However, despite the opposition of the Brazilian population and against scientific evidence and legal advice, the Brazilian National Congress is set to approve changes to the Forest Law on 6 or 7 March 2012, which will result in extensive environmental, political and economic damage. The new law, as currently proposed, will:
- Legalise millions of hectares illegally cleared through an amnesty
- Lead to billions of greenhouse gas emissions, which will undermine the global community’s efforts to keep global warming below 2°C
- Reduce drastically the protection of many sensitive ecosystems as springs, wetlands and mangroves
- Increase the risk of flooding and landslides, and cause problems in the water supply
- Reduce forest restoration obligations in vulnerable habitats that are important for safeguarding people, environmental services and biodiversity
- Be nearly impossible to enforce and will promote further deforestation
- We strongly urge President Dilma Rousseff to intervene in the process of revising the Forest Law, to allow time for proper scientific evaluation of its potential impacts, and a deeper discussion among Brazilian people.
- If the revision is rushed through National Congress, we urge President Dilma Rousseff to veto any text that would contravene her promise “to prevent any changes in law that would allow illegal deforestation or give amnesty to environmental criminals” who violated the law prior to 2008. Please also veto any text that would allow rural properties up to 440 hectares to have the same Legal Reserve benefits as small family producers; and any text that would permit states and municipalities to create exceptions to the federal regulatory framework.
Some available alternatives
- Land use-planning for up to 61 million hectares of underproductive pastures, which are readily available for cultivation without additional deforestation
- Increase the efficiency of the livestock sector
- Introduction of a strategy for sustainable production in the farming and livestock sectors
- Implementation and increase of national and international mechanisms for compensation for environmental services
Why will your voice be heard?
On the eve of the Rio +20 summit in June 2012, the Brazilian Government risks an enormous loss of international reputation in the field of biodiversity and climate protection, as it committed itself to reducing deforestation by 80% in the Amazon and by 40% in Cerrado and consequently reducing the growth of greenhouse gas emissions by up to 39% by 2020. Both commitments are linked and will be impossible to meet if the proposed bill becomes law.
Who are we?
WWF Brasil, Greenpeace Brasil, SOS Florestas, Comite Brasil