Deforestation is one of the largest threats this planet faces. It has been negatively affecting natural ecosystems, biodiversity, and the climate for decades with 502,000 square miles (1.3 million square kilometres) of forest area being lost from 1990 and 2016.
We spoke with one of our leading deforestation experts to get their thoughts and knowledge on some of the key questions on the Brazilian forestry laws/regulations and the reforestation of native species. Dive into what they had to say below.
Botany and “Forest Code” Professional: The ecological restoration of an area can be done in different ways and the choice of the most effective method will depend on a technical diagnosis of the area and the situation found in the field. This involves an environmental assessment of the vegetation and the state of degradation of the area.
It is essential to identify the region’s biome and forest typology in order to know which native species should be introduced and characterize the vegetation in the field. Evaluating the area to be restored and its surroundings allow estimates of the potential regeneration. Once this is done, the forest recovery method that best fits the situation diagnosed in the field must be chosen.
Therefore, the most effective methods for restoring a forest depend on the prior diagnosis of the area to be recovered. There are three methods of reforestation:
• In areas where there is the presence of natural regeneration of vegetation and well distributed, the Conduction of Regeneration and Enrichment is indicated.
• In areas where there is natural regeneration of vegetation with empty spaces, the Conduction of Regeneration and Densification is indicated.
• In areas where the natural regeneration of vegetation is not observed, Planting in TotalArea is indicated.
Whichever method you choose, you must initially isolate the area to be recovered. Isolation must be done to create a marginal strip free of vegetation that separates the area under-recovery from the other areas of the property. In properties with livestock, isolation must also be done with the implementation of a fence. In addition, there are other actions that can be integrated with the methods mentioned above, enhancing and accelerating the restoration process.
Botany and “Forest Code” Professional: The effective protection of forests in Brazil and the formation of new forests do not depend on changing the Forest Code, but on ensuring its implementation. The Forest Code is a very demanding and detailed Law that regulates the use and management of land of rural properties in the country. The law guarantees that landowners conserve native vegetation on rural properties by establishing a Legal Reserve and by defining environmentally sensitive areas: Permanent Preservation Areas.
Legal Reserves are forest areas or areas to be recovered for a period of up to 20 years to become forests and that must occupy a specific percentage of the property’s area, ranging from 20% to 80% of the property, depending on the region. The Permanent Preservation Areas are areas that aim to conserve water resources and prevent the occurrence of soil erosion and must be kept reforested.
It is estimated that the final implementation of the Brazilian Forest Code for the entire agricultural sector, which involves two items: defining a legal reserve and Permanent Preservation Areas, it will entail the restoration of at least 20 million hectares of areas to be reforested.
However, to effectively protect forests in Brazil, in addition to implementing the Forest Code, it is necessary to combat illegal deforestation in the country. Since more than 90% of deforestation in Brazil is carried out illegally. It is necessary that the action of the public sector must inspect, curb and implement policies to reduce deforestation, and also with the joint action between the public and private sectors, which must join efforts and assume responsibilities in the process.
It is also important to consider that changes to the Forest Code can delay its implementation, as they could lead to revisions in state rules, making it possible to lose all the work and time already dedicated by States to regulate and implement the respective rules.
Botany and “Forest Code” Professional: The implementation of the “Forest Code” can be managed through consultations on government and NGO websites that monitor implementation of the Forest Code through the follow-up of the Rural Environmental Registry (CAR) of rural properties.
The CAR is a national electronic public record, mandatory for all rural properties, as established in the “Forest Code”, with the purpose of integrating environmental information of rural properties, composing the database for control, monitoring, environmental planning, and combating deforestation.
Through the CAR, rural landowners provide environmental information related to the property, demonstrating the existing Permanent Preservation Areas and defining the areas destined for the Legal Reserve. With this, the areas of Existing Forests and/or the areas to be reforested are registered and can be monitored and protected.