We're Not Out of the Woods Yet... Did Policy or Recession Reduce Brazil's Deforestation Rates?

amazon canopy photo

photo: Alexander Torrenegra via flickr.

Just as its announced that Brazil and the United States will work together to slow Amazon deforestation, Cool Green Science asks an important question: Has it been policy or recession driving down deforestation in Brazil?In case you missed it, last year's deforestation figures show that land-clearing is at the lowest levels since 1988, something for which the Brazilian government gave itself a solid pat on the back. And they did step it up on the policy front. So that's at least part of the picture.

A Few Years of Growth + Low Deforestation Needed Before We Start Celebrating
But what Cool Green Science points out is that coinciding with the sharp downturn in deforestation was an equally sharp downturn in the economy, which has now ended. Only when we see continued low deforestation rates couple with high economic growth for a couple of years will it be time to celebrate.

Brazil looks very well set for 5-6% GDP growth over the next three to four years. If deforestation stays at or even below this year's level at that level of GDP growth, it really will be time to open the champagne. For now, jubilant press conferences or no, best to keep it on ice.

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