Brazil

Brazil is the world's largest tropical forest country and one of the most important partner countries for the Norwegian climate and forest project. Around 30 percent of the world's remaining forests are located in Brazil. Brazil's reduced deforestation of the Amazone is probably the largest single climate mitigation effort to date.

Rainforest by Juruena rive
Rainforest by Juruena River, Mato Grosso, Brazil. Credit: Snorre Tønset

Brazil and deforestation
According to the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, IPCC, the destruction of forests in developing countries contributes to around 11 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions. Unless these emissions are reduced, it will be impossible to reach the target of a maximum temperature increase of less than two degrees Celcius. In Brazil, deforestation is responsible for the major portion of the country's combined emissions of greenhouse gases.

At the climate summit in Copenhagen in 2009, Brazil launched targets for cuts in greenhouse gas emissions. Brazil's climate target is an 80 per cent reduction of deforestation in its Amazon region by 2020, compared to the average annual deforestation rate in the period 1996-2005. 

Deforestation figures
The graph shows annual deforestation in Brazil's part of the Amazon. The baseline from which payments are calculated is the average deforestation in a ten year period. (The dotted red lines) If deforestation is lower than the baseline in the corresponding disbursement period(solid red lines), Norway pays Brazil for reduced emissions The baseline is adjusted down every five years. Credit: NICFI

Rainforest cooperation with Brazil
In 2008 Norway and Brazil signed a Letter of intent, also called MoU, for the climate and forest project. Norway pledged to contribute up to 1 billion US$ to the Amazon Fund in Brazil until 2015, if Brazil could show that deforestation in the Amazon went down.  This pledge was fulfilled on time.

During the climate summit in Paris on November 30th 2015 the Governments of Brazil and Norway announced that they will continue the fight against deforestation in Brazil through the extension of their climate and forest partnership until 2020. The results-based partnership will be based on the further increasing ambition on reducing deforestation and forest degradation in line with Brazil's stated goals.

 

Boats on a river in the Amazon
In Northwestern Mato Grosso, indigenous people from the Munduruku people and local settlers cooperate on harvesting Brazil nuts from the Amazon rainforest. The project enables sustainable use of the forest, preventing deforestation, and processing the nuts to commercial products has become a thriving business for the local communities. The project is supported by Norway through the Amazon fund. Credit: Snorre Tønset Credit: Snorre Tønset

Brazil's results and payments from Norway

Thanks to determined actions, Brazil has achieved impressive results in combatting deforestation in the Amazon. From 2008-2017, Brazil reduced annual average deforestation in the Amazon by almost 65 percent compared to 1996-2005.

The reduction of emissions from deforestation in the Amazon is probably the single most important climate mitigation effort on the planet the last years.  The reduction equals an impressive total of more than 5 billion tonnes of CO2 since Brazil conducted large forest reforms in 2004 and, later, the cooperation with Norway was establised in 2008.

The hitherto last payment from Norway to the Amazon fund happened in December 2018, based on deforestation figures for the forest year of 2017.

Forest year

Deforestation

(km2)

Norwegian contribution

(NOK million)

2006/2007

-

100 mill NOK

2008

12911

600 mill NOK

2009

7464

850 mill NOK

2010

7000

1000 mill NOK

2011

6418

1000 mill NOK

2012

4571

1000 mill NOK

2013

5891

900 mill NOK

2014

5012

1050 mill NOK

2015

6207

850 mill NOK

2016

7893

350 mill NOK

2017

6947

600 mill NOK

Totalt

 

8300 mill NOK

 

  • The Amazon fund has supported the management and protection of areas equaling 1 million square kilometers of rainforest. This equals the area of Norway, Germany and Finland combined.
  • The Amazon Fund supports registration of properties in the environmental register (CAR). Registration of properties is a prerequisite to knowing who are behind illegal deforestation. So far, the Amazon Fund has contributed to registering properties equaling the area of Norway and Germany combined.
  • Almost a quarter of the Amazon rainforest is indigenous territories. In these areas, deforestation rates are generally very low. Supporting the sustainable management of indigenous territories and maintaining the legal protection of its peoples are important measures to reduce deforestation and promote sustainable development. The Amazon Fund supports indigenous peoples in 96 indigenous territories in Brazil to sustainably manage their forests in a context of increasing pressure from external forces who are seeking to destroy the rainforest.
  • Other examples of projects supported by the fund include combating forest fires, municipal environmental management, spatial planning at municipal and state-level, intensification of sustainable agriculture, law enforcement and support to environmental policing through IBAMA, sustainable fishing in local communities, innovation and technological development.
  • The more than one hundred projects supported by the Amazon Fund are managed through collaboration agreements with a wide variety of authorities, universities and research institutions, voluntary organizations and indigenous people’s organizations.

 

All the projects supported by the Amazon Fund are a part of Brazil's general plan to reduce deforestation, while also promoting sustainable development in the Amazon region. 

The projects have a broad scope. They can range from supporting indigenous peoples to continue to take care of the forest, land planning at the municipal and state level, sustainable and more efficient agricultural practices, improved fire protection, enforcement of legislation, knowledge and technological development, etc.

Several projects also concern property registration/surveying with assessment of environmental status. Improvements in this area will be a precondition to maintaining control of who is actually responsible for deforestation at the local level.

The Amazon Fund has entered into agreements with governmental institutions in Brazil, universities and research institutions and NGOs. In addition, the Amazon Fund approved its first international project at the end of 2013 under the auspices of the Amazon Cooperation Treaty Organization.

  • Established in 2008 by Brazilian authorities.
  • The Amazon Fund is open to contributions from countries, private individuals and businesses.
  • The fund is managed by the Brazilian development bank BNDES.  The agreement between Norway and BNDES was signed in 2009.
  • Has a board with representatives from the state authorities in the Amazon basin, several federal ministries, BNDES and civil society organisations.
  • Norway was the first contributor to the fund and has by the end of 2018 disbursed a total of about 1.2 billion USD to the Amazon fund.
  • Germany (KfW) had up until 2014 paid EUR 21 million to the fund.  Germany has pledged to continue its support to the Amazon fund until 2020.
  • Federal government, local authorities and cicil society can apply for funds to projects aimed at reducing deforestation and achieve sustainable development within seven different project areas:
    • Management of public forest areas and protected areas;
    • Environmental surveillance and control mechanisms, enforcement of environmental legislation;
    • Sustainable forestry management;
    • Financial activities based on sustainable use of the forest
    • Economic-ecological zoning and land planning
    • Preservation and sustainable use of biological diversity
    • Restoration of deforested areas.
  • The Amazon fund has an updated overview of supported projects on their website.

Incentive structure for reduced deforestation: Deforestation in the Amazon is measured annually. The result for a given year (previous year) is compared with the average deforestation over a ten-year period. This period is called the reference level. When calculating support from Norway, we use so-called conservative figures for the carbon content of the forest to be certain that one does not pay for more carbon than what is saved due to reduced deforestation. For Brazil we calculate 132.2 tons of carbon per hectare of forest, and we calculate USD 5 per ton of reduced emissions.

  1. b)    The Norwegian contribution: Brazil's annual emission reductions through reduced deforestation in recent years have been huge. Norway pays only for a certain percentage of the emission reductions. 
  2. c)     Use of paid funds. The Amazon Fund is administered by the Brazilian Development Bank, BNDES. The central government, local authorities and civil society may apply for funds for reduced deforestation and sustainable development within seven project areas: 
  • Management of public forest areas and protected areas;
  • Environmental surveillance and control mechanisms, enforcement of environmental legislation;
  • Sustainable forestry management;
  • Financial activities based on sustainable use of the forest
  • Economic-ecological zoning and land planning
  • Preservation and sustainable use of biological diversity
  • Restoration of deforested areas.

  • Brazil has laid down a plan of action to combat deforestation from 2004
  • Stricter enforcement of environmental legislation using real time monitoring of forest areas, greater presence of “environmental police” and taking action against illegal logging
  • Lenders must prove that the earth they are farming has not been illegally logged
  • More and larger areas are protected
  • Municipalities with the highest deforestation rates are blacklisted
  • The largest soya producers have imposed a moratorium on newly deforested land
  • The largest meat producers have started to require environmental licences from their suppliers
  • Reduced raw material prices has led to less pressure on the rainforest
  • Active and influential NGOs have contributed to putting reduced deforestation on the political agenda
  • The Norwegian contribution has helped strengthen those working to reduce deforestation in Brazil. Read more about Norwegian support here

Brazil has developed one of the world's most advanced satellite systems for monitoring rainforest. The system has two components:

  • DETER – which provides an overview of deforestation every two weeks. This system is used as an alarm system to detect logging in real time, and provides opportunities to take action against illegal logging. DETER only detects logging of areas larger than 25 hectares (0.25 km2).
  • PRODES – which detects logging areas as small as 6.5 hectares (0.065 km2), but which requires far more time for analysis and interpretation. PRODES is used to produce annual overviews of deforestation.

All data from Brazil's forest monitoring systems are available at the website of Brazil's National Institute of Space Research, INPE.

Figure 1

Annual deforestation graph
The graph shows annual deforestation in Brazil's part of the Amazon. The baseline from which payments are calculated is the average deforestation in a ten year period. (The dotted red lines) If deforestation is lower than the baseline in the corresponding disbursement period(solid red lines), Norway pays Brazil for reduced emissions The baseline is adjusted down every five years. Credit: NICFI

Brazil reports reduced emissions from deforestation in the Amazon annually, according to standardized “forest years”. The ‘forest-year’, commences on 1 August and ends 31 July the following year. Brazil publishes preliminary annual deforestation rates at the end of each calendar year. These estimates are then thoroughly verified before Norway makes the payment.

When Brazilian authorities have confirmed or adjusted the preliminary deforestation rates, the annual deforestation is compared to a reference level in order to calculate the achieved emission reduction result. The reference level is calculated based on the average historical deforestation over a ten-year period, updated every 5 years.  An independent expert group reviews deforestations rates and achieved results. Following this verification process, Norway decides the scale of the payment. This methodological approach was designed and implemented by the Brazilian government when establishing the Amazon Fund in 2008.

 

 

Forest area: The total forest area in Brazil is 5.2 million km². Our cooperation with Brazil focuses on the Amazon rainforest, which comprises approximately 4 million km² (somewhat less than have of Europe's land area).

Carbon storage: The carbon storage in Brazil's Amazon region was estimated at 51 gigatons (resulting in 187 billion tons of CO2 in the event of deforestation) in 2006. 

Reduced deforestation: A record low 5012 km² in the 2014 forest year entails a reduction of almost 75% from record high deforestation, 27,772 km², in the 2004 forest year. 

Sources: FAO and Brazil's National Institute of Space Research (INPE)

  • The world's largest rainforest.
  • 60% of it lies in Brazil.
  • Brazil is the world's largest forest country with 30% of the world's remaining rainforest.
  • More than 25 million people live in the Brazilian Amazon, and many live from it. Brazil's rainforests also contain a large proportion of the world's biological diversity, including 40,000 plants and more than 5,000 mammal, bird, reptile, amphibian and fish species

See Brazil's own video about the Amazon Fund:

See video of the Sentinelas da Floresta project, a project enabling indeginous people in Mato Grosso to make a living of sustainable harvesting of nuts cooperating with a local community of settlers.

See video of the Bolsa Floresta project, one of the projects receiving support from the Amazon Fund:

See video on how IBAMA works to enforce forest legislation and stop illegal deforestation:

 

 

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