Amazon Deforestation Down 51 Percent From This Time Last Year: So, What's Working?


photo: Brazil's National Institute for Space Research (INPE)

Amazon deforestation dropped 51 percent from August 2009 to February 2010 when compared to the same period from 2008 to 2009, according to figures released this week by Brazil's National Institute for Space Research (INPE). Much of the progress is due to Brazil's newly established Green Arch, Legal Land Program. See how the program is working and if it can be replicated in other parts of the world. Ten months ago Brazil began implementing its Green Arch, Legal Land program and this year deforestation in the Amazon has dropped by 51 percent. According to INPE, of the 43 municipalities with the highest Amazon deforestation rates, 12 saw their rates decline more than 80 percent in the period between August 2008 and February 2009, and another 18 experienced rate drops between 54 percent and 80 percent. Only one municipality showed an increase at 34 percent. The goal of the program is to reduce deforestation by 80 percent by 2020. As Jaymi recently wrote, the decreases are also due to increased policing. The Brazilian Minister of the Environment, Carlos Minc claims that over the last year the Brazilian Institute of Environment and Renewable Natural Resources "seized 62 boats, 237 trucks, and 44 tractors, and the federal police initiated 650 probes and arrested 298 people."

Green Arch, Legal Land
Green Arch, Legal Land focuses on 43 municipalities within the states of Amazonas, Maranhão, Mato Grosso, Pará, Rondônia and Roraima as priorities for controlling deforestation. It's in these areas that 55 percent of all Amazon deforestation is taking place. The municipalities remain on their list until at least 80 percent of the land becomes listed as Rural Environmental Registry (CAR). One such municipalities is Paragominas, in Pará, which today has qualified to be removed from the list. According to Global Times, the program works by both giving land titles to Amazon residents (enrollment in the Rural Environment Registry) and paying the residents to prevent deforestation. Government agencies will coordinate under the plan to prevent illegal logging and train some 300 officials to prevent land-grabbing in some municipalities.

"Enrollment in the Rural Environment Registry is the most important step for environmental regularization of rural properties; it ensures that these lands receive agricultural and environmental protection," said Minister Teixeira.

More on the Amazon:
Amazon Tribe Already Feels the Pinch From Climate Change & Deforestation
Cattle Pastures in Deforested Amazon Now the Size of Iceland
Amazon Will Be Drier Because of Global Warming, But Won't Turn to Savannah

Related Content on