Statement on Proposed Changes to Brazil’s Forest Code

12/6/2011

Conservation International: Brazil’s proposed new forest code opens way for massive deforestation

Brasília, Brazil – As delegates from almost 200 countries gather in South Africa to discuss a global deal to fight climate change, Brazil’s Senate is scheduled to vote today on proposed changes to the country’s main environmental law, freeing up more land for agriculture and opening the door to massive deforestation in one of the world’s most important countries for wildlife and natural resources. The Forest Code dates back to 1934 and regulates the use and preservation of native vegetation in public and private areas. After the vote in the Senate, the bill goes back to the lower Chamber of Deputies, the last step before the President’s signature.

Fabio Scarano, executive director for Conservation International in Brazil, said:

“Major changes being proposed to this law severely threaten the commitments made by Brazil to the international community at the 15th Conference of Parties to the UNFCCC in 2009, and the emission reduction goals established by our National Climate Change Policy. The almost certain increase in deforestation will drive increases in the country’s greenhouse gas emissions, and a regression of national policies.

We fully expect that President Dilma Rousseff honors her campaign commitments to reducing deforestation, and decisively vetoes any legislation landing on her desk that allows amnesty for illegal logging.

This moment presents a critical test of leadership for Rousseff as well as for Brazil’s future development path.  Let it not be a turning point we come to regret. The increasing polarization and hard line views between environmentalists and agribusiness are false extremes; both sides can and should move together along the same path that values development and the sustainability of natural capital. Brazil can continue to maintain its high level of food production and also maintain its massive forest carbon stocks.

To end this impasse, we believe that Brazil’s leadership must choose to make a courageous choice this year, during the United Nation’s Year of the Forests, and demonstrate to the world how the sustainable use of biodiversity and environmental services can and will deliver win-win benefits for nature, business, and people.”

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Learn more at: CI blogs (English) or the key points of the Forest Code (Portuguese)

For more information, contact:
Patricia Yakabe Malentaqui, International Media Manager, Conservation International
+1 703 341-2471 / pmalentaqui@conservation.org

Gabriela Michelotti, Communications Manager, Conservation International Brazil
+55 61 3226-2491 / gmichelotti@conservacao.org

Note to editors:
Conservation International (CI) — Building upon a strong foundation of science, partnership and field demonstration, CI empowers societies to responsibly and sustainably care for nature, our global biodiversity, for the long term well-being of people. Founded in 1987, CI has headquarters in the Washington, DC area, and nearly 900 employees working in more than 30 countries on four continents, plus 1,000+ partners around the world. For more information, visit www.conservation.org , and follow us on Twitter: @ConservationOrg or Facebook: www.facebook.com/conservation.intl

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