Plan against deforestation in the cerrado goes into consultation – 09/13/2023 – Environment

Plan against deforestation in the cerrado goes into consultation – 09/13/2023 – Environment

A new PPCerrado (Action Plan for the Prevention and Control of Deforestation in the Cerrado) entered public consultation this Wednesday (13). The consultation will remain active until October 12th on the Participa + Brasil website. The announcement comes after months of high rates of deforestation in the biome.

The plan, which concerns the period from 2023 to 2027, will have an interministerial commission, chaired by the Civil House and secretariat by the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change. The commission is responsible for “coordinating actions to reduce deforestation rates”.

The document under consultation recalls the importance of state entities in combating deforestation in the biome. This is relevant considering that deforestation in the Cerrado occurs especially in private areas —unlike the Amazon—, which, according to authorities, makes federal action in confronting the devastation difficult.

PPCerrado points out that, in 2022, around 81% of deforestation occurred in private areas.

The Forest Code determines that private properties located in the cerrado must maintain 20% to 35% of the natural vegetation (in cerrado areas located in the Legal Amazon) standing (a structure known as a legal reserve). In the Amazon, this percentage jumps to 80%.

During the presentation of the plan, in a session of the Environment and Sustainable Development Committee of the Chamber of Deputies, André Lima, extraordinary secretary for deforestation control, reaffirmed the need to work with the states. Lima highlighted the need to observe apparently legal plant suppression authorizations.

Minister Marina Silva, of Environment and Climate Change, was also present at the session.

“There is no silver bullet. It’s not just about stopping deforestation. There are multiple actions that intersect and feed back positively or negatively,” said Marina. “The cerrado has a strategic function, it is Brazil’s water tank.”

As she had done previously, Marina questioned what the scientific basis would be for legal reserves in the cerrado to be only 20% to 35%. The minister, however, did not defend a change in the Forest Code on the topic —”opening this Pandora’s box again, God help me”—, but rather a change in activities in the biome.

“We don’t want makeup on the problems. Making public policy based on evidence means assuming what science says. Having the courage to show the data. Because the data, when shown, creates what is called ethical embarrassment for companies, for governments, for everyone”, stated the minister. “The effort we are making is to make this political and ethical alignment to protect the cerrado.”

According to the plan, most state authorizations for vegetation suppression — to carry out any deforestation, owners need to inform authorities and have authorization — are not available in the federal system, “which makes it difficult to control illegal deforestation both by federal agencies and the financial sector and production chains”.

The document points out that, based on available data, it can be estimated that at least half of the devastation in the cerrado is caused by some type of illegality.

Still according to the plan, among the causes of vegetation clearing in the cerrado are illegal deforestation linked to production chains — there is a strong presence of soy, for example, and livestock in the biome —, low level of recognition of collective territories and conservation units , agricultural expansion, land speculation, ineffective water management and inadequate fire management.

The impact of illegality in the field, however, needs to be better understood. “Currently, the Brazilian government does not have consolidated official data on the level of compliance of agricultural production with current environmental legislation”, points out the document.

“However, different studies carried out by the Academy and civil society present evidence that a significant portion of production is linked to illegal deforestation due to non-compliance with the requirements for the conservation of native vegetation within the property.”

A study published in 2020 in the journal Science showed that illegal deforestation in the Amazon and the Cerrado may be contaminating around 20% of soy and at least 17% of meat exported to the EU (European Union). This research is even cited in PPCerrado.

Matopiba (Maranhão, Tocantins, Piauí and Bahia), a region where there is heavy deforestation, and agricultural and speculative interest, also receives focus in the plan. Continuous deforestation of more than one hundred hectares is concentrated in this region, a situation that has predominated in the last four years, the document points out.

“Which indicates significant capital investments for purchasing and removing vegetation from large areas annually”, says the text.

The document also recalls the extinction of the PPCerrado under the Jair Bolsonaro (PL) government and the abandonment of “specific actions for the cerrado in the years that followed”.

Also present at the launch, the executive secretary of the Ministry of the Environment, João Paulo Capobianco, said that the project’s objective is not just to end illegal deforestation, but all forms of devastation. “

Goal of zero deforestation by 2030. Zero deforestation is not illegal in the Amazon. It’s zero deforestation throughout Brazil”, stated Capobianco, in reference to other national biomes.

“There are others [planos] at the mouth of the oven”, said Marina Silva.

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