Slowing Deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon: Avoiding Legal Deforestation by Compensating Farmers and Ranchers


The Amazon Forest is an unquestionable cradle of planetary biological diversity and plays a fundamental role in regional and global climate change regulation. Annual deforestation rates in the Brazilian Amazon have gone up since 2012, presenting a grim scenario for 2021. The majority of this deforestation is illegal, but a significant proportion, 11.3 million hectares of forest in privately owned land, can be legally deforested and impact local climate, compromising Brazil’s Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) to the Paris Agreement. Thus, a fundamental question remains: how can we avoid potentially legal deforestation? Farmers and ranchers who have the right to deforest have long demanded financial incentives to keep their forests standing, but few (if any) mechanisms exist to achieve it. We developed a compensation mechanism called CONSERV, hypothesizing that legal deforestation can be avoided through targeted compensation. CONSERV can potentially contribute to climate change mitigation and foster business models geared towards conservation and increased agricultural productivity when implemented at scale. We present CONSERV’s concept and potential to become an operational mechanism for Payment for Ecosystem Services/REDD + in line with Brazil’s Native Vegetation Protection Law and NDC commitment. Furthermore, we introduce some ideas on how CONSERV ensures permanence and minimizes leakage while gaining scale. To successfully maintain climatic stability and ecosystems, we need to reduce deforestation, both illegal and legal. CONSERV can help us solve the latter.

Frontiers in Forests and Global Change
Andrea S. Garcia
Andrea S. Garcia
Postdoctoral researcher