average of R$604 of gross value of agricultural
products (VAP - which includes meat, milk, grains, cassava,
cacao, etc.) in 2016, considering data made available by the
federal government on VAP (Brazil, 2017. Ministry of Livestock
and Supply, Gross Value of Agricultural Production) and total
deforested area. To estimate the average value of production we
use only the states whose territory covered the Amazon biome
(that is, excluding Mato Grosso and Tocantins that includes
parts of the Cerrado). But to estimate the total value generated,
considering the deforested area per year throughout the biome.
2 We estimate the average annual GDP between 2007 and 2016
at R$3.54 trillion with IBGE data (https://brasilemsintese.ibge. We then
divided the total gross annual crop value for this period (R$453
million) by the average annual GDP
3 Table 4 shows how this GDP increase can be offset by the
deforestation of new areas, with a moderate increase in livestock
4 The area may be larger since some of the areas registered in the
Rural Environmental Registry are possessions derived from land
5 Reproduced based on Moutinho et al 2016 (https://
14; https://www.;
15 In Mato Grosso, the registration of the legal reserve is already part
of the requirement for the transfer of the tax to the municipalities.
In Pará, the distribution of ICMS is linked to the reduction of
deforestation and to the amount of forests. (https://www.semas.
16 77% of the continental area of Brazil's Conservation Units are in
the Amazon biome. MMA, 2017. Table of Conservation Units by
Biome of the National Register of Conservation Units (CNUC),
updated on 07/10/2017. Available at: <
Accessed on: 10/31/2017 18
18 Value originally estimated by Barreto & Silva, 2013 (http://
desmatar-a-amazonia/#ancora1) and updated to current value
using the IGP-M (FGV) rate.
20 See and https://www.
24 See examples of research at:
| 33
I Strassburg, B. B. N., A. E. Latawiec, L. G. Barioni, C. A. Nobre,
V. P. da Silva, J. F. Valentim, M. Vianna, and E. D. Assad.
(2014). When enough should be enough: Improving the use of
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spare natural habitats in Brazil. Global Environmental Change
II Dean, W. (1996). A ferro e fogo: a história e a devastação da
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na Amazônia: do Boom ap Colapso, Belém, PA:: Imazon.
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al. (2015). Brazils Soy Moratorium: Supply chain governance is
needed to avoid deforestation. Science 347(6220): 377378. doi:
VIII Moutinho, P., Guerra, R. & Azevedo-Ramos, C. (2016). Achieving
zero deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon: What is missing?
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Motta, A. A. Alencar, J. C. Gomes, and R. A. Ortiz (2004). The
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XI Arima, E. Y., Barreto, P., Araújo, E., & Soares-Filho, B. (2014).
Public policies can reduce tropical deforestation: Lessons and
challenges from Brazil. Land Use Policy, 41, 465–473.
XII Soares-Filho, B., Moutinho, P., Nepstad, D., Anderson, A.,
Rodrigues, H., Garcia, R., Dietzsch, L., Merry, F., Bowman, M.,
Hissa, L., Silvestrini, R., Maretti, C. (2010). Role of Brazilian
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Federal 6.321/07. IPAM, Brasília.
XIV Assunção J, Gandour C, Rocha R, Rocha R., (2013). Does
Credit Affect Deforestation? Evidence from a Rural Credit Policy
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Understanding the Transformation Induced by INDCs
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frigorícos vão ajudar a zerar o desmatamento da Amazônia?
(p. 158). Belém: Imazon.
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na Amazônia Legal. Plano operativo 2016-2010. Brasília, DF:
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R., Bentes, A. J., Stella, O., Azevedo, A., Gomes, J., Novaes,
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© Greenpeace / John Novis
© Fábio Nascimento / Greenpeace
ResearchGate has not been able to resolve any citations for this publication.
Technical Report
Full-text available
Os frigoríficos que compram gado da Amazônia têm sido pressionados por campanhas ambientais e processos legais a combater o desmatamento praticado pelos fazendeiros. A pressão para zerar o desmatamento, legal ou ilegal, é crescente, pois esta é a atividade mais poluidora do país se considerarmos a emissão de gases da queima de florestas que contribuem para o aquecimento global. Algumas empresas frigoríficas se comprometeram a comprar apenas de fazendas sem desmatamento após 2009. Sete anos depois do primeiro acordo, fomos a campo para responder se os frigoríficos, de fato, podem contribuir para zerar o desmatamento na região. Com base em dados inéditos e na revisão de estudos, mostramos que os acordos avançaram, mas muito ainda precisa ser feito para que o setor contribua efetivamente para ajudar a zerar o desmatamento na Amazônia.
Full-text available
Amazon deforestation causes severe climatic and ecological disruptions, with negative consequences for the livelihood of forest-dependent peoples. To avoid further disruptions, Brazil will need to take bold steps to eliminate both illegal and legal Amazon deforestation over the short term. Amazon deforestation declined by 70% between 2005 and 2014 due to drops in commodity prices and interventions by federal and state governments, such as law enforcement campaigns and credit restrictions for landowners who deforest illegally. Despite these impressive achievements, Brazil still deforests 5,000 km2 of Amazonian forests each year. How then will Brazil eliminate Amazon deforestation altogether if the country is only committed to cut illegal deforestation by 2030—as stated in its Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (iNDC) to the 2015 climate change treaty meeting in Paris? Here we provide an analysis of the major socio-economic-political threats that could constrain Brazil from achieving its current goals. We then propose six fundamental strategies to help Brazil achieve a more ambitious goal to eliminate all major legal and illegal Amazon deforestation. These strategies involve bringing social and environmental safeguards to the infrastructure plans in the region, consolidating and expanding positive incentives for the production of sustainable commodities, establishing a new policy to guarantee the social and environmental sustainability of rural settlements, fully implementing the national legislation protecting forests (the Forest Code), protecting the land rights of indigenous people and traditional communities, and expanding the existing network of protected areas, allocating the 80 million hectares of not designated public forests as protected areas or areas for sustainable use of timber and non-timber forest products. The implementation of these strategies however depends on the formulation of a new development paradigm that promotes economic growth, social justice and productive agriculture, while protecting the fundamentally important ecological services of tropical forests.
Full-text available
Providing food and other products to a growing human population while safeguarding natural ecosystems and the provision of their services is a significant scientific, social and political challenge. With food demand likely to double over the next four decades, anthropization is already driving climate change and is the principal force behind species extinction, among other environmental impacts. The sustainable intensification of production on current agricultural lands has been suggested as a key solution to the competition for land between agriculture and natural ecosystems. However, few investigations have shown the extent to which these lands can meet projected demands while considering biophysical constraints. Here we investigate the improved use of existing agricultural lands and present insights into avoiding future competition for land. We focus on Brazil, a country projected to experience the largest increase in agricultural production over the next four decades and the richest nation in terrestrial carbon and biodiversity. Using various models and climatic datasets, we produced the first estimate of the carrying capacity of Brazil's 115 million hectares of cultivated pasturelands. We then investigated if the improved use of cultivated pasturelands would free enough land for the expansion of meat, crops, wood and biofuel, respecting biophysical constraints (i.e., terrain, climate) and including climate change impacts. We found that the current productivity of Brazilian cultivated pasturelands is 32–34% of its potential and that increasing productivity to 49–52% of the potential would suffice to meet demands for meat, crops, wood products and biofuels until at least 2040, without further conversion of natural ecosystems. As a result up to 14.3 Gt CO2 Eq could be mitigated. The fact that the country poised to undergo the largest expansion of agricultural production over the coming decades can do so without further conversion of natural habitats provokes the question whether the same can be true in other regional contexts and, ultimately, at the global scale.
Full-text available
É possível combater o desmatamento da Amazônia e promover o crescimento da economia rural da região. Essa tendência já vem ocorrendo desde 2007 e pode ser consolidada nos próximos anos. O fator crítico para aumentar a produção sem desmatar é aumentar a produtividade, especialmente da pecuária, que é o principal uso das áreas desmatadas. Estimamos que seria possível suprir o aumento da demanda de carne projetada até 2022 aumentando-se a produtividade em torno de apenas 24% do pasto com potencial agronômico para a intensificação existente em 2007. Assim, sem desmatar, até 2022 seria possível aumentar o valor da produção agropecuária em cerca de R$ 4 bilhões – um aumento de 16% do valor da produção agropecuária em 2010. Para que a produção agropecuária cresça apenas nas áreas já desmatadas o poder público deverá corrigir falhas de políticas que desencorajam o investimento nessas áreas e outras que estimulam o desmatamento.
Full-text available
Protected areas (PAs) now shelter 54% of the remaining forests of the Brazilian Amazon and contain 56% of its forest carbon. However, the role of these PAs in reducing carbon fluxes to the atmosphere from deforestation and their associated costs are still uncertain. To fill this gap, we analyzed the effect of each of 595 Brazilian Amazon PAs on deforestation using a metric that accounts for differences in probability of deforestation in areas of pairwise comparison. We found that the three major categories of PA (indigenous land, strictly protected, and sustainable use) showed an inhibitory effect, on average, between 1997 and 2008. Of 206 PAs created after the year 1999, 115 showed increased effectiveness after their designation as protected. The recent expansion of PAs in the Brazilian Amazon was responsible for 37% of the region's total reduction in deforestation between 2004 and 2006 without provoking leakage. All PAs, if fully implemented, have the potential to avoid 8.0 +/- 2.8 Pg of carbon emissions by 2050. Effectively implementing PAs in zones under high current or future anthropogenic threat offers high payoffs for reducing carbon emissions, and as a result should receive special attention in planning investments for regional conservation. Nevertheless, this strategy demands prompt and predictable resource streams. The Amazon PA network represents a cost of US$147 +/- 53 billion (net present value) for Brazil in terms of forgone profits and investments needed for their consolidation. These costs could be partially compensated by an international climate accord that includes economic incentives for tropical countries that reduce their carbon emissions from deforestation and forest degradation.
New supply chain interventions offer promise to reduce deforestation from expansion of commercial agriculture, as more multinational companies agree to stop sourcing from farms with recent forest clearing. We analyzed the zero-deforestation cattle agreements signed by major meatpacking companies in the Brazilian Amazon state of Par a using property-level data on beef supply chains. Our panel analysis of daily purchases by slaughterhouses before and after the agreements demonstrates that they now avoid purchasing from properties with deforestation, which was not the case prior to the agreements. Supplying ranchers registered their properties in a public environmental registry nearly 2 years before surrounding non-supplying properties, and 85% of surveyed ranchers indicated that the agreements were the driving force. In addition, supplying properties had significantly reduced deforestation rates following the agreements. Our results demonstrate important changes in the beef supply chain, but the agreements' narrow scope and implementation diminish outcomes for forest conservation.
the registration of the legal reserve is already part of the requirement for the transfer of the tax to the municipalities. In Pará, the distribution of ICMS is linked to the reduction of deforestation and to the amount of forests
  • In Mato Grosso
In Mato Grosso, the registration of the legal reserve is already part of the requirement for the transfer of the tax to the municipalities. In Pará, the distribution of ICMS is linked to the reduction of deforestation and to the amount of forests. (https://www.semas.
Does Credit Affect Deforestation? Evidence from a Rural Credit Policy in the Brazilian Amazon. Climate Policy Initiative
  • Xiii Lima
XIII Lima, et al. A., Capobianco, J., Moutinho, P. (2008). Desmatamento na Amazônia: medidas e efeitos do Decreto Federal 6.321/07. IPAM, Brasília. XIV Assunção J, Gandour C, Rocha R, Rocha R., (2013). Does Credit Affect Deforestation? Evidence from a Rural Credit Policy in the Brazilian Amazon. Climate Policy Initiative; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. pp. 1-48.